Chimney Flashing: What a Home Inspection Can
Reveal Before You Make Your Purchase
When looking at a house you wish to buy, you may observe that its masonry chimney appears to be in excellent condition, with every brick in place and no signs of deterioration. However, it takes a professional home inspection by a certified inspector to tell the whole story.
One of the key parts of a chimney structure is its flashings – a sheet metal installation designed to create a water-resistant barrier between the chimney and roof. When poorly installed or failing for other reasons, the result can be severe leaking and costly damage to interior walls. Here’s what your home inspection will include in terms of chimney flashing, courtesy of your friends at A-Pro Home Inspection:
Rust: When constructed from tin-coated or galvanized steel, chimney flashing can be prone to rusting, which will be noted in a home inspection report. This can occur for several reasons, including:
failure to paint flashing material
not applying primer before painting or not putting on enough finishing coats
use of aluminum flashing on brick, which cannot be soldered and is known to corrode
Damaged Flashing: Roof/chimney movement, animal activity, harsh weather, or installation which was not performed with necessary precision can all lead to cracked, open, or loose flashing. A professional home inspection will let you know the extent of the chimney flashing damage.
During the home inspection, the inspector will assess whether all pieces of a two-part flashing system are in place: the base flashing and counterflashing, which overlaps but is not attached to the base material. The home inspection will note dubious use of flashing substitutes, such as caulking or roof cement, which can crack due to heat exposure. Among other checks, home inspectors will see if the top of cap flashing is correctly set, as well as examine side base flashings. Any harder-to-see issues as well as obvious problems, such as loose material and gaps, will be recorded in the home inspection report.
Finally, the home inspection will include an evaluation of the attic and rooms which would be directly affected by compromised flashing. Signs of roof leaking will be noted in the home inspection report.
Home Inspection Tip: It is a good idea to have a regular home inspection to evaluate the health of your roof, including chimney flashing. Small problems can be rectified before they blossom into costly repairs.
Roof and chimney flashing evaluations are just one important part of an A-Pro 500-point home inspection. To hire a certified local A-Pro home inspector, visit here or call 360-489-6100.