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How To Determine When A Leak Is Your Masonry

How To Determine When A Leak Is Your Masonry

Whenever it’s raining and someone sees evidence of water leaking, the first thing they think of is a roof leak – and they are probably right.  However, it can also be a masonry leak. If the leak shows up next to a brick chimney or at an opening in a masonry wall and the flashings above the area are installed properly and in good condition, the masonry is probably the problem.

Check Your Windows

First, check for an opening in a wall above the leak. Windows can especially be the source of many problems.  Is the sill angled properly? Is the seal around the window in good shape and tight? Is the storm window in good shape and tight?  Storm windows are good if used properly but make sure the glass in the top is lapped over the bottom glass. Many people leave the storm windows open during the summer and this just asks for trouble.  The rain driving in gets trapped by the storm window frame and the water can work its way down through any loose crack or joint in the wood. Weep holes in the frame allow the water to dribble out while the rain is pouring in.

What is Your Fuel Source

If the leak is at a chimney and the flashings are in good condition, the next thing to consider is if you have changed to gas as your fuel source.  If you have, was a stainless steel flue liner installed? If no liner was installed you’ll need to get one. Gas furnaces are so efficient today that the gas fumes are not hot enough to escape the chimney. This causes them to start condensing on the masonry and the condensation can be enough to saturate the brick and eat away at the mortar.

If the flashing is tight and gas fumes are not a problem, it is probably the masonry absorbing water.


If an addition has been added to a house, a flashing leak will show up on the addition side of the wall.  If masonry is a problem the leak will show up at the opening in that wall.

To keep water from entering the masonry we have had very good success with siloxane-based ChimneySaver water repellent.  ChimneySaver does not trap water the way waterproofing products do. It still allows the masonry to breathe naturally so any moisture which does get into the masonry can vent out.  We have done entire church walls and have had no problems with them for several years now. The product comes in a solvent and water based form and carries a 10-year warranty. We have had better success with the solvent based product, but with either one follow the instructions carefully.

For any masonry repair needs, contact Stevens Roofing Corporation. We are a family owned and operated business right in your community. We are your neighbors and we want to serve you as such. We maintain a current vigil on traditional methods while we update our knowledge on a regular basis to stay relevant in the field. We want the best for you!

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