It may not be obvious right away, but you may need chimney flashing repair if you’re seeing damage to your roof. Here are the signs to look out for and keep in mind.
It’s important that your roof is as watertight as possible, to avoid issues with leaks and roof damage over time. If you have a chimney, it is a weak point against water damage. That’s why chimney flashing is used on roofs, to minimize the risk of leaks.
Here are some signs you need to look out for, as they’re indicators that the chimney flashing needs to be repaired.
What is Chimney Flashing?
First of all, what is chimney flashing and how does it work? Essentially, it’s weather stripping for your chimney. It’s placed around the base of the chimney, where it meets the roof. It’s designed to create a seal so water can’t get into that joint and start causing damage.
Flashing is made up of two different parts, step flashing, and counter flashing. The step flashing is an L-shaped piece of metal, which is placed under the shingles and along the brick of the chimney. Counter flashing is another L-shaped piece of metal that’s designed to go over the step flashing, and it’s placed into a groove that’s cut into the chimney. These are caulked together, and once they’re in place, they create a watertight seal.
Flashing is usually made out of copper, steel, aluminum, or vinyl. The material you use will depend on your roof and the local climate, so it’s best to talk to an expert roofer to see which one is best for you.
Signs Your Chimney Flashing Needs Repair
Now that you know what chimney flashing is, you need to be able to see signs of damage. Here are some signs that the flashing needs to be repaired.
1. Rust Stains in the Firebox
When using your fire, are you seeing rust stains inside it? That’s a sure fire sign that water has made its way into the chimney.
2. Water Stains on Nearby Walls
If water gets into your home through the roof, it causes all kinds of damage. With chimney flashing failures, don’t look just at the chimney for water damage. If you’re seeing water stains on the walls surrounding the chimney, that’s a sign the chimney flashing, in particular, has failed.
3. Water Leaks
Water leaks are always a sure sign that there’s damage to your roof. Are you seeing leaks coming from inside the chimney, or in surrounding areas? Then you’ll want to check the flashing as it’s most likely in need of repair.
4. Drips and Puddles
It’s not just your eyes you need to use when looking for evidence of chimney flashing failure. You’ll also need to listen for any signs of drips and leaks. You can often hear dripping inside the chimney, or see puddles forming at the bottom of the firebox.
5. Discolored Bricks
The bricks in your chimney will start to become discolored if they’re coming into contact with water. If you see this happening, you’ll need to address the problem.
6. Musty Smells
As well as your ears, use your nose to detect failed flashing. Is there a musty smell coming from the firebox? Does it get worse after it rains? If so, then there’s probably a leak in the roof.
7. Broken Caulking
This is a sign that a professional roofer is more likely to find, rather than a homeowner. However, it’s still a way you can tell that your flashing has failed. If the caulking has broke, then the watertight seal is gone and water will be able to get in.
Repairing Broken Chimney Flashing
In most cases, it’s usually best to have roofers mend your chimney flashing for you. This job can only be done by getting onto the roof, and that’s a dangerous job. They have full training, so it’s usually better to let them handle the job for you.
If you’re seeing any of these signs of damage, call your local roof repair service right away. They’ll be able to get up there and check the issue out. If they see the flashing has broken down, they can then repair it for you.
In most cases, the flashing will be repaired by replacing the caulking around it. Most roofers now use long-lasting caulks, so you won’t have to worry about it failing again for a long time. In cases where the flashing itself is damaged, they may need to replace the whole thing to protect your roof.
It’s important to call in the experts the moment you suspect your roof is leaking. The quicker they can solve the problem for you, the less you have to worry about.
Preventing Roof Leaks
The best way to stop chimney flashing from failing is to perform routine inspections and maintenance on your roof. This helps you catch any issues before they become worse, and lead to a full roof replacement. If you’re checking your roof regularly, you can avoid having to do a costly replacement.
Firstly, look for any broken or missing shingles. If they’re broken, they’ll allow water through so replace them right away. Then, check for moss or lichen that’s growing on the roof. That can be a sign that the roof is suffering damage underneath, as they need moisture to grow. You’ll also want to look for any rust or broken caulk on your flashing.
Most of this can be done from the ground, and it’s even easier if you use binoculars to get a closer look. That makes it much safer to inspect your roof.
Don’t forget to look in your attic for signs of damage too. Can you see daylight through the roof? That’s another sign that shingles are broken or missing. Also, look for signs of moisture, as they’re a sign that water is getting in.
If you’re having any issues with your chimney flashing, always call on an expert to help you out with it. They will be able to diagnose the problem and fix it for you. The quicker you get help, the better for the health of your roof.