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Postby VEFF on Tue Oct 18, 2005 1:52 pm

What might be the last update, for a while at least I hope:


Well, I have some interesting, and what appears to be very good news:
The last (excluding one my realtor is going to refer me to; I asked her yesterday afternoon if she knew of anybody) contractor came today and turned out to be the best.

This is the one originally badmouthed by a prior contractor, who it turns out used to work for the company he badmouthed, but was fired; for legal reasons I won't go into details here.

Anyway, after his inspection, he said the outside of the chimney is in good shape, including the crown and sides, which is mortar (not meshed as it [ideally] should be over the original concrete and / or bricks.
He stated that the flashing job (roofing cement) was well done and that it was in good condition with no cracks or other noticeable problems.
He also informed me that there IS actually original metal chimney flashing (just no roof or counter flashing) underneath the roofing cement. I didn't realize that.
I told him about the liner saleseman (from another company) who had come earlier and that I didn't feel I needed one; today's contractor also stated that I do NOT need a liner, even though they DO liners...
He said even then I wouldn't need an expensive stainless steel liner, but rather an aluminum one because I have a gas furnace, not an oil one.

He shone a flashlight down the flue (more on that at the end).
He checked in the attic.

He could NOT find or see any problem area(s) where the leak would or could be coming from (except one thing he told me later, after conferring with his boss; this was regarding the cement condition between the '2 foot' long tiles, that comprise the flue, on one row near the top of the chimney). See further down for what his boss thought the cause of the problem likely is, based on his prior experience with chimney leaks.

His theory is that it could be because we had very heavy rain for eight straight days and that the sideways rain got underneath the chimney cap (He said I can't get a larger one because of the 8x8 flue, which is what I posted I thought earlier in this thread).

He said a possible solution, to the windswept rain, IF that is the cause,
is to get a 5 1/2 top plate installed (cemented to top of flue under chimney cap).
This is not exactly cheap, but not expensive either for $250, since they have to come by, which alone costs time / money.
He did not push this, and only presented it as a solution IF the problem persists.

I appreciate his honesty.


When we were talking about roofing cement (and its longevity or lack thereof), he stated he had roofing cement done 5 years ago when his roof was redone and he hasn't had leaks yet.

He also confirmed that the shingles are in (very? I don't remember every word he said verbatim, since we covered so much) good shape and the roof indeed has 4 years left.

This is why it pays to get multiple estimates; this is a local guy who has been in business for 27 years and isn't a sweat shop like some others.

Anyway, I am going to see what happens next time it rains.

PS: He came back to my house 10 - 15 minutes after leaving and said that, while getting the details of his next assignment / appointment, his boss (whom he discussed my situation with) thought it could be the condition of the cement between one of the '2 foot' flue sections (he did notice it was deteriorated) near the top of the flue.
His boss thought that could be letting the water penetrate the cement in the attic.
If so, they could use a stick to cement that from outside, and then install the top plate.


I don't think the rain was all that windswept, although I certainly hope he IS right and that is all it is. (I do remember that last time I checked it in February after roofer had done the work mentioned before, it wasn't leaking, but I thought the roofing cement and / or silicone might have deteriorated since then).
I'll keep an eye on it and if the leaks reccur even with normal rain, I'll call this last company back and have them check it again and see what can be done.


I suppose it could also be a hairline crack in the crown that he missed during his inspection, but I am just guessing; besides he has no incentive / reason not to find a problem...


Motto of the story, which I usually follow, get at least 3 or 4 estimates on things where there is a large variation in possible diagnoses.
Or go with a contractor you know or that a friend or neighbor has used.


Thanks again for all your feeback and tips.
Feel free to comment on this last guy's feedback.

PS:
It is nice to know that there are still very honest companies around.
The other guy had told me this company would try to sell me all kinds of stuff and say eveything would need to be replaced, when, in fact, the exact opposite occurred.

I am not saying they are all bad, far from it, but in my case (maybe bad luck) it seemed the majority were either indifferent [saying $350 of work needs to be done without going on the roof or even in the attic], incompetant or trying to sell something I didn't even ask for.

EDITED to add:
My realtor called to give me the recommendation for the chimney company; it turned out to be the first company I had called, which had a 2 week backlog, so I decided to keep them in mind if necessary, since I wanted the work, if necessary, to be done quickly.

Anyway, during last week's rains, she had put a turkey pan in her chimney (in the basement) to catch the rain water leaking down through the CAPPED chimney into the fireplace.
She had to empty it every three MINUTES during the worst parts of the rain storms!
Wow! I guess lots of people had issues.
I was far more fortunate.

In any case, I have my fingers crossed that during the next rain storm (not 8 straight days if heavy rain), things will
be fine.
I have no problem paying $250 to get a top plate installed, but FIRST want to be sure that the leaking doesn't reccur with rain coming straight down (i.e. not windswept), since in that case I will need them to check the crown, sides and flashing area again...
I am not so sure the top plate would help, since it happens only on one side and I don't remember the wind being a big factor, although I wasn't y keepig an eye on the wind all the time last week.
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Postby Dartman on Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:58 am

Well when we have huge rain storms we get call from people who have never had a leak before too, It can get blown sideways and get in if it's coming down hard enough. A gas flue will sometimes get condensation also which can seem like a leak when it dribbles down and gets out somewhere.
There is also one other type of cover out called a wind cover that has like a spinner hat on top to keep the wind direction pulling out smoke rather then blowing it down the hole, but it alos covers the whole tile and might help keep water from getting in. I think you've found a good contracter and hopefully it wont leak again, if it does sounds like they have some good theories.
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Postby VEFF on Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:10 am

Thanks Dartman.
I have to finish getting ready for work, but I'll post a few comments a bit later (I'll edit this post).
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Postby VEFF on Sun Oct 23, 2005 12:00 am

Yesterday I asked another chimney guy specializing in leaks (recommended by my realtor) to come by.
I dd this because, as nice as the last guy was (the one who claimed he couldn't find anything and that the one possiblity was sideways rain penetrating the brick from the inside through the part where two flue tiles meet [due to possible deterioration in glue / cement between flue tiles], still wasn't completely convinced that it was from sideways rain, since even on the last day of the 8 days of straight 1 foot plus (total) rain storms there was active dripping wetness.

Well, today we had almost 1.15 inches of rain, a lot of it concentrated in a short time span tonight.
I could NOT detect any signs of moisture in ANY of the spots that had been giving me problems during the extended storms.


I can only guess that it was from the brick absorbing an abnormal amount of water? Any thoughts Bill or Dartman?
I do know my realtor had far worse problems than I did during those storms. She told me that she had to empty water from a turkey pan every 3 MINUTES during the rain showers.
I also remember Dartman saying that during very bad rain, they got calls from people who had never had problems with leaks / dripping.

I may just cancel this last guy, since I don't want him to drive up and check it out for nothing...
He is scheduled to come towards the end of next week.

I guess the roofer did as good a job as I originally thought and that the last contractor may have been more right than I first thought, at least about not finding a source of the leak.
I still tend to think it may not have been sideways rain (he could be right and I could be wrong though - this is just my opinion) so much as the brick absorbing abnormally high amounts of rain water (moisture) in a short time span.
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Postby Dartman on Sun Oct 23, 2005 12:54 am

Brick is like a sponge once it gets old and soft, when it gets too much water soaked in it has to come out somewhere. If it has had time to dry out it may take a bit before it drips out again. I would still do at least a good water seal if you can find some. They make the petroleum based stuff and stuff that is latex based. I like the oil based stuff but other say the latex type stuff is better. The oil based stuff usually goes on clear and if you wet the roof and be carefull not to slip in whatever gets on it probably wont stain anything. It can drift so be carefull of nearby cars and windows. it cleans off glass with paper towels and maybe car wax.
You might as well have him come out, just be honest with him and maybe give him a few bucks for gas and time, he might see something others have missed or at least second whatever the others think is going on.
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Postby VEFF on Tue Oct 25, 2005 10:26 am

Thanks Dartman.
Well, I am glad I waited it out before accepting the last contractor's top plate suggestion, since my suspicions about there being more to it were right.
The saga continues; it looks like I got excited about it just being that excessive rain too soon.

This seems strange:

Last night into this morning it has been rianing.
The short 2 1/2 ' beam in the attic directly adjacent to the chimney on the lower roof side is pretty wet (we have only had about .5 - .6 inches today so far, which is less than the 1.15 inches on Saturday night which resulted in no wetness!?!?!? puzzling). Then again it rained since 6 PM (and I don't have the stats for yesterday).
The chimney itself is still completly dry.
I am not sure what all this means now, since it seems to go from wet to dry to wet again, even though it isn't proportional to the amount of rain.

Here are the threes recent rain cenarios and symptoms:

Occurrence # 1) Rain (some of it storms) for, essentially, 8 straight days - 12 inches of rain, more than half of it feel on 2 of those days)
Symptoms: This was the initial water leaking that led me to call for estimates. This includes the dripping down the sides of the chimney (as if chimney had absorbed a lot of water. The small beam adjacent to chimney had absorbed some water, but I couldn't tell if it was from the flashing directly above that short beam or the chimney absorbing too much water.

# 2) Rain on Saturday ruing the day and then heavy rain on Saturday evening. Total of 1.15 inches on Saturday, a fair amount of it in the evening hours.
Symptoms: No wetness anywhere (neither beam nor chimney concrete).

# 3) Today (raining since last night - some of it heavy) a .5 to .7 inches since midnight (not sure how much we had since 6 PM last night, but it didn't seem that heavy).
Symptoms this time; wooden beam directly under chimey is wetter than I remember it being (I could be wrong) even during that entire week of heavy rain.
At that time (situation #1) it was more localized and ended up transferring to the cross beam, which it is NOT doing (yet) this time, so this seems to
be coming more from the flashing than the chimney.
The flashing seems to have quickly gotten worse.
EDIT: However, while the upper part of this small beam is wet today,m the lower part (which is what allowed the water to be 'transfered' to the adjoining roof beam) hasn't gotten wet yet.

I am a bit confused with these seemingly very conflicting symptoms.
I hope one of the contractors didn't accidentally (stepping on it), or intentionally (they were up there alone for a while), do something to the roofing cement area while they were up there.
However, I don't want to blidnly accuse them; it is just that this is strange.
Then again, we had more rain on Saturday than last night and Saturday it was completely dry. Yet today, with less rian, the beam is the wettest it has been yet, unless the flashing area has started to get worse after all the recent moisture (and or damage / sabotage that is letting water get absorbed).

Oh well, I'll hopefully find out on Thursday when this guy comes to check it out.
I'll take some photos now and post them shortly.
I just want to get this taken care of once and for all, so it can be off my, and your, mind(s). :)
If I had a better size ladder for the deck, I would go up myself and check it out, but the main one is too tall and the small wooden one is too small by several feet.


Depending on what the contractor finds and says of course, some of it based on your kind feedback, I am thinking of:
1) Getting the flashing area fixed wih something that will hold up a lot longer than 6 months (maybe with some luck he can ge this neoprene stuff).
If it lasts till the new shingles (i.e. reroof) - within two years from now (4 years seems to be pushing it based on what I saw the other day when I was on the deck cleaning a small part of the gutter out since I was there anyway), I will be happy.
2) Getting the chimney itself waterproofed.
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Postby VEFF on Mon Oct 31, 2005 1:05 pm

Well, I had the guy, recommended by my realtor's colleague, come in.

They recommended the following comprehensive job:

Steel mesh corners from roof up
Wiremesh from roof up
Plaster chimney with high strength bonding cement (pocorn finish)
New cement crown collar
(Repointing of top two rows of bricks - not written down on estimate,
but discussed verbally when we were going over the estimate)

Sweep out chimney top to bottom
clean out base of chimney

I want to see if he can come down a bit on the price
and also eliminate the cleaning (last two items listed) to reduce cost further, since I really don't need it to be cleaned.

Full estimate is a little under $1,300 (left out exact amount
to protect the innocent - you never know who reads these forums; especially since the results come up on search engines (google for one).

What do you think, Bill (BigMonkey) / Dartman, about:
a) work to be done?
b) cost?

I like the fact that
1) This way the chimney will look nice again: It will no longer have that ugly black, uneven roofing cement line extending close to halfway up the outside of the chimney, and the silicone lines on the side of chimney
2) This will prevent the need to redo the flashing every so often.

I do need to check with the chimney contractor exactly what needs, or doesn't need, to be done when I get a reroof job (add new layer of shingles) done in the next year or two:
I need to make sure this will eliminate the need for ANY flashing work
when the roof is redone.


I can hopefully use the chimney repair work as a selling point, since buyers know that older homes often have issues, and this was the last one on this house (everything else has been upgraded).

In addition:
I am not sure I will sell, so this would be a good investment.
If I do sell the house shortly (within the next 6 months to 1 year), I can tack on a bit to my asking price, to make up for this work...

$1,300 is a far cry from what the last guy said, but the chimney is old and I would hate to get only the flashing repaired, only to have the chimney
leak 6 months later. Besides, the cheaper flashing repairs don't last all that long, so in the long run this makes more sense...

Thanks again for all of your feedback!
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Postby Dartman on Mon Oct 31, 2005 6:44 pm

That is a true stucko job, screen, plaster about 3 times, smooth or popcon, whatever, it should be like new again and not need anything for a long time.
The roofer will most likely tuck his roof flashing under whatever kind of counter flashing they put in, or he might want to redo the counter but most just do the roof part and leave it. At that point figure out what the two of you want done, maybe even have the chimney guy come back if needed to redo the counter.
That is a labor intensive job so his price sounds fair for everything he says he'll do, probably take em a couple of days or so to do it with a couple of guys.
Some guys are super fast though so don't freak if it gets done in a day as long as it's done right. A good crew that knows their job and works well together can crank things out pretty well sometimes.
Last edited by Dartman on Tue Nov 01, 2005 1:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby VEFF on Tue Nov 01, 2005 12:38 am

Thanks Dartman.
I appreciate the feedback and the time estimate, so I can gauge whether they are doing it right, depending on the number of people in the crew, time taken for breaks / lunch etc.

He made it seem like it won't need flashing, since the steel "corners" will go right down to the roof all around, or something like that.

I need to call him to get clarification again on exactly how this will solve the flashing leak problem.

I'll probably go ahead with it.
I heard roof jobs usually include flashing but not counter flashing (?). I would like to know if this chimney work would preclude me from needing the counter flashing, since I am not sure they will be using counter flashing (see top paragraph).

I might be mistaken.

I'll call him tomorrow.
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Postby Dartman on Tue Nov 01, 2005 1:46 am

He probaly figures they'll just mud right down to the roof flashing and that will work ok, it can. Or he might do some counter of some sort mud over it or he can just counter it the way I do after it has set up. If he's willing to back it up and he's done enough of em he knows what will work, you dont make money going back all the time.
Show him my style of flashing I spose and see if he likes that idea too, I've seen a few stuckod chimneys done that way and I have done em myself.
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Postby bill on Tue Nov 01, 2005 9:17 am

VEFF wrote:
He made it seem like it won't need flashing, since the steel "corners" will go right down to the roof all around, or something like that.

I need to call him to get clarification again on exactly how this will solve the flashing leak problem.




Veff,

Edit.

Sorry about that, I misread a couple of paragraphs and thought you didn't understand the flashing terminology or the correct sequence.
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Postby VEFF on Mon Nov 07, 2005 10:42 am

No problem Bill.

Thanks for all the feedback and advice.

The same goes for Dartman, of course.

They are coming tomorrow.

PS: Regarding the amount of time rquired, which was estimated by Dartman.

The contractor said it is only about 2 hours of work
1) They have a crew of four or so.
2) My chimney isn't that large, and due to the size and / or location,
NO scaffolding is required.

Fingers crossed.
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Postby VEFF on Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:07 pm

The crew came today to do the work.

I forgot to mention that the contractor gave me a $100 discount, due to the form of payment used.

They did a great job; it took a little over 2 3/4 hours.


Extras:
They threw in a nice new stainless steel cap and redid the top brick sections from scratch (removed two rows and put in a new one - he said one was better in his experience [less (due to mrotar joints or? I forgot what he said - we covered a lot and it was early in the AM] to worry about down the road.
They also reseated the top of the flue.

They are also one of only THREE contractors in the state who actually have the official license (they have to be tested and go in person, annually, to renew everything - if I recall it all correctly).

They will make it right if anything goes wrong.
The owner's son was there at the start of the job. He was a very nice fellow.

They checked the flue condition, and it was in great shape.
They also (i.e. like two other chimney companies) said no liner was necessary in my case, in contrast to the first salesman.

The swept the chimney and they scrubbed the roof shingles, after compelting the chimney work; they also cleaned almost everything up nicely with water etc.

The worker who did a great job (12 years exp, plus 4 years [half time] of vocational school, specializing in masonry) said i should just get it inspected every 5 years (no need for cleaning annually due to everything being gas and having a cap) to ensure the flue was still in good shape.


I'll post a photo or two, so you can compare the before and after shots.

Thanks again guys (Dartman and Bill) for all the helpful and friendly feedback!
Hopefully I can be of assistance to you two some day.
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Postby Dartman on Thu Nov 10, 2005 2:11 am

I'd like to see the pics, should be interesting. Like I said if they have a bunch of good guys.... =D> All my training was on the job, they do have schools here or like that but many start out the way I did and just do their job.
I don't think they require any type of certificate here, you just have to have the proper buisiness licsenses, bonds and like that and warranty your work for like a year, we usually go way longer then that but that is all that is required as far as I know.
We did 2 small jobs today, a tile and windcover install, plus a cleanout door and a medium sized fireplace chimney retuck, crown, and cover. Took 9 hours to get both jobs done, drive time, etc. It was a nice day so we worked a long one, bad weather slows us down.
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Postby VEFF on Sat Nov 12, 2005 2:23 pm

Dartman wrote:I'd like to see the pics, should be interesting. Like I said if they have a bunch of good guys.... =D> All my training was on the job, they do have schools here or like that but many start out the way I did and just do their job.
I don't think they require any type of certificate here, you just have to have the proper buisiness licsenses, bonds and like that and warranty your work for like a year, we usually go way longer then that but that is all that is required as far as I know.
We did 2 small jobs today, a tile and windcover install, plus a cleanout door and a medium sized fireplace chimney retuck, crown, and cover. Took 9 hours to get both jobs done, drive time, etc. It was a nice day so we worked a long one, bad weather slows us down.


Sounds like a tough day!!!


The only thing I hope is that they didn't scrub the shingles (pretty old already) too hard when they were cleaning up. The brush was pretty hard
IMO and I heard him scrubbing.
I politely questioned the guy about it, since the shingles would be better off if any further stress is put on them.
He said it was just hard enough to clean up the cement, but not enough to damage the shingles. I said okay, thanks.

I am not an expert and couldn't see how much he scrubbed the shingles
as opposed to the cement.
In hindsight I am sure he knows what he is doing when he does clean-ups since he has been doing this for 12 years...

Fingers crossed. :)
I'll check the roof (i.e. wood itself) under the shignles near the chimney area in the attic the next time we have heavy rain.

This time of year it is hard to tell whether it is moisture, unless it is clearly damp or wet to the touch, since the wood is already blackened in some spots and the attic is cool (cool can feel slightly like damp):
We did have rain about 25 hours after the job was completed (only
.2 " though) and the chimney area was fine.
One very small piece of the roof a foot or so from the chimney felt like it COULD be damp, but it was probably just the cold attic fooling me, especially since there was probably a slightly damp feeling in the attic due to the weather.
I doubt it was anything serious, since I ran my hand across it and still had a *very* hard time telling if it had gotten, or was still, damp at all.
.2 " is not a true test anyway...
I am sure readers are thinking I worry too much (sometimes I probably do, lol); I just would hate to have any roof problems (roof itself has been fine; it was just the chimney area) now that this nice work has been completed. :).
I'll know for sure after the next significant rain.

Anyway, I am glad that I paid more now:
1) It will save me in the long run (unless I decide to sell soon, although I like it very much now and may stay)
and
2) That ugly uneven tar line is gone too...

I'll try to post some pics this evening.
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Postby Dartman on Sat Nov 12, 2005 2:39 pm

We always put down a bunch of cloth tarps to protect the main work area then blow off/hose what is left after we sweep up the crumbs. I also have one of those scrub brushes and occasionally have to break it out on ground in cement spots, usually the shingles are fine as it IS just stiff enough to scrub without damage unless they are just totaly shot/brittle.
Yesterday we did a crown and 3 cover install, a bunch of cover measures, ended up in 2 states and all over our area. was all easy stuff though and we quit at 3pm, nice easy day and didn't get all wet :) We are on the border with Washington where I'm at....
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Postby VEFF on Sat Nov 12, 2005 3:13 pm

Dartman wrote:We always put down a bunch of cloth tarps to protect the main work area then blow off/hose what is left after we sweep up the crumbs. I also have one of those scrub brushes and occasionally have to break it out on ground in cement spots, usually the shingles are fine as it IS just stiff enough to scrub without damage unless they are just totaly shot/brittle.
Yesterday we did a crown and 3 cover install, a bunch of cover measures, ended up in 2 states and all over our area. was all easy stuff though and we quit at 3pm, nice easy day and didn't get all wet :) We are on the border with Washington where I'm at....


Thanks for the feedback!
That sounds like a much better day for you...
Sounds like a nice area.
My Friday was pretty calm too, which is the way I like them. :)

They aren't totally shot, far from it, but they are weathered and, I'm sure, not as solid (stiff) as new ones. I was concerned about the protective coating (those granules or whatever they're called) being rubbed off, since they are old (I find some of them in the gutter, which I know is normal).

I took a couple of photos; I'll try to post them tonight.
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Plextor PX-716A TLA0304
Plextor PX-716A same TLA

LiteOn 52246S 52X CD-RW
LiteOn 52246S (another)
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Postby VEFF on Thu Nov 17, 2005 1:24 am

We had almost an inch of rainfall today.
This was the first significant / heavy rainfall since the chimney was worked on last week (I don't know if 0.2 inches last Wednesday counts).

I checked the attic when about .65 inches or so had fallen (earlier this evening) and couldn't detect any leak problems - either directly around the (flashing area) chimney or nearby (this was a concern after the scrubbing).
:)

Now we can all forget about this thread.
Hopefully some of the advice I received in this thread will help someone else one day.

Thanks again Dartman and Bill!
Burners only:
Pioneer DVR-115D
Pioneer DVR-111D
Plextor PX-716A TLA0304
Plextor PX-716A same TLA

LiteOn 52246S 52X CD-RW
LiteOn 52246S (another)
LiteOn 52327S 52X CD-RW
TDK 40X USB 2.0 CD-RW
TEAC CD-W540E 40X CD-RW
User avatar
VEFF
CD-RW Player
 
Posts: 2025
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2002 9:36 pm

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