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We have a brick chimney on the side of our 110 year old, 2 story house. We aren't going to use the fireplace - we have a ventless insert we are going to use. The chimney leaks terribly. We are thinking about taking it down to just above roof level and stuccoing the rest of it, plus adding flashing to the sides where it joins the house. Is this a workable solution? We don't really want to remove the entire chimney - it "fits" with the age of our house.

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    I wouldn't keep just part of a chimney. That would look weird--plus it's no longer useful in the future (not a lot of people like ventless fireplaces). – DA01 Jul 22 '14 at 21:15
  • Are you in an earthquake zone? – Bryce Jul 28 '14 at 9:15
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Ventless gas fireplaces are a suspected health hazard, and may dealers won't sell them.

I strongly suggested a vented model, which will have two pipes: one for fresh air, one for exhaust. The new cap will likely solve your dripping problem:

enter image description here

If you have doubts about where the leak comes from, get a hose. Wet the chimney 1 meter above the ground and wait for the drip to stop. Repeat this until you get to the top of the chimney. I'll bet the leak is in your chimney cap, or whatever masonry topping the thing has.

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you did not mention the location of the leak. The most common leak area is where the roof meets the side of the chimney. Go on the roof and take a look at the nature of the protection at that point. Normally, metal flashing and a waterproof material bridge from the roof to the chimney UNDER the finished roofing material (shingles, tiles, etc.), so a permanent long-term repair requires removal of the roofing material. Additionally, there is often a metal flashing several inches above the area where roof meets chimney. This simply acts as a little roof, deflecting water away from this area of frequent trouble.

So... For temporary DIY repair, get some good quality elastomeric type white crack sealer in a caulking gun cartridge and give a thorough seal to any cracks or gaps found in this area. Then use a thick white elastomeric roof repair material in a can like this stuff. Apply a thick coat and embed mesh reinforcing tape (you can use fiberglass mesh drywall tape) into it and apply another thick layer on top. Add coats until the mesh is covered.

The repair probably will not be pretty, and may not last forever, but it will help. below is a photo of a similar repair I did 3 years ago, still no leaks. enter image description here

  • Sorry, I should have mentioned that it does have flashing around it where it enters the roof and it's not leaking there - we went into the attic and checked. The water is coming INSIDE the chimney - we keep a bucket in our fireplace to catch the water. We think because of the age of the chimney, it's coming in between the bricks or it's coming in between the chimney and the sides of the house. As I said, it's a 110 year old house, so we expect it to have special needs. LOL – Deanna Jul 23 '14 at 17:32
  • Wow, those chimneys are like a brick tube. I can't see how it would come between the chimney and house and end up dripping into the flue area, it would most likely be damaging the walls and floor around the fireplace and chimney if that were the case. Check the top of the chimney, they are usually "capped" with a dome of mortar, which frequently cracks. You could use the sealer mentioned above to seal the cracks. I'm assuming the chimney brick and mortar are sound, or you may need to hire someone to chisel out and "point in" new mortar around all your bricks. Is there a metal chimney cap? – Jimmy Fix-it Jul 25 '14 at 20:54
  • I have a chimney that leaks as described - rain gets into the chimney under the chimney cap (we get a lot of blown rain) and runs down the chimney to the highest liner seam, where the chinking has eroded away, then follows that seam into the masonry, then finds seams between the structural blocks where it exits into the attic. The ideal is to have the flue repaired (this can be done from the roof). – TDHofstetter Aug 27 '14 at 13:30

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