Common Chimney Problems16 July 2014

The sight of a chimney stack on the roof of a house is a common and often pleasing one, adding a bit of character to the property.

But in many cases, particularly in towns and cities, these chimneys are remnants of a bygone era, and most are obsolete outside of the aesthetic value they provide. Generally, this doesn’t present an issue to homeowners with chimneys, as they will either be redundant or checked regularly if still in use.

Sometimes, however, chimneys present faults and issues that need addressing, and for homes where they are not necessary due to central heating and stoves, often it is easier to remove the stack all together.


This can be an issue for all chimneys and flues, whether in use or otherwise. Rain ingress and condensation are the two main causes – the latter of which is a particular problem if the chimney has been sealed from either end.

Condensation can also be a real problem in flues that are still in use if they are not properly ventilated, as burning wood or coal can give off water vapour that will form as liquid if the chimney is especially cold or tall.

Rain can enter a chimney through a number of methods, from faults in the stack to cracks around the flashing. Not having a flue cap fitted is another way rain can get in, falling directly down the chimney and causing issues whether it is in use or not. Specialised flue caps are available for those chimneys that are only providing ventilation and are no longer active as a source of smoke extraction.

However it forms, damp can cause serious problems to any property, and chimneys are a particularly vulnerable area of the home.

Brickwork Damage

Deteriorating mortar can leave a chimney vulnerable to the ingress of moisture or debris, which in turn can have a hugely detrimental effect on brickwork. Most decent mortar should last 80-100 years without declining, so chimneys on Victorian-era housing may be starting to exhibit signs of damage.

Similarly, damage to the flue or its lining can be highly dangerous, as ventilation could be compromised and toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide, could find their way back inside the home instead of diverted away up the chimney.


Blockages in the chimney can be caused by a number of things. Creosote is one of the most common, and is formed as a by-product of wood smoke that mixes with soot to create a solid material. Not only does it then restrict ventilation, creosote is also highly flammable, making it a doubly dangerous hazard.

Bird’s nests and falling debris from trees are also popular causes of blockage, and should be cleared before the chimney is used again.

Morgan Asphalte

Calling on the professionals, such as the experts at Morgan Asphalte, will ensure that all faults with your chimney stack, flue or flashing will be rectified to the highest standard. Our team have over 40 years of experience working with roofing materials of all types, and we can provide pointing and repointing of brickwork and even removal of chimneys if required.

For more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Morgan Asphalte today.

Posted in Roofing.

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