Typically, when people notice unsightly water marks on their ceiling, they immediately think the issue is either with the plumbing or the roof, however the source of the problem may be less obvious. If you are noticing water marks on your ceiling near or over your fireplace, there is a good chance your chimney may be to blame.
In older homes especially, proper chimney maintenance is necessary to prevent water from finding its way into your home. Make sure your chimney has a cover to keep rain from entering through the opening at the top, and that there are no cracks in the chimney crown. Cracks develop in the crown through the years as your chimney is exposed to the changing temperatures of the seasons. Similar cracks also develop in the masonry of the chimney, providing another point of entry for unwanted moisture.
Flashing is very important when it comes to sealing your chimney from moisture, because most commonly, chimney leaks will occur where your chimney meets your roof. Over time, the flashing around your chimney can deteriorate, leaving the area exposed to the elements. Newer homes benefit from new, more durable flashing materials, however older homes require more regular chimney maintenance. If you are experiencing chimney leaks, repairing or replacing the flashing is a great starting point.
Many roofing companies offer chimney and masonry services, but not all. If your chimney is a concern to you, do your homework and select a contractor that offers chimney services. Your roof is a big investment, so make sure you select the right contractor for you and your home.