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Winston Salem Roofing: Article About Repairing Leaks Caused By Chimneys

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Chimneys are especially prone to leaking. Fixing them takes more than slapping some tar around the chimney and calling it a day. While the tar might work initially, it is only masking a larger problem that is sure to resurface. Reputable Winston Salem roofing contractors will have the know-how to fix the leak around the chimney in a way that solves the problem, rather than putting a bandage on it.

The main reason that a leak develops around the chimney is because the flashing has failed. Flashing often fails when the metal in the flashing comes into contact with the mortar in the chimney or the mud boot surrounding it. Mortar is caustic and causes corrosion in metal. If the metal in the flashing has deteriorated to the point that water can penetrate it, the flashing has been rendered ineffective.

To repair the leak, all of the old mortar, flashing and any tar used to patch the leak must first be removed. Next, new flashing must be installed. Although it is not difficult, installing the new flashing requires specialized knowledge and application techniques.

The flashing used around chimneys must be bent at the proper angle. That means the top, right, left and bottom flashing cannot be interchanged with each other.

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Additionally, they must be installed in the proper order, beginning at the lower edge, sides and upper edge. Installing flashing in the wrong order will allow water to penetrate.

First, the base flashing is laid at the lower edge of the chimney and allowed to rest on top of the shingles below the chimney. It must also extend 4 inches on either side of the chimney. Next, special corner pieces are put in place, followed by pieces of step flashing, designed to mimic the overlap and function of shingles. The step flashing is placed along the entire sloped edge on both sides of the chimney. Finally, a triangular-shaped piece of flashing called a saddle is placed along the upper edge of the chimney and under the shingles.

An additional layer of flashing called cap flashing is required at this point. To install it, grooves must be cut into the chimney's mortar. It must be installed from bottom to top, just like the initial flashing. Installing it takes patience and know-how. After installation and for the best performance, the cap flashing should be thoroughly cleaned and painted. Alternatively, homeowners can spring for the slightly more expensive pre-painted version.

Going through all the steps to properly repair the chimney's flashing will eliminate the leak and keep it from reappearing for decades. Hiring a professional roofer to do the repair is by far the best solution.

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