How to detect chimney roof leaks

Written by jean asta
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How to detect chimney roof leaks
The area around a chimney is a common place for roof leaks (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Roof leaks can cause a significant amount of damage to your home if water seeps into the foundation of the roof, the attic or the ceiling below the roof. Leaks around chimneys are one of the most common types of roof leaks that homeowners face because the flashing that waterproofs a chimney can bend, crack or separate. To detect a chimney roof leak, you'll need to do some detective work and use basic reasoning.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Ladder
  • Safety line

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  1. 1

    Inspect the ceiling inside the home where the chimney enters the interior. Look for discolouration or sagging. Feel the ceiling and check for moisture. Signs of moisture indicate that you have a leak, but further investigation is needed before you conclude it is the roof around the chimney that is leaking.

  2. 2

    Repeat the inspection in the attic around the floor that the chimney passes through and the area of the attic ceiling where the chimney enters the attic. Look for discolouration, rotten wood, mould or mildew. Feel the areas for dampness. If you find signs of moisture, particularly on the attic ceiling around the chimney, you probably have a chimney roof leak.

  3. 3

    Attach your safety line and climb onto the roof. Inspect the flashing around the chimney. Look for worn or missing caulk around the inside of the flashing where it surrounds the chimney. Look for cracks or broken or missing pieces. If the flashing is intact but the caulk is worn, you can simply replace the caulk to repair the leak. However, if the flashing is bent, broken or cracked, you will need to replace the flashing or hire a roofing repair company to do it for you.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not perform the roof inspection yourself without a secure, weight-tested safety line. Make sure you have another person there who knows what you are doing in case of an emergency.

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