Chimney damp

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Morning all, I’m here for some advice really.
I live in a 1903 mid terraced house. I only moved in a year ago and it has quickly drained me of all my savings.
9 months ago I noticed a damp patch on the ceiling. I got a roofer out who told me there was no ‘crown’ on the stack. Charged me £1200and off he went. 7 months later the patch is worse and new patches have appeared. This company is ‘no longer trading’.
The damp patches have appeared on the chimney breast on one side of the house (above the dining room where the fire is not used). See pictures.The other side ( above the living room) where the fire is used is fine.
Three trades have turned up. 1- I should never have let into my house. 2- wants to knock the chimney down completely and tile over, £6k 3 sent a drone up and said the crown does not lip over the edge of the chimney stack and it was not bonded around the pots.

I want to keep the chimney.

Would opening and using the fire on the side that has damp help keep the stack dry?
Do chimney crowns stop water penetrating through? Would the cracks allow water to pool and drip through?

What about a sealant paint on the bricks? Would that help?

Thanks for your help. Sadly when I put any questions to the tradesmen they get annoyed. As one said ‘some lads think they know better than the trades’.
 

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Is the damp flue ventilated? Check the flashing around the chimney.
 
Hi, thank you for your reply. The chimney pot is closed with vents and the fireplace below is now open… the previous owners had stuffed loads of plastic up there. Would waterproof paint work on the bricks? I thought I would be the flashing but so far the advice is to take it down (despite not having been up to have a look). Thank you again.
 
When you say crowns, do you mean the flaunchings?

Where the pots come out of the chimney stack, the domed "cement" is called the flaunching. By convention it is made using sharp sand rather regular building sand.

Apropos, your response from the tradesmen that you have encountered, I would never talk to a customer like that. If they ask questions, I will try to address their concerns/questions. I am not a roofer (I am a decorator, but one that has been around quite a few blocks), but at no point would I ever be dismissive.

With respect, you might want to find a higher quality of tradesman.

Steer clear of those checka type sites and ask neighbours/etc for recommendations.
 
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I’m not sure what it’s called. He said there was no concrete on top of the chimney so the water was seeping in. He did put a concrete sort of layer up there, it went around the base of the pots and to about 5/10cm away from the edge of the stack at each side. But the drone showed three bit cracks on it and some gaps around the pots where clearly the concrete had contracted. Apologies for the terminology, I’m clueless.
With regards to trades. I am at the mercy of whomever bothers to turn up.
 
Hi, thank you for your reply. The chimney pot is closed with vents and the fireplace below is now open… the previous owners had stuffed loads of plastic up there. Would waterproof paint work on the bricks? I thought I would be the flashing but so far the advice is to take it down (despite not having been up to have a look). Thank you again.

I had a customer years ago that paid over £20K to have his house repointed. He had damp patches on the chimney breast (third floor). He was initially only looking at having the chimney stack pointed but was so impressed with the look that he went for the whole 3 sides (semi-detached property).

Easter 2020- I redecorated the room at the top of the house. Late winter 2020, the water stains on the chimney breast came back. I had used stain blocking products. After phoning a damp specialist- at no cost- the specialist told him that the chimney had hygroscopic salts.

The decades old soot in the chimney absorbs water throughout the year. In the colder months they release the moisture through the bricks and plaster. His advice was to remove the plaster and use sand and cement.

Before going any further, google hygroscopic salts

 
Hi, thank you for your reply. The chimney pot is closed with vents and the fireplace below is now open… the previous owners had stuffed loads of plastic up there. Would waterproof paint work on the bricks? I thought I would be the flashing but so far the advice is to take it down (despite not having been up to have a look). Thank you again.
It could be the flashing (you need to check), though the presence of damp in the non functioning flue, which you say was vented but also blocked up, points towards salts within the chimney which cause the brown stains when they are drawn out by the damp conditions. It sounds like they wall was re plastered and decorated before it was sold to you, and the trapped damp is now making its way out. You could try an oil based paint like zinsser to see if that helps before embarking on more expensive remedies. It does sound like you have had a succession of cowboys, who are not prepared to discuss the remedy because they are not sure about it themselves.
 

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