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Brick chase chimney issues.


Brandon Whitmore
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I inspected the biggest pile of a 9 year old, 5,600 sq. ft. house today. I do have some questions and will start with this one.

There are 2 chimneys on the home- both of them are brick chase chimneys, and the fireplaces are zero clearance units.

I can't recall ever seeing brick chase chimneys before, but things don't look right to me at flashing details, at least on the roof line. Any comments on these pic's would be appreciated.

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This is a picture of the bigger chimney. It looks like at least some of the wall/ roof structure is supporting some of the brick.

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This picture is from the crawlspace where you would normally see a masonry chimney base

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These are a couple of pic's of flashing details at the roof line.

The next half of the post is coming.......

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Here is a pic of the house, and pics of what's up inside. There is water seeping in at least at the upper roof line (pic of rot, etc. below), current dampness and damage from that point all the way down to the crawlspace.

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My questions:

This is a lot of brick resting on the structure, and I don't have access to the plans- --- do you guy's see anything that would concern you?

Since this is a chase installation, I do not believe that flashing the exterior face of the brick will work. There should be framing and OSB wall sheathing with some type of barrier installed behind the brick. I think the roof flashing needs to be tucked in behind the brick/ WRB-- what say you? By the way, this has been an on- going issue as you can see at the chimney flashing. Someone cut out the original counter flashing and installed one piece counter flashing-- leakage still exists.

I probably have more questions, but that's all of the top of my head. My brain hurts after this one. I have not perused the BIA.org site yet, but will later. I've got a total of 193 pics (new PR) and many hours of report writing to work on............

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Hi,

I wish there was a picture of the brickwork, the crown and the chimney-to-house transition so I could see what's going on there.

On going problem? Tell them that the longer they dink around arguing about what caused it, the farther the rot is going to spread into that structure and the more money it will ultimately cost them to fix it; get it torn off and all of that rotten wood yanked out and replaced now before it's rebuilt properly.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Good pics of the cap and upper area would be helpful -- I see some efflorescence in the third pic in the first post so I suspect some water entry above the roofline. I have seen some chimneys where water was simply seeping through the brickwork in sufficient quantities to make a mess of things below.

In any case, the flashing is not properly done, but I would look upward as well since I suspect that's the major source of water entry.

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Try these. The crown on the big chimney is concave and needs to be fixed, but it did not look like water could pour in there, but I could be wrong. This pic was taken from about 10' away. Due to the slope of the roof and dampness, algae/moss, and ice, I had trouble getting around.

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I wish there was a picture of the brickwork, the crown and the chimney-to-house transition so I could see what's going on there.

On going problem? Tell them that the longer they dink around arguing about what caused it, the farther the rot is going to spread into that structure and the more money it will ultimately cost them to fix it; get it torn off and all of that rotten wood yanked out and replaced now before it's rebuilt

Problem is...... it's now a short sale situation. They have already run to Cali.

I am trying to find out what is causing it, because obviously the roofer's can not. They will probably come back and add more tar or flashing. I think you can see where they have modified the flashing in some of the pics. There is now a tar seal layer over the modified flashing at the bigger chimney, and caulk sealant in a couple of the butt joints of the shingles at the shorter chimney.

The attic pic's are showing the short chimney from the attic with leak stains below.

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[Good pics of the cap and upper area would be helpful -- I see some efflorescence in the third pic in the first post so I suspect some water entry above the roofline. I have seen some chimneys where water was simply seeping through the brickwork in sufficient quantities to make a mess of things below./quote]

I'm thinking that it's seepage through the brick. It looks to me like water is building up on the cap, and then draining off the E. face (side facing the ridge). There is no access to the cap area-- it's too high to get to. I really wanted to spiderman my way up there, but the roof was too steep for the attempt. Maybe I'm starting to get smarter after all.

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What you probably have is a functional galvanized cap over the chase opening which is sealed to the actual metal chimney section with silicone or similar. It laps --or at least, it should -- over the brick on the edges. There is a decorative black cap over that. We can't see whether the galv cap extends properly over the edges of the chase, (since it's covered by the black cap) but I do see efflorescence extending down the chimney from below the corbelling. I still suspect some leakage there.

PS: Ya'll got a lot of birds there? That's a bunch o' droppings on that cap!

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I don't think you getting it. There is rot in the wood behind that brickwork and that rot will spread to the framing of the house; no ifs, ands, or buts about it. The horse has already bolted and it's too late to close the barn doors. It needs to be torn down.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I don't think you getting it. There is rot in the wood behind that brickwork and that rot will spread to the framing of the house; no ifs, ands, or buts about it. The horse has already bolted and it's too late to close the barn doors. It needs to be torn down.

Copy that

I think that the rot has already spread to the framing of the house. The pic's don't do the interior damage justice. I would love to be the one to pop off the cap and look down the chase. Gonna see some color, mushrooms, and who knows what else.

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PS: Ya'll got a lot of birds there? That's a bunch o' droppings on that cap!

This house is 9 years old and it looks like the ridge caps were replaced once since then. There are a bunch of holes worn through these newer ridge caps -- looks like more bird damage (droppings at worn hole areas are a dead give- away). The dude that built the house left so many openings at dormer soffit areas they were just asking for bird problems. Plus, this is out in the country.

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That may not be full size (thickness) brick. Could it be Z-brick (3/8th thick glued to a stud and plywood chimney cover?

I installed a three sided prefab fireplace that hung from the exposed rafters in a large addition back in the 80's. The stud and plywood cover stood 20 feet tall on the shed roof to clear the existing house roof. We crossed braced and tied it into the rafters with steel rods to keep it from swaying.

To keep the weight down (town said all chimneys must be brick) the Architect spec. Z-Brick.

Ezra Malernee

Canton, Ohio

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That may not be full size (thickness) brick. Could it be Z-brick (3/8th thick glued to a stud and plywood chimney cover?

I installed a three sided prefab fireplace that hung from the exposed rafters in a large addition back in the 80's. The stud and plywood cover stood 20 feet tall on the shed roof to clear the existing house roof. We crossed braced and tied it into the rafters with steel rods to keep it from swaying.

To keep the weight down (town said all chimneys must be brick) the Architect spec. Z-Brick.

Ezra,

This Z brick, is it possible to determine whether it is solid or Z brick on the outer face? I couldnt see how thick the material was.

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If I understand this correctly, the big pile of brick is just sitting on the roof/framing. Is that right? If so, that's a big mess

As far as I can tell.

The 2nd pic in my post shows a thickened stem wall in this area, so it must have been designed to carry some extra load. The part of the chimney does runs out over the roof does not extend into the attic, so it must sit on the roof line. The only chimney "base" is the exterior portion-- that crawlspace pic shows the other side.

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Originally posted by Brandon Whitmore

If I understand this correctly, the big pile of brick is just sitting on the roof/framing. Is that right? If so, that's a big mess

As far as I can tell.

The 2nd pic in my post shows a thickened stem wall in this area, so it must have been designed to carry some extra load. The part of the chimney does runs out over the roof does not extend into the attic, so it must sit on the roof line. The only chimney "base" is the exterior portion-- that crawlspace pic shows the other side.

I'd say what you have there is brick veneer. It ought to be installed according to the rules for brick veneer. Nine years ago, those rules were much more lax than they are now. But even then, you couldn't support a full-size brick wall on wood. Even if the brick were less than full size, the wood support would have had to be designed to deflect less than L/600 -- the roof in your photo doesn't even come close. The concern is lateral accelleration during earthquakes.

Of course, the leaking water & rot are icing on the cake.

I'd recommend tearing off the upper chimney. I really can't see what's going on with the lower one.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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But even then, you couldn't support a full-size brick wall on wood.

Could they support the brick (bigger sidewall chimney) on wood if designed that way?

Even if the brick were less than full size, the wood support would have had to be designed to deflect less than L/600 -- the roof in your photo doesn't even come close. The concern is lateral accelleration during earthquakes.

Here's a pic of the framing-- it is fairly beefy

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I am assuming you are talking about the short chimney near the ridge, which is on the rear of the home. I think the main chimney (front sidewall) is mostly supported by/ near walls.

With an earthquake, I am fairly certain that bricks will be flyin' on both chimneys.

I'd recommend tearing off the upper chimney. I really can't see what's going on with the lower one.

I believe that you are talking about the short chimney near the ridge (back of home), which is the one where I took pic's from inside the attic. Is that correct? All of the rot pic's are from the front chimney, and the front chimney is the one that has leakage all the way from the roof to the crawlspace.

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Originally posted by Brandon Whitmore

That may not be full size (thickness) brick. Could it be Z-brick (3/8th thick glued to a stud and plywood chimney cover?

I installed a three sided prefab fireplace that hung from the exposed rafters in a large addition back in the 80's. The stud and plywood cover stood 20 feet tall on the shed roof to clear the existing house roof. We crossed braced and tied it into the rafters with steel rods to keep it from swaying.

To keep the weight down (town said all chimneys must be brick) the Architect spec. Z-Brick.

Ezra,

This Z brick, is it possible to determine whether it is solid or Z brick on the outer face? I couldnt see how thick the material was.

Looking at the corners of the chimney shows that they are regular brick. I doubt that 3/8 z-brick could produce that much efflorescence.

I say a masonry chimney needs a masonry foundation, period. Tear it all off and start over. Building back with just a frame chase and siding would be most practical.

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Originally posted by Brandon Whitmore

But even then, you couldn't support a full-size brick wall on wood.

Could they support the brick (bigger sidewall chimney) on wood if designed that way?

I believe the only prescriptive provisions involved triple rafters under the brick. If they wanted to ditch the prescriptions, they could, of course, have an engineer design something.

Even if the brick were less than full size, the wood support would have had to be designed to deflect less than L/600 -- the roof in your photo doesn't even come close. The concern is lateral accelleration during earthquakes.

Here's a pic of the framing-- it is fairly beefy

Not beefy enough.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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