Are You Seeing Stains in the Ceiling Around Your Masonry Fireplace?

Maybe you have noticed some white streaks running down your brick fireplace. You look up at the ceiling and notice there is some stains in the drywall. However, you don’t see any evidence of water on the mantel, fireplace apron or floor. You realize you have a problem but don’t know what is causing it. The first reaction is to call a roofer as you may have a roof leak. An experienced roofer can help identify what is causing the problem. Did you know that it may not be a roof issue?

Stains in the ceiling and white streaks on the brick, also referred to as efflorescence, are a good sign of the issue being related to the masonry chimney. A good majority of leak calls we receive are for this very reason.

To help identify the problem you will be asked a few questions. 1) Did you observe water actually dripping from the ceiling? If so, was it a steady stream, intermittent drip or a drip that happens seldomly? 2) When did you first notice you had an issue? 3) What type of roof do you have? 4) Is the slope of you roof flat, very low pitched, moderately pitched or very steep? 5) How old is the house and how old is the roof covering? These questions help give us a clue as to what to look for.

Usually, stains in the ceiling without evidence or observation of water actively dripping usually points towards a masonry issue. We would look at the overall condition of the chimney. Cracks, broken bricks, moss growing out of the mortar and loose counterflashing are some signs of a failing chimney. A masonry chimney is like a sponge. The more the rain the more it will soak up water. Eventually the brick will release the water and show evidence of a problem. Usually, if it is the chimney you won’t see a steady drip or stream of water.

It is not unlikely to have an issue with the chimney and the roof at the same time. However, if your roof has been replaced recently, more than likely it is the chimney causing the issue. If the overall condition of the chimney is good, then maybe all that is needed is the chimney cleaned and sealed to correct the issue. We recommend cleaning and sealing every three to five years to keep the masonry components in good shape. If the counterflashing is failing then most experienced roofers can replace the flashing. Mud cap replacement, re-grouting, brick repair and chimney rebuilds should be addressed by a reputable masonry contractor.

Feel free to reach out to Regal Roofing & Contracting to help you identify what is needed to address your ceiling staining issues around your fireplace or any other roofing needs.