Flashing is one of the most overlooked components of the chimney system. It’s available at your local improvement store, and is fairly easy to place in all the right spots on the chimney or roof. Because it seems so easy, many homeowners repair their own flashing. Consequently, this is one of the major causes of chimney leaks that professionals see year-round.
What is Flashing?
Flashing is made up of many layers of thin metal sheets placed strategically at the base of the chimney. These metal sheets protect the intersection of the roof and chimney. Flashing protects the most vulnerable part of the chimney system for water penetration. However, if placed incorrectly, will result in a chimney leak!
Chimney Leaks and Why to Avoid Them
When you hire an amateur or attempt the work yourself, you have a very real risk of a chimney leak. Having a leaky chimney doesn’t just cause chimney damage that makes your chimney less efficient and even dangerous. Chimney leaks also damage the rest of your home, causing leaks in ceilings that aren’t even near your chimney. These leaks ruin walls and floors, warp building materials, and weaken structures. Not to mention, the mold that compromises the respiratory health of your family!
Common Flashing Problems
- Incorrect Installation.
Only an experienced professional will know the proper technique for a proper flashing installation. The layering technique and materials used will depend on the type of roofing materials as well as the slant of the roof. The technician should use minimal nails and they shouldn’t be exposed.
- Incorrect Materials.
There are many options available for flashing, available to homeowners and professionals alike. Like any other building materials, the cheaper option is tempting, but the result is not the same. When a professional installs flashing, he should avoid low-quality metals that will be weakened and compromised by ordinary weather.
- Water Damage.
Even properly-installed flashing can become damaged due to years of weather. Although metal offers a strong barrier, it is affected by water over time. This is why it is vital to find the best chimney sweep company you can. A low-quality metal will be weakened by water and weather. Exposed nail holes are also points that will lead to a leak and weakness in your flashing.
- Animal Damage.
Perhaps the problem that is most out of your control, the flashing can be damaged due to animal tampering. Animals can cause scratches, dents, as well as shift the sheets of flashing, compromising the barrier. The flashing should be checked at your annual chimney inspection for this type of damage.
The flashing may not always need to be replaced. At Northwest Fireplace & Chimney we utilize a ChimneySaver product designed specifically for flashing. FlashSeal is an elastomeric product that provides a waterproof membrane and flexible seal. This product protects against leaks even if the flashing was repaired incorrectly with nails, tar, or other roof sealants. It even comes in white, black, and brown to match the roof and maintain the beauty of your property, as well as the safety and efficiency of your chimney.
If you have noticed signs of a chimney leak, you need to call a professional! Northwest Fireplace & Chimney makes chimney safety a priority year round. We’re available to diagnose and treat your chimney problem.
Call today at (219)413-2349.