The flashing on your roof protects against water leaks into your home. Often, the caulking surrounding chimneys and vent pipes needs to be replaced.
Chimneys and their flashing should also be regularly inspected. Water leaks may stem from missing shingles near the chimney, or deteriorating counterflashing at the base of the chimney. If you notice a problem, call Palm Coast Roofing Company right away.
A series of layered metal segments that protect the intersection of chimney and roof, flashing is essential for protecting your home from water leaks. The flashing, in combination with caulking and other water barriers, can create a seal that keeps rainwater and melting snow from entering your chimney and into your home. Flashing is typically made of stainless steel or aluminum, but can also be made of copper and other materials. Flashing is custom-installed for each chimney and roof, creating a secure and watertight seal that requires little maintenance.
Chimney flashing is generally found on the corners of the chimney where it meets the roofline, at the eaves and valleys of the roof, at the intersection of different roof slopes, and at the base of protrusions such as dormers, vents, and window openings. Flashing can be concealed or exposed, with exposed flashing often consisting of a sheet of metal that’s either bent or tucked under the shingles and mortared in place.
Because flashing is designed to flex with changing weather conditions, it’s often installed in two pieces, with the base (or apron) flashing set underneath a course of shingles and the counter flashing placed opposite it. The apron flashing is then covered with the next course of shingles, forming a protective barrier that’s capable of directing rainwater away from your home and chimney.
While the apron flashing is an important part of your chimney’s waterproofing system, it can become damaged or corroded, allowing rainwater to seep into your chimney. If your flashing is damaged, it must be repaired immediately by a professional roofing company.
Chimney flashing should be regularly inspected for damage and signs of deterioration. A faulty flashing can allow rain to enter your chimney, and also your home, damaging drywall, ceilings, timbers, and other building materials. The location of your chimney at the very top of your home makes it particularly vulnerable to leaking, and damaged flashing can lead to severe water damage that may not be immediately apparent. Many homeowners only notice that there’s a problem with their chimneys once extensive water damage has already occurred.
The dictionary defines caulking as: “To fill or seal a crack or crevice with a material.” The word is most commonly used to describe the process of a professional chimney mason sealing the joints and seams of brick on a masonry chimney. However, caulking can also refer to a product used for the same purpose. Roofing and chimney maintenance includes the replacement of worn or deteriorated caulking. This is one of the most common causes of roof leaks, and it can be easily prevented with regular preventative maintenance.
Chimney caulking is not as sturdy as the mortar used in brick construction and can be affected by the freeze-thaw cycles that occur every year. When it does wear down, a chimney technician can tuck-point the area to restore its integrity. If the chimney is properly built and maintained, the chimney will be able to withstand the elements, such as rain, wind, and snow.
A chimney stack encases the flue that carries smoke and dangerous gasses out of the house. When the stack is damaged, it can affect the performance of the chimney and even pose safety hazards to pedestrians who walk near the structure. The most common issues that affect the stack are water damage, weather elements, and lack of maintenance.
The area around the base of the chimney that connects to the roof is often sealed with caulking. The sun’s rays and fluctuating temperatures can cause the caulking to become cracked, and moisture can seep behind the chimney and into the home. During a routine inspection, the chimney professional will ensure that there are no areas of cracking or missing caulking and repair them as needed.
When a chimney contractor is performing a tuckpointing job, they must be careful to select a caulking that will blend in with the existing mortar and maintain its durability. Paintable caulking is a great option because it can be used to repair crumbly mortar and still look good after tuckpointing. The product comes in a variety of colors and is easy to apply for a seamless repair.
Chimney caps protect the inside of a chimney from rain, moisture, and debris while also preventing downdrafts and stray sparks. They are available in a variety of styles and materials to fit any type of chimney. Those on a budget might choose galvanized steel, aluminum, or copper, while those who want to invest in their chimney’s longevity might opt for stainless steel or a cast iron model.
A chimney cap prevents birds, squirrels, and other wild animals from nesting inside a flue and causing other problems. It also keeps rain and other debris from entering the chimney, reducing moisture damage to liners and dampers. It’s not unusual for stray embers to drift up out of a chimney and onto the roof or nearby trees, which can cause a fire. A specialized spark arrestor can be added to chimney caps to catch those embers and prevent them from igniting the roof or surrounding vegetation.
Regardless of the material, a chimney cap should be securely mounted to the chimney crown with either masonry screws or adhesive. If the chimney has multiple flues, the best choice is a top-mount chimney cap designed to cover all of them without overhanging the ends of the crown. For those with single-flue chimneys that extend past the crown, a slip-in model will work well.
If you live in an area prone to heavy winds, you might opt for a storm or hurricane chimney cap. These are made of a solid layer of material, and they have no mesh so that large debris isn’t trapped in them during high winds.
A chimney cap is an inexpensive, smart investment that will prevent a lot of expensive damage and keep your home safer. It can also reduce your energy costs by allowing you to use your fireplace more efficiently. And while it’s not something homeowners think about often, a chimney cap is an essential part of any home. It’s important to schedule annual chimney inspections, so you can address any problems before they become more severe. You should also check your local laws to see if a permit is required when replacing or installing a chimney cap.
The crown is the cement slab that sits atop your chimney stack, and it’s one of the most important parts of any fireplace system. It prevents precipitation from entering the inside of your chimney structure and wearing down the bricks, mortar joints, and flue liner. If your chimney crown becomes damaged, water can seep into the chimney and cause damage to other components like the flashing and interior walls.
A well-constructed chimney crown should slope slightly inward from the center of the chimney and overhang several inches on all sides, allowing water to fall off of the roof and down the side of your chimney, rather than running directly down the stack. If the crown is properly constructed, it will also prevent rain, sleet, and snow from pooling on top of your chimney stack.
When the crown is damaged, several signs can indicate that it’s time for an inspection and repair. The first sign is deterioration of the mortar joints, which will eventually lead to cracks and crumbling, and it’s important to schedule an inspection when this happens so that the chimney can be repaired promptly.
Chimney crowns can be repaired with a variety of methods, depending on the type and extent of the damage. If the crown is only suffering from minor cracks, then a waterproof sealant may be enough to keep moisture out of your chimney. If the crown is sagging or showing signs of significant cracking and disintegration, then bond patching or even a complete rebuild may be needed.
Water leaks from a damaged chimney crown can ruin the integrity of your entire chimney structure, including the lining and bricks. This can compromise the performance and safety of your chimney and can lead to other issues, such as brown spots in the ceiling and walls and a musty smell.
Fortunately, a damaged chimney crown is easily repaired in its early stages. When the damage is caught quickly, it can be sealed with a brush-on product or another chimney crown sealant, which will create a flexible waterproof barrier. Keeping up with repairs to your chimney system is the best way to prolong its life and prevent costly and time-consuming damages.