Fireplaces in Chicago may have chimney stacks that go straight up through the roof or run along the side of the house. In the area where the bricks of the chimney stack connect with the roof and go up, there is a material called flashing. Find out why flashing is important and why it should be properly maintained.

What is Chimney Flashing?

Flashing is a waterproof material designed to create a moisture seal right at the point where the masonry meets the outside roofing system. It’s designed to prevent gaps where rain, snow, ice, and hail can enter to rot out the wood joists and cause leaks. Several materials can be used.

  • Aluminum: Corrosion-resistant, lightweight, and inexpensive. It can be installed on all types of roofs.
  • Vinyl/PVC: Not typically installed on Chicago homes as it can crack in severe weather.
  • Steel: Corrosion-resistant and strong. However, it may rust over the long term when the protective coating has become worn or scratched off.
  • Copper: While more expensive, it offers excellent corrosion resistance and durability. It is also lightweight and can add a touch of curb appeal to the exterior of your home.

3 Types Of Flashing

  • Base (step): goes under the shingles and bends towards the chimney stack.
  • Counter: Installed on the mortar joints and bends down to create a seal over the top of the base flashing.
  • Saddle: If your chimney is wider than 30″, this type is installed to create a peak that helps snow, water, and ice to run off the roof instead of building up.

Why Proper Installation and Maintenance Is Important

Chimney flashing should be installed by professionals and inspected by chimney sweeps every year. Proper installation can avoid serious problems with both the roof and chimney. Sweeps can also identify flashing problems that might be caused by a variety of factors, such as age, severe weather, or pest infestations, through regular inspections of the flue.

  • Interior roof leaks: Improperly installed or corroded chimney flashing allows moisture to get underneath the step flashing and rot out the shingles and underlayment. Leaks form from this deterioration.
  • Brittle bricks: As the temperature outside changes, the mortar expands and contracts. Due to water penetration, cracks may form and bristles may become brittle.
  • Chimney problems: Once bricks become brittle, a chimney’s integrity and stability are compromised. It may not vent properly as moisture could get into the flue or pests can nest inside.

Identify Issues With A Chimney Inspection In Chicagoland

Capital Chimney Corp in Chicago provides professional installation, routine inspections, and cleaning to can ensure that the flashing is maintained for a long time. Contact us to identify issues early for easy fixes.

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