Chimney leaks are quite common, can lead to costly repairs, and are 100 percent preventable. However, while chimneys are built to last, they can be taken down from the inside out by water damage. This damage can occur behind the scenes, before a homeowner even notices!

Chimney Leaks: Common Causes

The number one cause of chimney leaks is simple: neglect. When homeowners fail to schedule routine (preventative) maintenance, like chimney sweeps and inspections, it puts the system at risk. The average homeowner doesn’t know what signs to look for, does not have the capacity to look inside the system, and doesn’t know what to do about a leak. The only way to catch a chimney leak before it causes catastrophic damage? Scheduling routine maintenance with an experienced and reputable chimney sweep company!

Faulty Cap, Crown, or Flashing

The most common points of water intrusion are the chimney cap, the masonry crown, and the flashing. The cap is often damaged, improperly installed, or missing. The crown becomes worn, cracks, and leaks. And the flashing is often installed incorrectly by amateurs. The process of flashing placement is meticulous, and should be done by experienced professionals only, in order to avoid shifting and leaking.

Undiagnosed Chimney Issues

Homeowners, general contractors, and the neighborhood handyman are not trained in chimney safety. So, unfortunately, construction, and repair, chimney leaks are often overlooked. For instance, if a homeowner experiences a leak in a bedroom ceiling, two rooms away from the chimney, he will contact a contractor to repair it. Consequently, an inexperienced contractor will repair the ceiling, probably check for leaks in the obvious areas (bathrooms), and go on his merry way. Every time there is a leak in a house with a chimney, the first place to look is the chimney. Water does not always fall inside or near the chimney. In fact, water runs through the interior of the home, between floors and walls, and pools at the lowest point. Afterwards it then leaks through – possibly even on the other side of the house as the chimney!

Inadequate Waterproofing

If your masonry hasn’t been treated with a vapor-soluble sealant, your brick and mortar is susceptible to winter damage that leads to leaks. This industrial strength formula creates a barrier between water molecules and your masonry. Thus, preventing costly damage in the future.

Better Safe Than Sorry

What happens if you neglect routine chimney maintenance and fail to diagnose and repair chimney leaks? What if you don’t have a chimney sweep that can waterproof your masonry? Unfortunately, you will experience chimney damage!

Chimney leaks lead to:

  • Rusted damper and firebox assembles.
  • Rusted doors, and flue liners.
  • Deteriorated flue lining systems.
  • Stained, spalling, and crumbling masonry.
  • Stained, weakened, and deteriorated walls, ceilings, and floors.
  • Shifting and settlement of chimney and foundation.
  • Chimney Odors.
  • Mold growth in the chimney system resulting in health risk.


The health risks, damage to the home and chimney system, risk of fire, and decreased efficiency of the entire system is a mounting problem. Your chimney adds value to your property, and a chimney leak decreases it. Failure to repair a chimney leak is a disaster!

Thankfully, you can have your chimney assessed today by calling The Mad Hatter today! A chimney leak expert is standing by to assist you. Call 317.596.0200.