What Causes Cracks in the Chimney Crown?
The chimney crown is like an umbrella for the chimney. It is designed to help disperse rainwater from the chimney to protect the masonry. But even well-built crowns will deteriorate due to age and its direct exposure to changing weather conditions. Cracks may develop slowly and without realizing it, the crown is compromised. And when the crown is compromised water can penetrate inside the flue. This can soften the bricks and mortar inside the chimney resulting in further damage that can even cause structural problems if not repaired in a timely manner.
What is a Chimney Crown?
When you mention the word chimney crown, many people think of a chimney cap as if they are the same. However, they are two distinctly different chimney components. Knowing the difference helps you communicate effectively, and you can better describe a problem to a chimney professional. Located just beneath a chimney cap, a chimney crown is a masonry or concrete slab that seals the top of the chimney. It slopes away from the flue, helping redirect water to the roof or the ground. This helps prevent moisture from seeping into the masonry or making its way into the flue.
Poor construction and installation – The crown is the final component of chimney construction. It is generally constructed with cement for durability. However, if the crown was constructed using low-quality materials or was installed incorrectly, it won’t stand the test of time. Especially in places with extreme weather conditions like we can experience here in New York’s Hudson Valley. This can cause the crown to wear out and become damaged sooner rather than later. That’s why the crown should be constructed using durable, high-quality materials that can withstand both freezing and warm weather conditions.
Adverse weather conditions – Even though a chimney crown may be built strong enough to withstand winter weather, continuous exposure to snow, wind, rain, and ice can take a significant toll on the crown. It can chip away at the concrete surface exposing the porous brick and mortar underneath where water can enter the chimney.
Structural issues – due to age, spalling bricks and other problems can cause the chimney to shift or lean. This can result in damage to the crown, the cap and other components. At some point, the chimney may eventually collapse.
Freeze-thaw effect – The constant freezing and thawing during the winter can cause tiny cracks or holes in the crown. Water will accumulate in these cracks. As the water freezes and then thaws, the ice particles cause the cracks to expand further resulting in larger cracks.
The Importance of Timely Chimney Crown Repairs
While some cracks in the crown may be inevitable even in the best built chimneys, you can prevent it from getting worse with an annual chimney inspection. A chimney inspection will uncover cracks and other problems in the crown and other components giving you the ability to make repairs before they get worse and more expensive. Contact us to schedule your annual chimney inspection today.