I've posted about this ongoing issue in the past about my chimney
leaking. It's an all brick chimney (including the part that goes
underground), on the side of the house, and as far as I know the
original from the 50's. The base of the chimney (the ash clean-out) is
about 2 feet below ground. During really heavy rains (say 2-3 inches
in a day), the base of the chimney takes on water and begins to fill
up. Once the water reaches about 1 foot deep it spills through the
clean out doors into our basement. In troubleshooting this issue we've
had the chimney capped, bricks sealed (ChimneySaver), and flashing
redone. I also dug out around the base of the chimney (to the slab it
rests on) and did two coats of foundation sealer and wrapped it in
plastic. These steps have worked very well (no water during the last
few storms) until the storm we just got on Thanksgiving. We got about
3 inches of rain and about 2-4 inches of water still managed to get in
there. No water seems to get in until the ground gets saturated (at
two inches of rain both the sump and the chimney were bone dry, then
between the 2.5 inch and three inch mark both the sump and chimney
start to show some water. Now I have a few questions....
1.) Where is the water coming from? Is it seeping up from the "floor"
of the clean out (if so why doesn't water seep up into my cellar window
well that goes one foot below grade? Could it be getting in through
the seam where the brick of the chimney meets the foundation? When I
did my sealing job I couldn't get to exactly where the chimney meets
the foundation on one side due to the fact that it looks like they just
dumped the extra cement there as there was a huge hardened blob there.
2.) I think this problem is beyond what I can do myself and I need to
call a pro to evaluate. Would I call a basement waterproofing company,
a chimney company, or foundation/mason? Do any of these companies
offer a warranty (I'd hate to throw a lot of money into solutions that
Thanks for any suggestions!!
I dont know if this might help , I would be tempted to dig a sump
outside , next to the chimeny and put a sump pump in place. If the
water goes over maybe 6" in the sump pump it out away from the house.
It sounds to me like the ground is saturated and with sufficient water
its finding a way through.
check the basics any nearby downspout drains or lines? ground slope
you should look at the basics before deciding on a repair......
ideally if theres a convenient lower place away from home dig and
install underground drain line so if watewr does collect it has a place
There's a slight slope away from that side of the house. There is one
downspout about 8-10 feet away that drains downhill from this area. I
have gone out to inspect the area during heavy rains and I don't see
any standing/collecting water. It seems like the ground is simply
hitting a saturation point and water is finding it's way in somehow.
The chimney begins to take on water at the exact same time that the
sump does (again, after about 2.5 inches of rain in a single day).
While this amount of rain on a single day is rare, it seems to becoming
more and more common in the last two years. I was pondering to put in
some drainage pipe along the outside of the chimney and run it perhaps
5-10 feet away to empty out. However, is this just a patch for a leaky
chimney that should be fixed, there is no standing water collecting
here, just normal ground saturation. My biggest hope is to find a
permanent/reliable solution that will hold up to a lot of rain (we're
statisically due for a hurricane up here in New England).
"seeping up" ...In my experiance I have yet to see water go up hill. I
believe you have answered your own question in question #1 It seems
obvious to me that if you sealed everywhere EXCEPT where the chimney
and the house meet....thats your spot. Dig out the entire chimney and
expose every surface that contacts the house that much water is clearly
to me comming from above and flowing through a crack somewhere where
the 2 meet. Seal that area with a good quality tar and if you feel
inclined after the tar place a piece of flashing in the corners over
the tar to hinder wear of the coating. I would also check into the
drainage sources in that area thats ALOT of water someting arround the
house in that area is NOT RIGHT. If all is right????? you could also in
addition (OVER KILL< OVER KILL) install a french drain around the
basement and the base of the chimney below grade the thickness of the
pipe. But if you have adderssed the drainage issues this would not be
Good luck be sure to post what you find after exsposing the surfaces
Yes I'm beginning to think more and more it's coming from the joint
between the chimney and the foundation. Last summer I did dig all the
way around the base of the chimney except for one side I was only able
to go about half way down the joint, then hit a solid cement blob. I
did foundation sealer on all sides of the chimney and foundation that
joins the chimney, and painted over the blob (I was nervous to chip
away at it). Looks like this may be the spot. The land slopes
slightly AWAY from the chimney and I have never seen water pool/puddle
anywhere on that side of the house. That whole side of the house has
mulch extending out about 5 feet from the house and bordered with
landscaping blocks, perhaps next spring I'll remove all the mulch and
backfill with even more soil to make more of a slope then recover with
mulch. Would an evergreen ground cover (juniper or the like) help
lessen soil saturation? The basement itself already has an interior
french drain emptying to a sump. It would probably be easy to put in
some drainage pipe once the chimney is all dug out again. I think I'm
going to hire this fix out, I obviously didn't do it right the first
time, plus when we reselll in a year or so I have the paperwork to show
it was repaired by a pro (and perhaps warrantied). Who would be best
to call, waterproofing company, chimney company, or foundation repair
company? Thanks in advance!!
Italian Mason wrote:
Well we finally got the first pro out to look at our situation. This
was a chimney sweep company and they recommended having them trench 5
feet down all along the perimeter of the chimney and have it backfilled
with crushed stone. They would do the work for the cost of $2000.
This was more than I was expecting to spend on this problem. I'm still
attempting to get a mason here to try to see if we can repair the leak
instead of draining around it. Does this fix seem overkill? Again,
there is slight slope AWAY from the chimney, the only water in this
area is what naturally absorbs into the ground, there is nothing
(downspouts, etc) flowing water into the area. If drainage is the only
option wouldn't it be cheaper to install drainage pipe around the
perimeter and route it 10 feet or so down slope? I do want to ensure
the problem is fixed properly (ie I'm not looking to take shortcuts or
anything), but this was more work and money than I assumed was needed.
Any opinions?? Thanks in advance...
On 7 Dec 2006 16:15:06 -0800, "grodenhiATgmailDOTcom"
Clearly this isn't true, or you wouldn't be getting a foot of water
out of a 2" rainfall. WE can't tell you where the water is coming
from. Figuring that out can only be done by someone who's there.
Personally, I think it's coming all the way under your foundation
from wherever it is that you dump the water off the roof.
Given that there's no way to know where the water is coming from,
the only solution is to get rid of it after it gets there.
And that means at the very least a pit and a drain-line.
One of the reasons it's so expensive is that you're digging a
pit/trench around the base of a, what, 25-30' tall masonry
pile? In wet dirt. Do *YOU* know how to do that without
risking a collapse?
The chimney is not built as part of the foundation (ie our foundation
does not jut out to accommodate the chimney. It looks like the builder
simply cut an opening 2 feet deep (and maybe three feet wide) into the
foundation (from the top), dug a hole outside, put a slab in the bottom
of this two foot deep hole, and built a brick chimney on top of it.
The footing for the chimney is a good 3-4 feet higher than the
foundation footer (if this is even the right terminology). This
problem is beyond anything I can do (which is why I'm having pros look
at it, and getting opinions here to ensure I don't get ripped off).
I'm almost positive it's coming from the ground (as it only comes in
after a real good soaking (about three inches of rain), and at the same
time the sump in the basement starts to show some water (ie soil must
hit a saturation point). I just want to know the best course of action
(fix the hole/crack or install drainage). Or, is it possible to fill
the entire underground portion with cement and move the cleanout doors
outside level with the ground? This way the ground level would be my
cleanout floor (which would be about 2 feet below my fireplace floor
and maybe 1 foot below the exaust for my oil boiler). Any suggestions
are appreciated. And again, if the fix and price mentioned at the
beginning of this rambling seem the right course of action and price,
I'll go with that.
I've spoken with two more pros on this and they're coming to check it
out this weekend. Their solutions (and prices) vary greatly from the
first one. One says digging down 5 feet for a chimney base that only
goes two feet is not only overkill but a bad idea because it will
channel all the water closer to the base of my house foundation. He
recocommends getting as much water away as possible by digging down the
two feet (than another 6 inches or so), then backfilling with the
crushed stone, but laying drainage pipe away from the area.
A mason is going to see if the oil boiler exuast is high up enough
(above ground), to simply fill the base with cement and move the
cleanout doors form the basement to the outside. This would
essentially make the entire base of the chimney a solid block of cement
underground and the cleanout floor would be at ground level. TO me
this solution sounds best, if possible. Instead of trying to repair
the problem this seems to eliminate it altogether. Is there any
possible drawbacks to this solution?
I really appreciate the suggestions from this board. I realize not
seeing the situation it's impossible to give a fair recomendation. I
just want to ensure I'm not getting ripped off, and that the problem is
being fixed permanently... I don't want to keep throwing money at it.
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