When your chimney flashing is intact and functioning as it should, it will keep rainwater out of your house. However, it isn’t uncommon for flashing to break or experience leaks.
The longer you wait to repair leaky chimney flashing, the more damage will be done to your property. Leaks inside your home can lead to a wide range of issues, including mold or other kinds of property damage. These situations can be expensive to repair, so it’s in your best interest to intervene early and prevent serious damage from happening.
If you believe your chimney flashing is leaking, contact a roofing contractor right away. A professional roofing contractor has in-depth knowledge on all aspects of flashing, allowing them to pinpoint the source of the leak and perform the most effective, long-term repairs.
Depending on the extent of the damage, it might be possible to repair one home’s damaged flashing, while another home’s flashing may need to be replaced. To determine what must be done for your home, reach out to the roofing experts at Mr. Roof today. We offer free, no-obligation estimates to our clients.
What is chimney flashing?
You’ll find flashing located around your chimney, as well as on the adjoining roof. The main purpose of chimney flashing is to prevent rainwater from entering the homeowner’s property, leading to leaks.
From home to home, flashing can be made out of a variety of different materials. However, no matter what flashing is composed of, it’s essential that the material is waterproof. If the material isn’t waterproof, it’s far easier for rainwater and moisture to make their way through the flashing and into your home.
Most commonly, flashing is made out of flexible fibers, sheet metals, or even plastic. This material is then installed alongside a compound to seal the flashing and block any water from passing through.
Alternatively, if a chimney isn’t sealed, this can lead to serious property damage. If there’s a rainstorm outside, this could cause water to begin pouring into the resident’s home, with no barrier to keep it out. This kind of severe leak can cause wood rot. It can also attract insects or pests who are drawn to moisture, potentially leading to infestations.
Why chimney flashing could fail
Although chimney flashing is highly effective at keeping water or moisture out of someone’s home, it isn’t impervious to damage. There are times when a homeowner’s chimney flashing will fail, allowing rainwater to enter their home with ease.
For instance, there are certain kinds of flashing materials that will deteriorate over time. Continuous exposure to the elements can also cause some flashing materials to break down and become ineffective.
Once the flashing has become damaged by time or the elements, it may start to crack. Other times, the chimney flashing will begin pulling away from the chimney. This means that there will be open areas where water can pass through and into the home, seeing as the flashing is no longer correctly sealed.
No matter what flashing material you’re working with, it’s also possible for flashing to be incorrectly installed. This can cause serious leaks to occur even if the flashing is brand-new. Improperly installed flashing won’t create the tight barrier that it was intended to, and instead, it will leave small gaps for water to slip through.
In the past, it was common for tar to be used as a sealant for chimney flashing. But as we now know, this isn’t the best material to use if you’re looking to seal a chimney. As tar ages, the material will start to harden and crack. These cracks give water a convenient opening into your home.
How to know if your chimney flashing is leaking
There are many reasons why a leak can start to form in someone’s home. Sometimes this leak will be the result of damaged chimney flashing, although it could also be caused by a number of other structural issues. Before the leak can be successfully repaired, the source needs to be identified.
A water test can be performed to figure out whether or not flashing damage is responsible for the leak. You can soak small sections of your chimney, one at a time. Start this process near the chimney’s base, and then wait to see if any of the water makes its way into your house. If the water is actually getting into the house through the brick, this water test will help you figure that out.
Other times, however, this water test may help you discover that the flashing is the leak’s point of entry. This is a surprisingly common situation, although it’s one that’s often simple to repair.
How to repair leaky chimney flashing
As we mentioned, the process of repairing chimney flashing is actually quite simple, especially if you hire a roofing professional to handle the job.
If your flashing has separated from the brick, you can begin the repair process by clearing away any leaves or other kinds of debris. By the time you’ve finished cleaning, there should be no debris trapped between the chimney and flashing.
Next, if you need to remove any hardened roofing cement, you can use a chisel to accomplish this.
You’re then ready to apply fresh roofing cement behind the chimney flashing. Remember, you should be adding a generous amount of cement. If you don’t add enough, this could negatively impact the seal.
After you’ve applied the new layer of roofing cement, you can use screws or masonry nails to reattach the flashing to your chimney. Make sure that the flashing is tightly attached and secure so that no water or moisture can make its way through. You should also use roofing cement to cover any exposed screw heads or nails.
At this stage, more roofing cement can be added to the joint between the brick and flashing. This can help to create an even tighter seal.
Finally, use a putty knife or paint stirrer to smooth out the wet roofing cement.
Should I repair the chimney flashing myself?
If you’re dealing with damaged chimney flashing, it can be tempting to repair it yourself. Theoretically, this is possible – it’s just challenging if you don’t have any prior roofing or masonry experience.
To handle a flashing repair job, you’ll need to be thirty to forty feet off the ground. When you’re up there, you’ll also need to use masonry skills that usually come with experience.
Should you decide to repair flashing on your own, it’s important that you take the correct safety precautions. You’ll be using an extension ladder to get on top of your roof. However, you should also have someone there to help you out and hold the bottom of the ladder steady.
After you’ve made it to the roof’s surface, you’ll need to move around carefully. Every step should be secure and steady. You will need to be especially cautious when you’re moving at an angle.
You’ll also need to be careful not to injure yourself if you’re removing the old flashing. If you’re dealing with old pieces of sheet metal, the edges of this material can be extremely sharp. So, you should handle sheet metal or similar materials with care to avoid getting cut or injured.
To stay as safe as possible while repairing leaky flashing, you should be using the necessary tools. This includes heavy-duty gloves, protective eyewear, and gripping boots. More often than not, it’s also a good idea to install a roof jack.
Not all flashing is created equal
The quality of chimney flashing is partly dependent on the material you use. Whether or not the flashing was correctly installed is also important.
As an example, if you have a brick-and-mortar chimney, you’ll need to be particular about the flashing materials you use. Certain types of metal will be corroded by wet mortar.
If you’re not experienced in flashing installation, it can be easy to make errors. The installation expert will consider variables such as existing structures, compatible materials, and the slope of your roof. The best materials and installation techniques for every job can vary, depending on the specifics of a homeowner’s roof or chimney.
When you combine flexible sealants, waterproof materials, and qualified craftsmen, you can create an exceptional and long-lasting moisture barrier for your chimney.
Chimney flashing repair services by Mr. Roof
The team of expert roofers at Mr. Roof is experienced in flashing repairs and installation, ensuring that you get the best possible seal. If your current flashing is leaking, this can lead to a number of structural problems and property damage. And until the chimney flashing is correctly repaired, water will continue to find its way into your home.
Mr. Roof can repair or replace leaky chimney flashing with ease and efficiency, helping you minimize the amount of water damage your home sustains. We use the highest-quality materials to make sure that your flashing stays intact for years to come.
Are you interested in scheduling a free estimate with Mr. Roof? To get started, just fill out the form on our website.