How Can a Bad Chimney Ruin Your Home?

The chimney is one of the most forgotten features of homes. With the constantly improving central heating furnaces, the idea of using a fireplace to heat a home does not often seem logical in the modern world. It’s easy to forget that just like any structure or appliance in your home, it requires maintenance and upkeep; after all, the bulk of the structure lies outside your home. However, it should be one of the biggest areas of concern when dealing with the integrity of the home, because chimney issues can be the source of annoying infestations and can even lead to serious structural damage! It would be an oversimplification say that chimney damage is the cause of all roof problems, but it is not an over exaggeration to say that a roof in otherwise perfect condition can be ruined by a bad chimney.

What are those metal bits at the bottom?

Chimney flashing is the double-layered pieces of sheet metal that attach the chimney to the rest of the roof. One of the most common problems with chimneys is that the flashing can become loose or damaged, enfeebling its structure. Flashing is essential for keeping water, debris, and animals out and sealing the roof since most chimneys essentially jut out of a hole in the roof. When flashing is damaged, missing, or installed incorrectly, the chimney and the home become vulnerable to the will of Mother Nature. The good news is that it is easy to identify when flashing is damaged. Some dead giveaways of compromised flashing are visible rust on the metal panels, lifting seams, and deteriorating caulk. Water spots on the attic ceiling are also symptoms of a leaky flashing.

What else am I looking for?

The trouble that a compromised chimney can cause doesn’t just stem from damaged flashing. Animals nesting in your chimney can do just as much damage as faulty flashing. Chimney caps are necessary for preventing wild creatures such as birds, rodents, and other mammals from building nests inside your chimney. In addition to blocking debris and rainwater from entering the chimney flue and harming the internal liner, a cap serves as a physical barrier for any animal that would take advantage of the shelter, from predators and the elements, that a chimney can provide. This will also prevent them from expanding their domain into the attic or crawl spaces.

When should I check up on my chimney?

The last thing to remember about chimneys is that the same storms or events that cause roof damage will also damage the chimney. The storms that hit Oklahoma in the winter and spring are extremely brutal to the exterior of a home. Between sizeable hail, harsh rain, and tornado force winds, it’s not uncommon for even light storms to leave neighborhoods with knocked-down fences, destroyed gardens, and—of course—damaged roofs. And while chimneys can stand up to the weather better than shingles and gutters, they aren’t invincible. If you ever find yourself inspecting your roof after a terrible storm, don’t forget the chimney. The most common red flags include dislodged caps, missing or crumpled bricks, and eroded masonry. If the damage is bad enough that you can see it, then it’s time to give Sparrow Construction a call.

So, the roof and chimney of a home share a beautiful symbiotic relationship. What happens to one affects the other. If you want to keep your chimney and your roof in great shape? Call Sparrow Construction for regular inspections of your home, and a problem may be caught before it becomes an expensive disaster.