What is a Chimney Cricket and Why is it Important?

what is a chimney cricket

Have you ever heard of a chimney cricket?  There’s no surprise if you haven’t. It’s an old term used to describe a miniature peaked roof that sits behind your chimney.

What’s the Purpose of a Chimney Cricket?

This mini-roof located on the backside of your chimney prevents water damage—how?  Without the chimney cricket, this space would just be a downward slope of the roof that leaves a crevice against the chimney, the perfect place for water to collect.

Pooling water is never good in any part of your home, and there’s a good reason to avoid it.  When water collects and stays behind your chimney it will penetrate the brick masonry and roofing system.  As you can imagine, water that seeps into your chimney and into the underlayment of your roof means that is will wreak havoc and cause plenty of damage over time.

Water takes the path of least resistance.  When a chimney cricket is in place, the water is forced to slope down the roof and be channeled off through the gutter system.  There’s no pooling water, and thus, no water damage.

Chimney crickets are made from materials like stainless steel, aluminum, or galvanized steel.  With shingles that match the rest of the roof, chimney crickets blend right in.  The majority of roofing contractors provide homeowners with extra shingles anyway, so if a chimney cricket needs to be added or repaired, a contractor will use the same shingles.

Double Protection

The main purpose of the chimney cricket is to effectively channel water off of the roof and into the gutter system.  There is an extra perk of having a chimney cricket, however—extra protection.  Skilled and experienced contractors will be sure to install an ice shield behind the cricket, knowing that even if water is forced to run off in normal conditions, in extremely cold temperatures the water could freeze before it is channeled away.  This tends to be a spot for ice to want to form, but with an ice shield composed of synthetic felt, your roof will have this extra bit of protection.

Experienced contractors also know to install a leak prevention barrier by the chimney cricket.  Although the peaked roof of the cricket will force water away, a leak prevention barrier should be added regardless.  On top of the leak prevention barrier, the contractor will install the ice shield.  With the shingles added on the top of the system, you’ll have three layers of protection from water damage.

what's the purpose of chimney cricket

What Can Happen Without a Chimney Cricket

Water can damage your home in ways you probably didn’t imagine.  Common problems that arise from water damage include foundational problems, cracked masonry, mold and mildew, leaky attics, and other structural issues.

Structural Issues

Spotting water damage can be tricky, but if the issue has persisted for long periods of time, you might begin to notice stains on your walls.  Discolored walls (or if you have wallpaper, the staining can discolor the wallpaper and the glue beneath it, causing it to no longer lay flat) may become evident in ceilings or near windows.  You might also notice warping in window frames and door frames.

Neglected water damage can lead to these structural issues.  From the top of your house to the very bottom, water can cause chaos within your home’s walls and foundation.  This is why having a healthy roofing system is essential to the overall wellbeing of your home, and although a chimney cricket is a small feature, it makes for big protection.

Leaks & Drips

Your attic or basement may begin to feel damp and you might even spot water dripping through the roof during rainfall.  Leaks can start to chip away at the structural integrity of your home.  If the attic is leaking, then your wooden rafters may suffer from water damage.  If your basement walls are suffering from leaks and aren’t waterproofed, the foundation of the home can weaken, crack, and shift.

A chimney cricket and a functioning roof system are two major ways to prevent leaking, dripping, and water damage.

Ice Dams

Without a chimney cricket, you’ll be faced with snow and ice formation behind your chimney during the winter months.  If you don’t clear the snow off and the temperature hits below freezing, the water from the snow’s runoff could easily refreeze, forming a dreaded ice dam.  Ice dams are dangerous.

These heavy sheets of ice prevent water from running off the roof and into the gutters, away from the house and its foundation.  The extra weight on the roof isn’t good for the roofing system, either.  Reoccurring ice dams are added pressure on a roofing system, damaging shingles and the underlayment.  In some cases, the sheets of ice can slide off, potentially hurting someone.

Small Cricket, Huge Protection

Even if the chimney cricket seems inconsequential, by now you know that it’s an essential part of a well-maintained and functioning roofing system.  That crevice between your chimney and roof can be detrimental if a cricket isn’t in place to divide the water and channel it off the roof.  A cricket is a small price to pay to prevent expensive water damage.

Vertical has been in the chimney care business for over 35 years, and we have devoted our time and energy to bring safety to your home. We have spent all 35 years making sure we give our customers the best possible service. Take your chimney to a higher standard with Vertical and contact us today to get a free quote!

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