The point of a chimney is to ensure that smoke and toxic byproduct gases, like carbon monoxide, have a direct route out of the home – and that you stay warm, cozy, and above all, safe throughout the long, cold winter months. But what keeps the elements from getting in? What is placed around chimneys to prevent leaks? 

Preventing Chimney Leaks 

Your chimney travels from your heat source and extends out of your roof. That’s its job. It needs to vent dangerous smoke and gas away from your home. But this leaves your roof vulnerable: a big hole is typically not great news when it comes to the barrier protecting you from the great outdoors!  

How do we prevent chimney leaks? 

Roof Flashing 

Roof flashing is key in preventing leaks – and costly damage to your home. This thin metal material is installed around the chimney, and it directs water away from the roof. You’ll also see flashing in other areas that are vulnerable to leaks, such as valleys, the sides of walls, and dormers. 

A licensed, certified chimney professional may use the “step flashing” method. Here, they place an L-shaped piece of flashing under every shingle that butts up against the chimney. One side is under the shingle, while the other attaches to the side of the chimney. They may also opt for “counter flashing.” This is a continuous strip of aluminum, copper, tin, galvanized steel, or plastic that covers the step flashing. 

Roof Crickets 

Crickets… Really! Not only are they essential in diverting water away from your roof, they are required under International Building Code (IBC) as of 2012. Roof crickets are double triangular structures situated behind a chimney, perpendicular to the slope of the roof. 

Why do you need them?  Imagine that it’s raining: water is coming down your roof. It hits the flat wall of your chimney, where it pools. This will eventually lead to a leak. With these structures installed, though, the water hits the cricket instead and has a clear path down to your gutters.  

Be aware that if you have a roof that was installed prior to 2012, you may not have a cricket. When it’s time to replace your roof, you’ll need one to comply with code – and to help protect your investment!  

Chase Covers 

Another way that we can prevent chimney leaks is with a chase cover. Simply put, the chase is part of the chimney that extends from the roof. It helps keep burning embers away from the roof and controls what comes out of the chimney. The chase cover is a metal covering or cap that controls what goes into the chimney. In other words, it keeps water and moisture, not to mention debris and critters, from entering the chimney.  

Remember, a chimney is essentially a big hole in your roof! It is crucial that components of the system – flashing, cricket, and chase cover – work together in order to prevent leaks that can result in significant damage. If you are experiencing issues – or want to avoid them! – do not hesitate to contact Brick + Ember. We’re here to help.