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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Oak Park IL
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    Default Saddle advice, Rain caps.

    This first chimney has three open flues, but no rain caps (adding caps would definately spoil the look, according to client!). But should the saddle not extend the full width of the chimney and beyond? Also is there a minimum height for the saddle in relation to the roof pitch. I called it out as undersized.
    The second chimney (same house) also has missing cap.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Caledon, Ontario
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    Default Re: Saddle advice, Rain caps.

    Looks okay to me.
    The plumbing stack vent seems to be too low, minimum height is 8-12". Looks short.

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  3. #3
    Jacob Small's Avatar
    Jacob Small Guest

    Default Re: Saddle advice, Rain caps.

    I realize it's not your place to recommend the method of fix or debate aesthetics, and the client is right in that a typical "clay pot cap" would look out of place. That said, there are options for fixes which maintain aesthetics (I'm thinking L.C.C... errrrr... Z.C.C.).

    As far as the saddle or cricket goes, if it ain't broke...

    The only formula I know of for determining the required height is based off the pitch of the cricket - ie: (chimney length)/2 * (cricket pitch). Pitch is hard to judge due to the angles of the photos, but I'd guess that height wise it's fine.

    That having been said, as you pointed out it should extend to or beyond the end of the chimney mass. My experience is that this is the result of a patch where the owner didn't want to see black waterproofing/roofing on "our otherwise beautiful slate roof."


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    5,847

    Default Re: Saddle advice, Rain caps.

    The cricket looks fine to me, I agree with Ray that the vent stack looks short especially in snow country.

    As for caps on the chimneys? Just report what you see. Tell your client that they do not have caps and that they should contact a chimney expert or chimney sweep to see what their best options are.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Bradenton, FL
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    4

    Default Re: Saddle advice, Rain caps.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    The cricket looks fine to me, I agree with Ray that the vent stack looks short especially in snow country.

    Not to keep derailing the original purpose of the post, but its short and small. In that area 904.2 requires a transition to 3" one foot below the roof. Probably not a fix-it, but should be on the list for the next reroof.

    BTW, unless local code says more, 904.1 only requires 6" above the roof.

    Matt


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    NY Finger Lakes Area
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    206

    Default Re: Saddle advice, Rain caps.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Goff View Post
    Not to keep derailing the original purpose of the post, but its short and small. In that area 904.2 requires a transition to 3" one foot below the roof. Probably not a fix-it, but should be on the list for the next reroof.

    BTW, unless local code says more, 904.1 only requires 6" above the roof.

    Matt

    ............yes, make a note for the next slate re-roof, 50 years from now .........Greg


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Oak Park IL
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    Default Re: Saddle advice, Rain caps.

    Thanks all for the feedback. Should have mentioned there was evidence of water infiltration in the interior, not only under this chimney, but at all four chimneys - total of 10 fireplaces! (see pic). That's why I brought up the saddle(cricket) issue. In addition I think the lack of rain caps was contributing to deterioration of one of the chimneys (pic).
    Agree also about the plumbing vent.
    Unfortunately this job was for a potential buyer who got outbid- wonderful 1929 mansion in foreclosure!

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Marietta, Georgia
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    93

    Default Re: Saddle advice, Rain caps.

    The height of the cricket/saddle is determined by the pitch of the roof and width of the chimney. And if the chimney is less than 30'' wide, one is not required by the code..at least around here. The steeper the roof pitch, the taller the saddle should be. Once you get around a 45* roof slope, the cricket height should be around 1/2 the chimney width. So, if the chimney is, let's say, 60'' wide, the cricket's height should be 30''.
    At times it is pretty tough to figure that out and unless you are on the roof and can do precise measurements, otherwise....guess...if it looks okay I won't say anything, but many times the crickets are so small they are almost invisible-those are easy to determine.


  9. #9
    Ken Bates's Avatar
    Ken Bates Guest

    Default Re: Saddle advice, Rain caps.

    I thought I had seen the most beautiful chimney terminations in Venice.

    Wow, these are fantastico. Molto bellisimo.

    Ken Bates

    Ace Home Inspections


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Fuquay Varina, NC
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    Default Re: Saddle advice, Rain caps.

    From the looks of the first two pictures I would say it leaks through the masonry and not necessarily the saddle and or roofing. The top cap looks like it is patched and could leak in any one of those mortared joints.
    I have a local brick company that rents my bucket truck on occasion to seal/spray chimneys with a water repellent solution because of moisture issues. I know what your thinking but many times it's not a installation issue. Atmosphere, sun exposure, brick density, capillary, etc. all come into play.

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Oak Park IL
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    Default Re: Saddle advice, Rain caps.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Schulz View Post
    From the looks of the first two pictures I would say it leaks through the masonry and not necessarily the saddle and or roofing. The top cap looks like it is patched and could leak in any one of those mortared joints.
    I have a local brick company that rents my bucket truck on occasion to seal/spray chimneys with a water repellent solution because of moisture issues. I know what your thinking but many times it's not a installation issue. Atmosphere, sun exposure, brick density, capillary, etc. all come into play.
    I did mention the deteriorated cap mortar, but on closer inspection (pic.) there appears to be a layer of copper under the cap (arrow) which presumably extends in to the flues. If so, then this chimney was very well constructed.

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  12. #12
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    Mar 2007
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    Las Vegas, NV
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    Default Re: Saddle advice, Rain caps.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donal Hughes View Post
    I did mention the deteriorated cap mortar, but on closer inspection (pic.) there appears to be a layer of copper under the cap (arrow) which presumably extends in to the flues. If so, then this chimney was very well constructed.
    I have to strongly disagree with you Donal. It appears the chimney is not only poorly constructed but the stone used may not be the best either.
    The brick portion surrounding the flue areas must be treated in the same frame of mind as the stone walls. They are brick and mortar that surround the flue pipes and are WAY cool but cool does not trump good construction.

    First, the chimney crown at the top of the brick is incorrect. It is simply a flat surface that will allow rain water to flow down the sides of the brick and mortar. The brick will eventually soak up enough moisture that when it freezes, the face will spall. The even softer mortar will have this problem but at a faster rate. Note the missing mortar mid way down the sharp pointed section in the 59KB pic. Also note the cracked mortar between bricks in the photo with the arrow. Places for even more moisture to enter the structure.

    A proper crown is constructed like the one in the attached diagram. Notice it overhangs the walls below so runoff drips to the roof instead of running down the faces of the walls. Also note the flexible seal between the flue pipe and the crown. Flue pipes heat up and expand longitudinally. They actually get longer. If the crown mortar is placed against the flue and happens to adhere to it, the moving flue will attempt to carry it with and crack the crown very easily.

    Continuing down to the area where the brick ends and stone begins, we see a mortar patch in the arrow picture that has cracks under it that will leak water. As you pointed out, there appears to be a metal layer installed under the stone ledge, but for what purpose? We cant tell. However, it provides a break between the upper stones and maybe the bricks, and the rest of the stone portion of the structure. As such there cannot be a bond of the cement to hold the stones of the ledge to the walls below yet the brick portion seems to have been built on top of them. How structurally strong can this be? We cant tell.

    Also, when water hits the shelf level from the upper level runoff of rain and snow, it will surely flow down the face of the stone walls where, once again, it will be absorbed by the stone and mortar. The freeze/thaw cycle will reek havoc over time here too.

    The stone appears to be that sedimentary type that was very popular during the 40s and 50s used to build garden walls. Today those walls have flaked and broken apart due to the nature of the stone and its ability to absorb moisture. Not the best selection for long term structures.

    It appears the chimney has been maintained with tuck pointing as evidenced by different colored mortar and varying depths here and there. Note the moisture damage to the mortar above and to the left of the top of the cricket; that area needs pointing. Also note the yellowish area in the mortar at the upper right of the same photo. Could be lichens growing or bad mortar. If it is lichen growth, moisture is present.

    The cricket. The 2006IRC has a nice diagram and table showing cricket dimensions. It must be constructed as wide as the chimney. A 12/12 roof pitch requires a minimum height of (w)dth of the chimney wall. 8/12 1/3w; 6/12 1/4w and so on. The cricket must have at least a 1 gap from it to the chimney wall. At least they have one though.

    The lack of a chimney cap can allow critters like squirrels and raccoons to build nests in there. This can be a big problem. Also, the open flue pipe is a very large rain gauge that collects lots of water. The water may react with the creosote and deteriorate the mortar in the flue joints or cause damage to the hearth below.

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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Sturgis, Michigan
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    12

    Default Re: Saddle advice, Rain caps.

    This appears to be a beautiful house. Too bad we can't see these on a daily basis. I have a small question from my curiosity though: Where were you standing to get these photos?


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Oak Park IL
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    Default Re: Saddle advice, Rain caps.

    I have to strongly disagree with you Donal. It appears the chimney is not only poorly constructed but the stone used may not be the best either.


    Good points all, Bob, but I have to stick with my original statement.
    This chimney was VERY well constructed.
    There is very little evidence of water infiltration at this particular chimney.
    This chimney has been exposed to 83 cold Chicago winters (as low as minus 20F) and 83 hot Chicago summers (100F+) in addition to all the rain, freezing rain, hail and snow that could be thrown at it!
    The minor tuckpointing needed , which you pointed out, is probably due to neglect over the past few years - after all the house was just forclosed on.
    That being said, I did call out the defects, lack of rain caps, undersized cricket etc.

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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Oak Park IL
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    Default Re: Saddle advice, Rain caps.

    This appears to be a beautiful house. Too bad we can't see these on a daily basis. I have a small question from my curiosity though: Where were you standing to get these photos?

    Good question. While this house appears to have a regular gable roof, the ridge is actually flat. Access was through a hatch (arrow in pic) which had a permanent ladder affixed to the attic below. The flat part was covered with sheets of copper soldered together (pic), in absolutely perfect condition after 83 years; another sign of excellent construction methods.

    Its a sign of the times when a magnificant house like this was foreclosed on, and sold by the bank for a third of what it was worth 5 years ago!

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  16. #16
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
    Garry Blankenship Guest

    Default Re: Saddle advice, Rain caps.

    What a gorgeous home ! Refreshing to see some character and craftmenship with so many unimaginative wood boxes being built in this economy. Someone already mentioned the capillary effect, but the materials do have a wicking / sponge look about them, ( old mortar joints & broken plaster coating ).


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