Our Company Blog

The Dangers of Damaged or Missing Flashing

When Aelite Chimney Specialties is diagnosing water leaks, we look at the area where the chimney meets the roof. Since this area is one of the most vulnerable spots for water leaks, it should be protected by a flashing system. However, we often find chimneys that do not have any flashing installed. We also see many chimneys with damaged flashing systems, and these chimneys have suffered from water penetration damage that could have been easily prevented by a customized and well-built flashing system. This water leak preventive chimney component works well to keep water out of your chimney and home.

What is chimney flashing?

The Dangers of Damaged or Missing Flashing img - Chicago IL - Aelite ChimneyA flashing system consists of metal sheets that are wrapped around the chimney at the point where it meets the roof. Its purpose is to keep water from accumulating in this area and possibly leaking into the chimney. Flashing should be built so that water will run off away from the chimney.

How should flashing be installed?

One of the biggest sources of chimney water leaks is improperly constructed flashing. For flashing to work correctly, it is essential, according to This Old House, that there are two layers of metal sheeting used. The first layer, step flashing, consists of L-shaped sheets of metal that are embedded into the roof’s shingles and then lapped up the side of the chimney. Counterflashing is the second layer of metal sheets. It is cemented into the mortar of the chimney and folded over the top of the step flashing. Many times, the corners have not been properly finished. It is very important to adequately caulk any gaps in each corner of metal sheeting layers. If the corners have not been properly sealed with caulk, water from rain, ice, and snow can get into gaps.

How does flashing get damaged?

Strong storms can cause metal sheets to bend away and break loose from flashing systems. Wild animals like raccoons can also pry open loose flashing when trying to get into a chimney to nest. Poor construction can also lead to damaged flashing. You can trust Aelite Chimney Specialties to be sure your flashing system is built properly.

Has your flashing system been damaged over the years? Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to learn more about our customized flashing construction and repair services that we provide to residents in the Chicago area.

All About Tuckpointing

You may have heard that masonry chimneys are built to last a lifetime; however, over the years, the constant exposure to the elements of weather can cause damage and deterioration. Having damaged chimney masonry repaired promptly is crucial to keep your chimney’s structure safe and sound. Once a brick or mortar joint is cracked, the deterioration can worsen quickly. This is especially true over a long and cold winter season.

All About Tuckpointing img - Chicago IL - Aelite ChimneyIf you have noticed cracked, loose, or missing bricks and mortar joints on the exterior of your chimney, Aelite Chimney Specialties can help to restore the soundness of your chimney with our professional masonry chimney repair services, including techniques like tuckpointing.

What exactly is tuckpointing?

This masonry technique is used to remove damaged mortar joints and to tuck in new mortar with specialized pointed tools. It is also known as pointing and repointing. According to The Balance, this labor-intensive project should always be done by certified and experienced professional masonry technicians.

Why is tuckpointing so labor-intensive?

Before Aelite Chimney Specialties can begin the actual tuckpointing work, we must first properly assess the situation of your chimney. We need to see exactly how many of the mortar joints need to be replaced. The next step is this process is analyzing the existing mortar joints to be able to custom mix new mortar that is as close as possible to the color and consistency of the existing mortar. We take pride in our ability to make chimney masonry repairs that are indistinguishable from the existing structure. We always use a durable Portland cement-based mortar mix that will keep your chimney safe and sound for years to come.

How can I best prevent future chimney masonry damage?

After our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney technicians make all of the necessary tuckpointing repairs. We can help you protect your chimney with several preventive services. The most important thing to remember is how damaging water is to the bricks and mortar joints of your chimney. We offer chimney cap sales and professional installation services, and we also provide customized flashing construction and repair services. Both of these chimney components work to keep water from rain, ice, and snow from getting into your chimney’s opening on the roof of your home. We also recommend having your chimney professionally waterproofed to create a barrier against water penetration of your entire chimney. We only use waterproofing formulas that are 100 percent vapor permeable. This helps prevent erosion damage for up to a decade.

Keep the structure of your chimney safe and sound. Contact  us at Aelite Chimney Specialties to schedule an appointment for our tuckpointing services, along with our other professional chimney repair and maintenance work.

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Chimney Crown Deterioration

If you have a masonry chimney, you most likely have a chimney crown at the very top. This essential chimney component covers the opening of the chimney to keep water from entering your home. Because the chimney crown is directly exposed to the elements, it can suffer from erosion damage and deteriorate. When your chimney crown is cracked and damaged, it cannot properly do its job.

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), water can do a lot of expensive damage to a masonry chimney and a home. You should be sure your chimney crown is in good condition. Aelite Chimney Specialties provides chimney crown repair and construction services to residents in the Chicago area. We would like to tell you a bit more about what we do to protect your chimney and home from water penetration.

How does a chimney crown work?Chimney Crown Deterioration Image - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney Specialists

Sealing off the chimney from the flue liner to the chimney’s edge, the crown should be built with a downward slope so that water will be directed away from the flue. That makes the water run off the edge of the chimney. There should also be an overhanging drip edge that will help to prevent erosion damage to the bricks and mortar of the chimney.

Common Mistakes

What is a common mistake made when constructing chimney crowns?

Over our years of working on chimneys, Aelite Chimney Specialties has seen some poorly built chimney crowns. The most common mistake we have seen is a crown with an inadequate drip edge. When we construct chimney crowns, we always make sure each crown has the required two-inch overhang that projects beyond each side of the chimney. We also ensure that the flue liner tile also projects at least two inches above the crown.

We Can Help

What kind of mortar does Aelite Chimney Specialties use when constructing chimney crowns?

You can trust us to always use a Portland cement-based mixture when we build and repair chimney crowns. Another mistake we often see is chimney crowns made from a mortar mix that is not as durable as a Portland cement-based mixture. The Portland cement mixture can withstand years of exposure to water without chipping, cracking, or deteriorating.

If you cannot remember the last time your chimney crown has been checked out, contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties. We can make you an appointment for a chimney inspection. We can repair any cracks your crown may have, and if your crown is beyond repairing, we can construct and install a new one to protect your chimney from water penetration.

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Is Your Chimney Leaking?

Have you noticed noticed peeling wallpaper or water stains on the walls or ceiling? If so, you most likely have a leaky chimney. Signs of a chimney leak also include: standing water in the firebox, a musty odor, and damaged or missing bricks and mortar joints on the exterior chimney. It is important to take care of this type of problem as soon as possible. If you don’t, you could end up with extensive and expensive chimney damage!

Is Your Chimney Leaking Image - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney SpecialtiesAs the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) warns, water is the biggest enemy of masonry chimneys. When you see any signs of a chimney leak, give us a call at Aelite Chimney Specialties. Schedule an appointment with one of our CSIA-certified chimney technicians. You can count on us to give you a fair and honest estimate with evidence of any damage that is causing the leak. In addition, an explanation of how we will repair that damage to fix the leak. We would like to tell you more about a couple of the most causes of chimney leaks.

FLASHING

Not having a customized flashing system to protect the most vulnerable spot for leaks, where the chimney meets the roof, is one of the most common causes for chimney leaks. Even if you have flashing installed on your roof and chimney, it may not be doing its job if it has not been properly constructed. Over our years of working on chimneys in the Chicago area, Aelite Chimney Specialties has seen how poorly built flashing can even cause chimney leaks. We take great care when measuring your chimney. Aelite can cut metal sheeting in the right sizes to protect your home from water leaks. We also make sure that all of the corners have been caulked to keep water from entering in those areas.

CHIMNEY CROWN

Since your chimney crown sits on the top of your chimney, it is directly exposed to all of the water from rain and melted ice and snow. Your crown is made from mortar that can withstand this type of exposure. However, it can still develop cracks and other types of erosion damage over time. If your crown is cracked and damaged, water can easily get into your chimney. One of the first places Aelite Chimney Specialties will look for the source of a chimney leak is the crown. If we find cracks in your chimney crown, we can repair them. If your crown is damaged beyond repair, we can construct a new one that will protect your chimney from water penetration for years.

Have you seen any signs of a chimney leak in your home? Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties today to schedule an appointment for a water leak inspection of your chimney!

What Is Creosote?

Has it been a while since your chimney has been professionally swept? If so, you could likely have a dangerous fire hazard in your home! One of the main reasons why national fire safety organizations like the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend scheduling a professional chimney sweeping at least once a year? To have deposits of creosote removed from the inner walls of the flue.

What Is Creosote Image - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney SpecialtiesSince the hazards are involved with creosote, you want to hire an experienced chimney sweep to do this important maintenance service. You can trust our sweeps at Aelite Chimney Specialties. We have years of experience with making sure that every bit of creosote has been removed from every chimney we sweep. In addition, we have also received certification from the CSIA as professional chimney sweeps. We would like to tell you more about creosote and why it is so dangerous.

What exactly is creosote?

Creosote is a natural compound that develops during the combustion process of burning wood. When smoke, gases, and the other byproducts of combustion exit the chimney, condensation occurs. This is because the upper chimney walls are so much cooler. Therefore, this causes the byproducts to leave behind deposits of creosote, a residue that sticks to the inner walls. Over the months of winter, these deposits can build up to the point of becoming a dangerous fire hazard.

Why is creosote such a fire hazard?

This substance is extremely flammable and can easily ignite into flames, if the internal temperature of your chimney gets hot enough. In fact, the CSIA has named creosote as a leading cause of chimney fires.

What can I do to reduce the development of creosote?

One of the best steps to take that will decrease the amount of creosote accumulating inside your chimney? Only burn seasoned firewood! This is wood that has been allowed to dry for at least six months after it has been cut. Burning freshly-cut wood will produce a large amount of this hazardous compound. This is due to the energy that’s used to burn away all of the moisture within the wood, which causes more condensation.

Restricted air supply is another cause of a larger than normal production of creosote. To avoid this situation, you should keep your glass fireplace doors open. Also, make sure your damper is completely opened every time you light a fire in your fireplace. This should provide enough make-up air to enter through your fireplace to speed up the exhaust process. The longer smoke remains inside the chimney, the likelihood of accelerated creosote production increases.

To avoid this dangerous fire hazard, you should have your chimney professionally swept every year. Contact us at Aelite Chimney Specialties today to schedule an appointment for your annual chimney maintenance services!