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Should I Buy a House With Damaged Chimney Flaunching?

(Last Updated: 25/06/2024)
7 min read
Key Takeaways
  • If chimney flaunching is damaged, it could lead to various chimney issues such as leaks, damp problems, and even structural damage in some cases. It’s important to get this addressed as soon as possible.
  • Top Tip: If you’re buying a property with flaunching damage, check with your insurers and lenders on their policies as they might have concerns over a home with existing structural damage.
  • A chimney flaunching that has been neglected might indicate other issues with the home that might need addressing. Before buying, make sure you do your due diligence.
  • Repair or replacement costs can set you back anywhere between £80 to £530, depending on the extent of the work required.

Damaged chimney flaunching

It’s not a term you hear every day, and it might leave you scratching your head. Is it a big deal, or just a minor issue? In this article, we’ll explain what flaunching is, why it’s important, and whether it should stop you from buying your next home.

What is chimney flaunching?

So, you’ve spotted your dream home, but there’s a slight hitch - someone mentioned it has “damaged chimney flaunching.” But what on earth is it?

Flaunching, also referred to as chimney haunching, is the layer of mortar applied at the top of a chimney stack to hold the chimney pots in place and ensure water runs off efficiently. It’s a crucial part of your chimney’s structure, protecting it from the elements and preventing water from seeping into the brickwork, which can cause all sorts of problems down the line. If this layer is damaged, it can lead to leaks, damp issues, and even structural damage to the chimney's brickwork.

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A chimney flaunching with chimney stack and chimney pot on a typical UK property. SAM Conveyancing can help with your chimney pot mortar cracks due to rain damage. No interior disruption required but scaffolding outside might be.

Chimney stack benching

You might also hear the term "benching" in relation to chimneys. Chimney benching, or benching mortar, is like flaunching but refers specifically to the mortar seating at the base of the chimney stack. It’s essential for securing the chimney pots and ensuring water doesn’t pool around them, which can cause damage.

In short, both flaunching and benching are about keeping your chimney in tip-top shape and preventing water damage. So, if they’re compromised, it’s something you’ll need to address.

Potential risks of ignoring damaged flaunching

Ignoring your rain-damaged flaunching isn’t a good idea as it can lead to potential leaks, causing damp and mould inside your home.

Over time, this moisture can weaken the cement structure of the chimney stack, which is often the weakest point, and even the surrounding walls, leading to more costly repairs.

Additionally, compromised flaunching can become a safety hazard if the chimney stack or chimney pots have become unstable. It’s crucial to address these issues sooner rather than later to prevent further damage and potential health risks.

Should I buy a house with damaged chimney flaunching?

Now, onto the million-pound question: should you go ahead with buying a house if it has damaged flaunching? The answer isn’t a straightforward yes or no; it depends on a few factors, including the extent of the damage and the replacement needs for the chimney.

The extent of the damage

First thing first, you need to understand the extent of the damage and whether the chimney is showing signs of neglect. A bit of minor cracking might not be a deal-breaker and could be an easy fix.

However, if the flaunching is cracked, severely damaged or completely missing, it might indicate that it has been neglected for some time. This could mean there’s more extensive damage to the chimney stack, chimney pots, or even the roof.

Cost of repairs

Next, consider the cost of roof repairs. Flaunching can usually be repaired or replaced by a qualified roofer or chimney repair specialist. It’s not the most expensive job, but it’s still an additional cost to factor into your maintenance budget.

Make sure you get a few quotes to understand what you’re looking at price-wise. On average, you might be looking at a few hundred pounds for a straightforward repair, but it can go up if there’s more extensive damage.

Impact on insurance and mortgages

Another thing to think about is how this damage might affect your insurance and mortgage applications. Some insurers and lenders might have concerns about insuring or lending on a property with existing damage, so it’s worth checking with them before you proceed. You might need to provide evidence that the damage has been repaired to a satisfactory standard.

A RICS approved surveyor in a hardhat. SAM Conveyancing can assist with your chimney flue, chimney breast, or mortar roof maintenance through surveys or a structural engineer.

Negotiating power

If you’re still keen on the property, use the damage to your advantage in negotiations. You could potentially get the seller to knock a bit off the asking price to cover the cost of repairs, or even get them to fix it before you complete the purchase. A good surveyor will be able to provide you with a detailed report that you can use in your negotiations.

Long-term considerations

Finally, think about the long-term. Even if you’re okay with the chimney repair costs now, consider the ongoing maintenance of the property. A chimney that’s been neglected might indicate other areas of the house that need attention. Make sure you’re prepared for potential future repairs and upkeep.

Should you buy a house with damaged chimney flaunching? It’s not necessarily a deal-breaker, but it’s something you need to go into with your eyes wide open. Get a clear picture of the damage, understand the costs involved, and use it to your advantage in negotiations.

Most importantly, make sure you’re ready for the responsibility of maintaining not just the chimney, but the whole property. Remember, buying a house is a big investment, and you want to make sure you’re making the right decision for you and your future. If in doubt, consult with a professional surveyor or roofer to get expert advice.

A row of houses in the UK countryside with a chimney stack and chimney pots. SAM Conveyancing can help you with replacing your mortar cement mix with roof scaffolding required on the job.

Finding the right professional for chimney flaunching repair

If you decide to proceed with the purchase, finding the right professional for chimney repair is key. Look for a qualified roofer or chimney repair specialist who can ensure the flaunching acts as a tough waterproof barrier, protecting your home from water damage. Choose someone with good reviews and experience in doing roof and chimney repairs.

Ask for quotes from several contractors to get a sense of the cost and ensure the work will be done to a high standard. Don’t be afraid to ask for references or examples of previous work. A well-done repair will give you peace of mind and protect your investment in the long run.

Our fees for a Level 3 RICS survey start at £500 EXC VAT, with availability this week*.

RICS Surveyors | Fixed Fees | Same week availability | Access arranged

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Jack Meadowcroft, Content Writer for SAM Conveyancing
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