Do you know which element is more harmful to your chimney? The obvious answer is fire, right?

WRONG. Water is the culprit to most chimney damage, according to the Chimney Safety Institute. Pesky freezing temperatures and rain mixed with poor construction can lead to brick, stone and concrete cracking, wood rot, and rust on metal flashing.

Here are four common leaks chimney specialists often encounter, and ones you should look out for when buying a home:

1. Cracks in the masonry crown. The very top of a masonry chimney is the crown. Most of the time masons use brick-laying mortar to create the crown, and this will crack and split nearly as soon as the mortar dries. The act of cracking and splitting lets water seep into the top and down the chimney. 

2. Cracks in the mortar between bricks. The minute cracks you see between the mortar and brick look harmless enough, but they may as well be gaping holes once a nice little thunderstorm hits. Rain and wind can easily drive water into these "small" cracks, creating leaks in your attic or walls of your home (in other words, this leak leaves a nasty mess for you).

3. Rust on metal flashing or chase covers. Whether the leak is a trickle or a flood, the result will be damage to sheetrock, which can then generate mold and mildew and possibly warp floors.

4. Pores that naturally occur in the masonry. Almost all masonry has tiny holes, particularly brick and concrete. Depending on what type of brick you have, there are kinds that are more porous than others. Essentially, you do not want spalling to occur, which is where moisture has infiltrated the brick and frozen, causing the brick's front face to fall off. 

If you live in the Chapel Hill, Durham or Raleigh/Cary area and are experiencing any of the above problems with your chimney, feel free to contact Masha Halpern & The Smart Move Team for a referral to a trusted chimney specialist!




Masha Halpern and The Smart Move Team is your ultimate real estate resource for Chapel HillDurhamCarrboro and surrounding areas. Visit my website at for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Masha is a certified member of The Luxury Home Marketing Institute, participates in its annual Leaders in Luxury Conference, and works with The Institute’s thousands of members worldwide to share information about current listings.

Masha is also a certified member of Keller Williams Luxury International and is Chapel Hil & Durham's EXCLUSIVE  member of Cyber Stars International – Top Realtors Using Technology – a group dedicated to taking the best and latest technological advances and applying them to real estate advertising and marketing for her clients in all price pointsMasha Halpern can be contacted for a private consultation by calling 919-414-0337 or by visiting