Is Your Roof or Chimney Leaking?

Is your Chimney Flashing in Need of Any Repair?

The answers are in the below piece!

Often, roofs are repaired long after they begin to leak, a delay which is often costlier. Leaks in roofs can be caused by many factors, from weather factors to broken shakes or shingles, to human error. Although chimneys hardly run into issues and when they leak, they either leak from the cover or crown. Bricks used in building the chimney aren't properly waterproofed in some cases which cause leaks. Chimney leaks appear at the point where the flashing aligns with the chimney. As a matter of fact, most leaks in chimneys are caused owing to damaged or improper flashing. Fitting the flashing properly is essential to preventing leaks in that area where the roof and the chimney meets. The beautiful look of a new roof or chimney can be ruined very quickly if the flashing isn't correctly installed.

What is Exactly Flashing?

The metal material (mostly aluminum) which covers the section where the chimney connects or exits the roof is known as flashing. Flashing is required to be sufficient in width in other to properly the area connecting or exiting the roof. Flashing is also applied in the construction of valleys at points where two or more roofs join or other types of roof penetration. Flashing is basically used in stopping water from entering joints in roofing.

Chimney Flashing

What is Exactly Flashing?

As earlier mentioned, most chimneys leak due to improper installation of the flashing. Below are some of the common reasons for improper flashing installation:

  • Lack of experience from installers who often rely on black tar and other outdated underlay’s as there primary waterproof aid. Installers must apply correct and modern materials for ideal situations in other to create a solid water-shedding system to protect the roof installation for years to come.
  • It is important for installers to know the ideal installation process for the type of external wall materials and roofing materials used for the project. Inexperience and lack of the right skill-set will eventual make the seal fail in the near future. Ask your installers questions when necessary if you notice anything you are uncomfortable with.
  • In most building codes, the flashing isn't always addressed which gives room for contractors not to focus on using the best option available. It is important that the building contractor has the knowledge or employs professionals to install flashing correctly.

No matter how well installed, all flashing will eventually fail, but it will do so sooner if installed using out of date materials like tar. It's not a bad idea to ask your installer for basic information about the materials being used and requests nothing but the best.

How to Spot Leaks

Regular inspection remains the number one way to maintain your chimney and roof as it allows early detection of faults which saves costs. Most people don't notice any leaks or else they see a darkened or damp spot on the wall inside the house, and at this point, the chimney or roof must have been damaged for a while.

Therefore, it is advised to have flashing and seals fitted around your roof edge or chimney outside and inside, with inspection regularly, especially before winter sets in. It will be tough and inconvenient detecting any leak in the thick of winter when you should rather be sitting beside a warm fire in your convenience. For those who aren't experienced with inspecting leaks or faults in roofs or chimney, it is advised to employ the service of an expert, in any event, below are a few things to look out for in your chimney or roof:

  • By best practice, the flashing is expected to extend to a minimum of 4 inches away from the point in which the chimney joins the roof. Anything short of that will eventually lead to future leaks.
  • The back pan, which is the area at the back end of a chimney is very delicate and more susceptible to leakage. The back pan can be vulnerable owing to the flashing installed improperly around it snow, water and leaves accumulate around it and causes it to leak. Flashing installed correctly provides a path for the snow and water to clean the area easily.

Flashing MUST be fitted using the ideal technique for every type of exterior finishing. Even though it may cost more, it guarantees a reliable waterproof system which saves money in the long run. The five most popular types of exterior finish for chimney are vinyl siding, brick, cinder block, wood board and stucco. Each exterior finishing has their unique processes in getting attached to flashing.

Ventilation is critical in vinyl siding, counter flashing should be mortar on the outer part of the brick, wooden board crack and split under harsh weather or over time, stucco must be installed again every time flashing is repaired or installed, and a particular flashing known as gum lip can only be used with cinder block.

Some Other Causes of Chimney or Roof Leaks

Having an uncapped chimney mean rain will fall directly into the chimney which will weaken the mortar used in brick chimneys, causing it to rust among other problems. Installing a cap will ensure water; leaves, snow or animals are kept out of the chimney. Chimney crown may also leak when the cement or plaster is cracked which makes it important to inspect it regularly.

Any crack left unattended to will get worse in no time. Chimneys can also leak or get damaged from inside out owing to condensation which causes damage to paints, drywall, and wallpaper. It can also damage from inside out when a gas furnace is fitted in the chimney without lining the chimney properly. Exposure to harsh weather can also make bricks and mortar fail, with repeated thawing and freezing leading to cracking and shrinkage, letting water leak through the chimney.


Almost any leak is fixable – especially when detected in time. Early detection saves money and time is an ideal investment for the future of any property.

Safety First!

Do not attempt to walk on wet roofs. Wait till the roof is dry before inspecting your roof or letting anyone do so.

Safety First

Ensure your roof inspector obeys safety precautions like wearing rubber soled safety shoe and using safety belts or ropes.

Pay rapt attention to the network and location of power lines and telephone cables around.

Good Luck!

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