Flashing is used around our homes to help seal windows, doors, and other joints or gaps. What many homeowners do not realize, however, is that flashing is also used on your chimney! Chimney flashing protects not only the chimney, but also your roof and the underlying building materials of your home. If flashing is not properly sealed, your entire home can be exposed to water entry – and serious water damage can occur.
What is flashing?
Flashing refers to the watertight seal that protects the joint between the chimney and the roof. While many homeowners believe flashing is a single strip, it is actually created by layering and overlapping metal strips of stainless steel, aluminum, or copper. This metal, in combination with caulk and other water barriers, is able to create a watertight seal, keeping water out of the chimney and roof.
The importance of properly sealed flashing
When flashing is installed correctly and receives regular maintenance it can protect your chimney and roofline for up to 25 years – if not longer. The joint between the roofline and the chimney is a vulnerable area for water entry; at this point in your home, water entry can cause damage to the chimney and fireplace as well as building materials such as eaves, beams, ceilings, and walls.
Properly sealed flashing is always custom-installed for each individual home. This ensures that the flashing is a perfect fit and that a watertight seal is created with no holes or gaps. Regular chimney sweeps and inspections can then be used to ensure the flashing keeps its seal year after year.
Is my flashing properly sealed?
While chimney flashing is the best way to protect the joint between your chimney and roof, it can lose its watertight seal over time. The following are some of the most common causes of flashing losing its seal.
- Animal scratching or attempted animal entry
- Overexposure to the elements
- Damage from storms or other extreme weather
- Shifting or settling of the house
- Roofing repairs or changes including shingle replacement
- Incorrect installation
- Low quality materials
Roof leak – or flashing?
When water marks appear of the ceilings or walls of their home, most homeowners are quick to assume that their roof is leaking. However, there may be another cause – faulty flashing!
Leaky chimneys caused by damaged flashing often mimic leaky roofs. Because of this, it can be difficult to determine the cause of the leak without the help of a certified chimney sweep. Have your chimney evaluated before committing to costly roofing repairs; not only can it save you money, but it can also help protect beams, eaves, ceilings, and walls from further water damage.
Chimney flashing does more than just protect your chimney; it also keeps your roof, attic, walls, and ceilings safe and protected from water entry. Because of this, your leaky roof might actually be flashing that is not properly sealed. Call New Buck Chimney Services today to schedule an appointment to have your chimney and chimney flashing inspected.