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Chimneys: Locating Leaks and Maintenance Needs

Watch the video below: How to Inspect your Chimney.

Chimneys are constructed in three sections:

  • Crown
  • Body
  • Flashing
Chimney Sections Labeled

Chimney sections can be constructed from different types of materials:

  • Bricks
  • Fieldstone
  • Cement block
  • Wood frame with Siding
  • Metal Stove Pipes
  • Stucco
  • Metal or Copper Flashing


The Crown of a chimney consists of a slab of cement that has been poured on site. Its purpose is to seal the top, but over time, small cracks develop and water seeps into them.

Body and Crown

Image Description: This cement slab has developed a crack causing a separation of the CROWN and BODY.

Water is free to enter into the chimney. In freezing temperatures, water expands causing the cracks to become larger. A maintenance inspection is crucial at this stage. Sealing the small cracks can prevent larger cracks during the ongoing freeze and thaw cycles.


When the cement slab separates from the bricks, water then can get inside the chimney busting the bricks during freezing.

Chimney Flashing

Flashing is connected to brick and mortar and the roofing system. Over time, the seal between the mortar and flashing will deteriorate causing water to seep in.

IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A cut-away view of a chimney crown shows wlooks like. When water gets through the cement slab, the bricks absorb the moist and finally will crack during winter.

When a chimney is very far gone and the grout is loose or missing. When a chimney is not an aesthetic part of the building, then it could be better to wrap the entire chimney with a membrane.

This will keep the chimney in tact and it’s a very inexpensive solution to the problem.

The cement slab shown in image is what a cement slab should look like. This is not the case with most chimneys.

Watch this video to see what it looks like and how it’s done.