Your chimney is made up of numerous materials. To put it simply, it consists of an outer layer of masonry (bricks and mortar) and an inner liner that is typically made of fire-resistant metal. Keeping your chimney in tip-top shape involves maintenance, and for many homeowners, this means using a chimney sealant. Here, you will learn more about chimney sealants, when to use them, and whether they are even necessary.
Why Would You Want to Seal a Chimney, Anyway?
The primary impetus for sealing your chimney has to do with moisture. The vast majority of chimneys in the United States are built from brick and, as you may already know, brick is incredibly porous. It absorbs water – including rain, snow, and melt – and retains that water until it evaporates into the air around it. Over time, this process of absorption and evaporation will cause bricks to weather, leading to deterioration that requires the replacement of the masonry. Some homeowners believe that by sealing their chimneys they can prevent, or at least slow, this deterioration and save themselves some money.
The Pros and Cons of Waterproofing Your Chimney
While the number one reason to consider a sealant is for waterproofing purposes, there are a few things to consider first. When you choose a high-quality product that was designed specifically for chimney brick, and when that product is applied exactly as it should be, it can certainly do exactly what it claims – prevent the deterioration of brick caused by moisture. Ideally, when done properly, and when applied in the right amount, this chimney sealant should last roughly 15 to 20 years.
On the other hand, there are some professionals who say that waterproofing should never be done. Their claim is that moisture will still find its way into the brick and become even more problematic because it cannot evaporate as easily. This is especially troublesome during the winter months; when water cannot evaporate in the sun, it will freeze and thaw, then freeze and thaw again. Over time, this will cause cracks and make them worse, actually shortening the life of your masonry.
Should You Seal Your Chimney?
Though there are some people out there who claim chimney sealing is a waste of money, this is simply not the case. Like anything else, if it is not done properly, or if it is carried out with low-quality products, then it will likely not have the desired effect. If you want to extend the life of your chimney masonry, prevent cracks, reduce the risk of leaks and more, the best advice is to call a professional who is seasoned in applying chimney sealant. These individuals have the knowledge and experience to get the job done right, and that means you can rest easy knowing your chimney is protected from the elements for many years to come.
Chimney sealants come in many different types and styles, so to find out what works best for your needs, it is always best to call a professional. They will ensure that all necessary repairs have been carried out, then apply the sealant carefully to prevent future damage and alleviate the need for future repairs.