4 Signs of a Damaged Chimney: Can it Hurt Your Roof?

Damaged Chimney

An aging, dirty or damaged chimney might not top your list of what you imagine to be threats to your roof’s structural integrity and longevity, but it should.

One of the major hazards to your roof is one of its most prominent features — your chimney. It is not uncommon for a chimney fire, bad masonry work or shifting flashing to cause minor to major roof damage, from a simple leak to the complete destruction of your roof and possibly your home.

Look for these four signs that you may have an unclean, weak or damaged chimney that needs repairs:

Decaying Masonry Work

You should never climb on your roof, but someone should look at the upper portion of the chimney up close, so call a roofing contractor or chimney repair professional to do this part of your inspection. He or she should look closely for any chipped or broken masonry around the mouth of the chimney, and for broken bits of cement on the ground below.

Crumbling masonry work is a sign that water is penetrating the mortar joints and the freeze/thaw cycle is contributing to cracking, which can weaken the structure. If the damaged chimney continues to erode, it could collapse, possibly destroying your roof and injuring bystanders.

Leaking or Inadequate Flashing System

Old chimneys and roofs may not have the correct flashing in place to prevent water damage. Tar and cement do not adequately seal out moisture. You may have leaks in your attic surrounding the chimney, and the underlying roof deck could be decaying.

Immediately replace or repair any loose or damaged flashing, and make sure your roof has a leak-free metal flashing system surrounding the chimney for protection against water damage.

Animal Infestation

It’s a given — you don’t want any kind of animal making your roof or attic its home. But if your chimney is missing its cap, that’s an open invitation to critters large and small. Animals can nest in the upper regions of your chimney and eventually make their way to your attic, where they may gnaw away at insulation and electrical wires.

If you have a damaged chimney with a missing upper screen or cap, replace this important component right away to prevent roof and attic damage from cunning and wily birds, rodents and other small mammals.

Increased Fire Risk

You may not notice a damaged chimney until a fire breaks out. Chimney fires are either slow-burning or loud and unmistakable — they roar and rumble and will immediately get your attention. Both types are dangerous to your roof and your home, and both types can be caused either by an inherent structural flaw in the chimney which increases the fire risk, or an inattention to cleaning.

The best way to prevent a fire caused by damage or a creosote buildup is to get regular inspections and invest in maintenance, especially if you use your fireplace frequently.

Pay attention to your potentially damaged chimney and you could avoid thousands in repairs, hours of worry and frustration and serious harm to your roof and home. Call Knockout Roofing today to schedule a roof inspection to see if your chimney is damaged, and get the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are protected.