Many homeowners falsely believe that their chimney crown is just for aesthetics and that the chimney cap does the majority of the work of protecting the flue. However, the chimney crown is an equally important piece of the chimney that needs the same level of care and upkeep as the chimney cap.
What is a chimney crown?
A chimney crown is a concrete or masonry slab that covers and protects the top of the chimney. The chimney crown is uniquely important in that it protects both the interior and exterior of the chimney. Because of this, chimney crowns should be both functional as well as aesthetically pleasing.
Features of a chimney crown
There are several key features that a chimney crown needs to have in order to function correctly. One of the most important features of the chimney crown is the overhang. Also known as a drip ledge, the overhang should extend an additional 2 to 2.5 inches on all sides of the crown. The overhang prevents water from flowing directly onto the masonry of the chimney, protecting the bricks and mortar from being constantly assailed by water and moisture.
Another important chimney crown feature is the building material used to construct the crown itself. Many chimney crowns, especially those installed by general contractors or masons without experience, are not made of the right materials. While bricks and mortar can be used for the chimney, they should never be used for a chimney crown as they are too porous to serve as a long term protection against moisture. Instead, chimney crowns should be made of a solid slab of concrete, metal, or stone.
Maintaining your chimney crown
Just like the rest of your chimney system, the chimney crown should be regularly inspected to check for cracks, leaks, or other signs of damage or deterioration. Likewise, if you begin experiencing chimney leaks or leaking around interior ceilings or walls, the chimney crown should be checked as soon as possible.
If your chimney crown has begun to deteriorate but is not yet seriously damaged, a specially designed waterproofing product may be able to be applied. These products are specially designed for use on masonry and chimneys and can prevent further or future water damage. Likewise, waterproofing can always be used as a preventative measure against water damage even if your chimney crown is not damaged.
In addition to maintaining your chimney crown, your chimney cap and chimney flashing should also be regularly inspected, maintained, and repaired as needed. Together with the chimney crown, these three chimney components play an important role in protecting your chimney, fireplace, and home against water damage. If any other part of the chimney is damaged, water may be able to find its way in.
If you live around Littleton, CO and you’re worried that your chimney crown is more aesthetic than functional, contact Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney today. Our expertly trained technicians can evaluate the condition of your chimney crown and help make it both a beautiful and functional part of your chimney.