Chimneys Need Special Attention

I see things like the chimney pictured on homes a lot more often than people might think. As you probably guessed, there is no flashing of any kind between the shingles and chimney.  The installer did make an attempt at caulking the gap if you look closely however I wouldn’t expect that to last longer than the first heavy rain this roof faced.  I’d like to share with you some thoughts on a few issues in hopes they might be helpful to you.

What’s wrong with this picture?

The first is obvious concern for the home and home owner.  If this chimney has been leaking for a few years that is more than enough time for mold and structural damage to potentially be an issue.  I’m not going to go into all of the hazards of black mold but if you haven’t heard of it before, feel free to google it and you’ll find plenty of reading material.  It doesn’t take long for wood to deteriorate in a hot, wet and dark environment so structural integrity is sure to be compromised over time also.  One issue many homeowners learn the hard way is that many insurance policies require a water leak be reported within 7 days of first noticing damage.  Since mold and heavy

water stains rarely happen in 7 days or less the evidence usually exists

for an insurance adjuster to deny any claim made after 7 days leaving

the homeowner paying 100% of the repair cost.

Secondly, there are a few more concerning issues.  In the pictured

case the roof was put on by the previous homeowner before they sold

the home to the current homeowner.  Of course the seller adjusted their

price and advertised the roof as being new but we know two things

either didn’t happen or were not done properly.  The first is that a permit

was probably not pulled in the city the house is located in.  When you

pull the proper permits a building inspector appointed by the city will do

a final inspection at which time they would have noticed this chimney has no chimney flashing and will certainly leak water.  Also in some cities a saddle or cricket (image below) might be required above the chimney.  The purpose of that saddle is to keep snow and ice from wedging itself between the chimney and shingles pushing the two apart and creating gaps for water to eventually enter.  Pictured below is just one example of a saddle before flashing, ice and water shield and shingles are applied over it.   A good contractor knows what’s required in your city and his work will meet code.  It’s hard to believe a city inspector signed off on this


Also when a home is sold a home inspector should have been

hired to inspect and evaluate this home as part of the sale. 

We know that person did not do their job in regards to the roof

because a good inspector would have made note of this poor

workmanship and recommended it be corrected immediately. 

This did not happen. 

In this case both the possible city inspector and the home inspector could potentially be accountable as well as the previous homeowner.  Unfortunately that can be a long dragged out process for everyone involved unless a substantial warranty exists from the installer.  Chimney flashing should be seen at the base of the chimney on any home from the ground or at least with a pair of binoculars.  If you cannot see that your chimney is properly flashed or if you have water damage inside your home it might be a good idea to call a local contractor and schedule an appointment for them to evaluate and make some recommendations. 

Don’t make Santa slide down a leaky chimney!

Take Care,
Tony Zierman