Flashing is used throughout our homes to seal around doors, windows, and pipes. Flashing is also an important component of your chimney; reliable flashing protects both the roof and the chimney system from moisture and the elements. Over time, flashing may be damaged and need to be repaired.
What is flashing?
Chimney flashing is created by layering strips of metal with other waterproof barriers and caulk. Flashing is primarily used to seal the joint where the chimney and the roof-line meet; this creates a waterproof seal that protects the chimney’s masonry as well as your home’s roof from water damage.
How damage to flashing occurs.
There are a number of ways that flashing can be damaged.
Whether it is improper installation or simple wear and tear, the following are some of the most common causes of flashing damage:
- Animal entry.
Both chimneys and attics are tempting places to hide for animals during both the summer and winter months. Because of this, flashing can become damaged as aggressive animals – especially raccoons – attempt to scratch, bite, or claw the flashing away to get into your home.
Homes can continue to settle for years after they are built. As the chimney settles along with the house, the shifts can cause the flashing to shift or twist and lose its watertight seal.
- Roof repairs.
Changes to the roof can cause the watertight seal to be broken. Whether an entirely new roof has been installed or a few shingles or tiles have been replaced, the flashing may need to be replaced as well.
- Incorrect installation.
Flashing can be damaged as soon as it is installed if it is installed improperly. Using too few layers, the wrong types of materials, or adding too many nail holes can all prevent a proper watertight seal from forming.
Overexposure to the elements over time can cause flashing to lose its seal. Likewise, one or two sides of the flashing can be damaged if that side of the chimney is harder hit by sun, wind, or rain.
- Extreme weather.
Severe weather such as high winds, lightning, or flying debris can all damage flashing.
Is the chimney leaking – or is it the roof?
The symptoms of leaky flashing often closely mimic those of a leaky roof. Due of this, it can be difficult to differentiate between the two. Instead of calling a roofer, it may be worth calling a chimney sweep if you have water on the ceiling or walls surrounding the chimney.
Flashing is an important part of protecting your chimney’s masonry against water entry and damage. However, it also protects your roof, ceilings, and walls; because of this, it is important to ensure flashing is undamaged and free from gaps, holes, or leaks. If you think your flashing has been damaged by age, overexposure, or changes to the roof-line, consider calling a chimney sweep! For more information about the importance of flashing, contact Coopertown Services today.