Leaks Around Chimneys is the Most Common Roof Repair Service


roof leak around a chimneyPeople love their fireplaces in the DC metro area and that means we have lots of Chimneys. So why are roof leaks around chimneys one of the most common service calls roofing specialists get? Why can’t roofers seem to install roofs so water does not seep into a home around the brick and mortar of a chimney? It all comes down to how the roofing company flashes and waterproofs the base of a chimney. Let’s discuss and dive into our most common roof leak call.


Common Mistakes When Installing A Roof Around Chimneys


Bad Chimney FlashingThe strategy for installing a roof near a chimney is the same whether the roof material is

  1. Asphalt Shingle Installation
  2. Cedar Shake Custom Roofing
  3. Slate Roofing


Roofs leak in many different places are common. Homeowners contact us all the time about water leaking into their home near a chimney. The leak is usually caused by flashing around the chimney area being improperly installed or nonexistent. The best way to repair a roof leak near a chimney is to use step flashing. What is flashing? Step flashing creates a structural metallic barrier between the chimney and the roof. In the picture above, you can see where the roofer attempted to place tar around the chimney which is at best a temporary solution.

Proper way to Waterproof Around a Chimney


step chimney flashing

If your chimney does not look “step-flashed” like the picture above, you now know why your roof is leaking.


Straight Flashing is a Short-Cut


Straight L-flashingThe common mistake among general contractors is installing the wrong type of flashing. Straight flashing also called L-flashing is a shortcut around chimneys. Step flashing creates a better more lasting seal than L-flashing. L-flashing is faster to install and allows contractors to cut corners and cost. Straight flashing wraps around the base then shingle are installed over top. They will seal the top off and any other areas with caulk. Step flashing has much more surface area and is woven between each shingle layer around the chimney. Step flashing creates a much better long lasting seal.

Caulking Around a Chimney is Just Wrong


Caulk may last 6-8 months tops before water starts to penetrate your roof again. Be sure to hire a professional roofing company to rectify your chimney leaking problems. Or you’ll end up having to pay for endless repairs. As well as potentially paying for a premature roof replacement.

What Constitutes Proper Installation of Flashing Around a Chimney


Step Flashing Step flashing is a specific flashing technique and design that will ensure your roof will never leak around your chimney again. Installing step flashing for chimneys is a very complex process. The shingles are woven into multiple layers with metal flashing in between. It seals up better and is more stable because of the way it’s installed with multiple pieces. Odds are if your roof is leaking between shingle and chimney, is that you had a general contractor or inexperienced roofer work on the roof. The GD likely did not step flash. A roofing specialist will install flashing around the chimney properly. Preventing water from seeping into you home.


Roof Repair Vs. Replacement


If your roof was not flashed properly, it will be necessary to remove shingles from around the chimney during the repair. Once the shingles are removed, flashing can be placed and the shingles can be re-installed. The average life expectancy of a shingle roof in the dc metro area is 15-25 years depending. And what is the average cost to replace a roof in the DMV? If your roof is near 15 years old or older it may be better to put your money into a new roof.