Importance of Chimney Flashing
Many homeowners underestimate the importance of chimney flashing. The chimney is a masonry structure built from the home’s foundation that extends above the roof line. Since moisture is the number cause of premature chimney deterioration, its performance and structural integrity require it to remain water-tight.
What is Chimney Flashing?
The chimney flashing is a thin metal sheet that securely fastens around the seams of the chimney with the roof line. The flashing material is usually galvanized steel, aluminum or copper. Depending on the type of roof, it may overlap underneath the shingles. Its main purpose is to prevent water leaking through the roof and inside the interior walls of the chimney.
Noticing water stains on the ceiling above the fireplace is one of the telltale signs that the chimney flashing may be compromised. Mistakenly believing this to be a roof leak, many homeowners are tempted to call a roofer. But in reality, there may simply be a gap in the flashing that can be easily repaired by a chimney professional.
Years of rain, sleet, snow, hail and even summer heat can eventually cause some damage to the chimney flashing. When the metal flashing material becomes damaged or warped, moisture will penetrate through any gaps no matter how tiny they may be. Water stains on the ceiling or along the walls of the fireplace are not the only problem. Left untreated moisture can damage the underlayment requiring a partial roof replacement. And as the moisture continues to penetrate it can weaken the bricks and mortar. Bricks are made from clay, a porous material that soaks up water like a sponge. The water can cause the bricks to decay and dissolve the mortar further weakening the structure of the chimney.
An annual chimney inspection can help homeowners avoid most chimney problems. Our certified chimney professionals inspect the flashing as part of our level 1 chimney inspection. Even if you recently had a chimney inspection, it is recommended to contact a certified chimney professional whenever you notice moisture in or around the chimney, flue or fireplace. Chimney technicians are specially trained to locate the source of water leaks and make recommendations for repair.
The type of flashing repair will depend on the extent of the damage and your roof type. Most flashing repairs either require re-caulking or replacing the metal material and are quick and easy. But in extreme cases repair may require a complete flashing replacement and resealing of the mortar joints. If this type of problem has been going on unimpeded for years, there may also need to be additional repairs to missing or cracked bricks and mortar inside the chimney.
Contact the certified professionals at Chimney Saver Solutions for all your chimney inspections, repairs and restorations throughout the Greater Richmond, Virginia area.