Is Your Chimney Flashing in Good Shape?
Chimney flashing is a component within a chimney system you don’t hear too much about – until it becomes damaged and causes complicated and expensive problems. National Chimney Cleaners of Fairfield County, CT, and Morris County, NJ, would like to share some helpful information about chimney flashing issues.
What is chimney flashing?
Flashing is the material that skirts the base of the exterior chimney and seals the gap between it and the roof. Common materials used for flashing include:
- Vinyl / PVC
How does flashing get damaged?
Aluminum, copper and steel flashing are all great choices, particularly in cold-weather regions. Vinyl or PVC flashing can crack when the weather dips below freezing, as it often does in New Jersey and Connecticut.
Any type of flashing can bend over time or become unseated. When this happens, water has a free path into concealed areas of the home.
Flashing is installed in two parts:
- An L-shaped piece, called “base flashing” or “step flashing,” that’s placed under the roofing shingles and up against the sides of the chimney
- “Counter flashing,” which is a flat piece that’s secured through your chimney’s masonry and covers the top seal of the base flashing
When installed correctly with quality materials, chimney flashing will perform well for many years.
Possible results of damaged flashing
When anything happens to the flashing that causes its seal to break, serious problems are likely on the way.
- Water from rain and melting snow that passes the flashing can cause major damage to your attic and roof.
- Another concern is damage to parts of the chimney masonry below the roof. Water is corrosive and can cause bricks to decay and mortar joints that hold the bricks in place to crumble.
- A third problem is mold, which thrives in damp, unventilated spaces.
All these issues are progressive and can end up being catastrophic if they advance without the homeowner knowing what’s happening.
Monitor your chimney flashing
You should periodically take a look at your chimney flashing, as long as you feel safe doing so. Touch it, feel it, attempt to move it. Look for loose sections and gaps. Along with your inspections, it’s a smart idea to schedule an annual chimney inspection from a reputable chimney services company. Your inspector knows a lot more about chimneys and their components than you do and can quickly spot early signs of wear and damage throughout the visible chimney system.
Flashing can be replaced when it can no longer safeguard your home and chimney. Chimney companies have the materials, training and experience to do this job correctly.
It’s not a complicated project, but it’s one that can save you thousands of dollars down the line.
Service for your chimney
National Chimney Cleaners is ready to help with flashing problems or other repair issues needed for your chimney. Along with repair and rebuilding work, we provide licensed chimney inspections and thorough chimney cleaning (chimney sweeping). If you live in Fairfield County, Connecticut, or Morris County, New Jersey, speak with a chimney expert today at (800) 631-6177. You can also get in touch with our handy contact form.