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Importance of Chimney Flashing

chimney flashingSigns of water damage—like peeling paint or discoloration on the ceiling—are the biggest reason homeowners call on a handy man. In most cases, a leaking chimney is the source of the problem. A chimney leak can cause thousands of dollars in water damage from ruined drywall to compromised structural beams. Usually, missing or damaged chimney flashing is the culprit. An annual chimney inspection can help you catch failing flashing early and avoid expensive repairs.

What is chimney flashing?

Flashing is a critical part of your chimney that is easy to overlook but essential to prevent water damage from rain, sleet and snow. If you look closely at your chimney, you should see a border around the bottom, right where the chimney meets the roof. That border is your flashing. The purpose of chimney flashing is to provide a watertight border that bridges the gap between your chimney and roof. It is usually made of aluminum, galvanized steel or copper.

Why has my chimney flashing failed?

Chimney flashing that has been installed correctly with both step flashing and counterflashing can last for 25 to 40 years. If it has been installed incorrectly, it can have a much shorter life and may fail the first time it is hit by severe weather. Even expertly installed flashing can by damaged by high winds or a hurricane. The shifting and settling of your house can also break the watertight seal between the flashing and your roof over time.

How can I tell if my chimney flashing needs to be repaired or replaced?

Water spots on the ceiling above your fireplace or damp bricks or stones on your fireplace are strong indicators that your flashing may need to be repaired or replaced. A visual inspection of your chimney is the best way to determine the health of your flashing. Often, chimney leaks are hidden until the damage becomes severe.

damaged flashingYou can inspect the flashing yourself by climbing up onto your roof to get a good look at your chimney. If the flashing has rust spots, missing sections or if the metal is curling up or warped, it should be assessed by a professional. You can also call on a CSIA-certified chimney sweep to inspect your chimney. An experienced chimney sweep will assess the health of your entire chimney, including the flashing, during an inspection. They will be able to diagnose the severity of the problem if your flashing is failing and either recommend repairs or replacement.

Rain water, melted snow and sleet can cause widespread damage it finds its way into your home through loose, missing or damaged flashing. Water damage that spreads from your roof and attic down to the interior of your home can result in thousands of dollars in repairs. You can prevent unexpected, expensive water damage by scheduling a chimney inspection and cleaning once a year with a certified chimney sweep who can catch the signs of failing flashing early.

If you need a chimney inspection or flashing repair, call us today! Our team of CSIA certified chimney sweeps have been expertly installing flashing and repairing chimneys in the Hudson Valley since 1976. We would be happy to help you.

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