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Home Improvement--General/chiminey construction and repair

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Question
Tom, I got on the roof the other day to get a limb off and stopped to look at the condition of my morter type chimney caps.  From the ground I can see on my two large brick chimineys in Houston, Tx that they always had a piece of flat grating to keep birds and animals out, there I however no exposed clay chiminey tile jutting up several inches and for sure no thing that looks like a rain cover.  I however have lived here for 20 years and the house was built by the homebuilder/contractor for himself (very well built), and it was 15 years old when I bought it.  I have gone through several tropical storms here and have never had any water come down into the firebox interior portion.  Where does it go?  Is this a certain type of design that catches the water above that I can see? I know it can't be a dampner design because you should be able to use your fireplace in the rain. It was not mentioned in my professional home inspection as something that needed repair when I bought the home.  I know they didn't just forget it while they lived here the 1st 15 years because the grating was up there. I am unemployed and for now do not want to spend on two types of rain covers if I don't need to... any thoughts or advice?

Answer
I can not know how your chimney is built without looking at it.

In most cases there is a ledge at the level of the damper that acts as a catch for rain that comes down the chimney. Mortar itself is porous so water would be absorbed and not necessarily run out.

Google "masonry chimney section" for some images.

Home Improvement--General

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Thomas Buford

Expertise

Licensed Architect in Virginia since 1984.
New Homes, Additions, Alterations, Outbuildings, Failure Forensics;
Small Construction Projects; Remediation and Repair

www.tbbuford.com

Experience

Architectural design, planning, construction and repair.
Schematic Design
objectives statement
space planning
feasibility study
structural, mechanical, plumbing
and electrical system integration
Permit Drawings
Construction Drawings
Contract Documents
Construction Administration
construction management
pre-qualification of bidders
bidding
general and/or sub contracting
construction progress and
construction contract review and interpretation
pay request certification
Construction failure diagnostics
water intrusion
structural failures, ...

Due to life safety concerns regarding some aspects of construction I may not be able to help with all questions.
I do not answer structural specification questions without a site visit.

Publications
Arlington Journal

Education/Credentials
5 year Bachelor of Architecture from
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VPI-SU)

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