Do You Have the Right Chimney Crown?

Not sure what a chimney crown is or why it's important? Learn why below!

Not sure what a chimney crown is or why it’s important? Learn why below!

In the past, we have had customers come to us to fix what other companies have previously repaired. Not only does this cost them far more money in the long run, but it also typically means their chimney has been further damaged. When it comes to chimney repairs, the lowest bid does not always equal the best service.

What are chimney crowns?

A chimney crown, sometimes known as a chimney wash, is the slab that covers the top of the chimney structure. Chimney crowns are important because they protect both the interior and exterior chimney structure from the elements. An improperly installed or damaged chimney crown can expose the interior of the chimney and fireplace to rain, snow, and other moisture while simultaneously exposing the brick and mortar of the chimney itself.

What to look for in a chimney crown

Although they can be difficult to inspect from the ground, there are several hallmarks of good chimney crowns that homeowners should be aware of. The first is the overhang, or drip ledge. To prevent water from flowing directly onto the masonry of the chimney structure, chimney crowns should have a drip ledge of at least 2 to 2.5 inches on all sides. These overhangs serve as miniature gutters, protecting the brickwork and mortar from direct exposure to rain and snow.

Another detail to look for is the material the chimney crown is made of. While regular masons may be qualified to lay bricks and mortar for a chimney, the same materials should never be used for the chimney crown itself. Because brickwork and mortar are porous materials, they should never be used to construct a chimney crown. If your chimney crown is made of mortar, it will quickly crack and deteriorate due to exposure to the elements. Instead, crowns should always be constructed from solid metal, stone, or concrete slabs.

Chimney crown supporting structures

While not technically part of a chimney crown, chimney flashing is an important structural element that also helps prevent moisture from entering a chimney structure. Even with a properly sized overhang, flashing is an additional layer of protection against the elements. Often made of metals such as aluminum, galvanized steel, or copper, flashing is designed to create a waterproof seal between the chimney and the roof itself.

However, flashing is often improperly installed which may cause the waterproof seal to be broken. Roofers often use too many nail holes, creating tiny crevices from rain and snow to gain access to the brick and mortar underneath. Likewise, over time the flashing may become loose or damaged, especially in areas prone to severe weather.

At Jack Pixley Sweeps, we can do more than just clean and inspect your fireplace. Our masons are specially trained to craft chimney crowns that are constructed with extreme attention to detail. While our services may not always be the least expensive, our chimney crowns are guaranteed to protect your chimney and last for years to come.

Why You Should Be Concerned About Water

Contact us to keep your exposed masonry resilient to water

Contact us to learn more about how to protect your home’s masonry

Proper chimney care is something that’s often neglected by a lot of homeowners. What they don’t realize is the importance and benefits that a properly maintained chimney can bring to your home. In our many years of experience here at Jack Pixley Sweeps, we’ve been asked more times than we can count about the effects water can have on one’s chimney. So here’s a short guide that might be really helpful.

Water is your chimney’s enemy

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, water damage is the number one most common cause of majority of the reported chimney damages. Direct contact with water or even minor water penetration can increase the likeliness of damaging one or several of the materials in your chimney (i.e. metal, brick, stone, cast iron etc.).

The following are examples of the damage in your chimney and home’s interior and exterior structures caused by water penetration:

  • Water stains in the ceiling and wall
  • Rusting of the damper assemblies
  • Decaying of the exterior mortar
  • Cracked or damaged flue lining system

Water damage: Classified

There are three significant types of water damage that may occur in your home. Identifying which of the three is important in repairing and preventing the recurrence of the same damage.

Spalling – this type of water damage refers to the chipping, flaking or crumbling of your masonry chimney as a result of water penetration or contact. Your chimney would show flaking on the surface of the bricks and chimney crown. This is usually caused by the freeze/thaw cycle of water wherein the moisture present in the chimney area would freeze when there is a significant drop in temperature, and would begin to thaw again once temperature starts to go up.

Rust or Corrosion – this usually affects the metal parts and materials used for your chimney (such as the chimney flashing and cap). This is the first thing that chimney experts look for during an inspection because this is one of the most common water damage out there.

Mortar Joint Damage – this part of your chimney is highly susceptible to cracking. Because of this, it is also one of the common places to absorb moisture. Moisture content with the ideal environmental conditions can be a breeding ground for molds which would pose a health risk to you and your family.

What are you still waiting for? Now that you know the damages that water may cause, you should give Jack Pixley Sweeps a call and have your home and chimney checked before it’s too late.


Spring Cleaning Includes the Chimney

Chimney care should be a must on your to-do list for Spring. It deserves to be given proper attention after enduring the cold winter days while keeping you warm.

Chimney care should be a must on your to-do list for Spring. It deserves to be given proper attention after enduring the cold winter days while keeping you warm.

Spring. It’s the time of the year where you can free yourself from months of wearing thick clothes and triple socks. It’s the perfect time to finally go outside and play without having to worry about freezing to death. It’s also the time where your chimney can finally rest and prepare for the next time of extensive usage. But it doesn’t mean that you’ll just tuck away your chimney until the next winter. No, there are still some things to take care of because of the shift in temperature.

Chimney Inspection and Sweeping

Here at Jack Pixley Sweeps & Masonry we’d like to present a Spring checklist so that when one of our certified CSIA chimney sweeps knock on your door, you already know what to expect. The very first and very basic things to do are the routine inspection and sweeping. From there they can assess whether or not your chimney needs any of the following:


As winter comes to an end, there will be a lot of traces of melting snow. This is bad for the chimney because huge volumes of water can destroy the chimney. The chimney will start to degrade overtime and water can enter the small cracks and joints of the masonry brick walls that will further speed up the degradation of the chimney. When this happens, there might be a need for waterproofing. When we’re done, even the smallest ant cannot find cracks to live in inside your chimney. Another good way to keep water out is to install chimney flashing. This will block water from coming in where the exterior of the chimney meets the roof.

Chimney Relining

Again, as the chimney gets old, damage to the the flue and the flue liner will be inevitable. This problem should be addressed right away because it leads to poor chimney draft. If there are holes in the flue, there won’t be enough pressure to push up all the smoke to the chimney and you’ll have a smoky fireplace. If the flue liner is the problem, chimney relining will solve it. Otherwise, if the damage is to the structure of the flue itself, we might have to go as far as replacing the whole thing.

Install a Chimney Cap

Since we’re talking about spring, there are now bigger opportunities for debris, leaves and other obstructions (including tiny animals looking for a home) to enter the chimney. Having a chimney cap installed will totally stop these things from entering the inside of the chimney.

These are a few of the things that we can to do ensure that your chimney will last for many years to come. And not only that, when you invest in maintaining your chimney, you won’t have to worry about accidents due to functional problems while using your chimney. You’ll also end up saving money in the long run by avoiding these untoward incidents that might cause severe damage to your property. Make an appointment with us now. Jack Pixley Chimney Sweeps & Masonry: “It’s the name you can trust.”