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Old 02-24-2011, 09:10 PM   #1
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Leaking Ceiling, Do I Need a Roofer?


We noticed that we have a leak in our master bedroom ceiling. The leak is right where the chimney is connected to the house. The house is 2 story and the master bedroom is on the 2nd level. Roof is typical shingles, nothing special. When it rains hard, you can hear water pinging off the fireplace on the first level as well.

We called a roofer to come out and do a free estimate. After looking, he said we needed a brick man to come fix the chimney as it had cracks in it. We had a brick guy come out and he fixed all the cracks in the chimney. A big storm hits today and low and behold, the ceiling is still leaking.

Even if the chimney had cracks in it, which it did and needed to be fixed, how would that cause a leak inside the home? Everybody and their mother keeps telling us it is the flashing and a roofer would fix that but wouldn't the roofer had noticed the flashing when he came out to do an estimate? I've been told stories that flashing jobs are inexpensive and not really worth a roofer's time and some will pass on the jobs if they can. Is that true, I mean I wouldn't think so but then again I am not a roofer? The mason said to call him if it leaked after a rain but I don't feel like this is on him, I think I need a roofer. What do you think?

I've tried to be as detailed as I can but if you need more details just let me know. I have included a picture below of the ceiling. A couple things that puzzle me are that it appears to be leaking on the sides but not in the middle and that one side seems to be leaking a lot worse as you can see in the picture.

Any information or help is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.



Last edited by Phreek; 02-24-2011 at 09:14 PM.
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:07 AM   #2
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Leaking Ceiling, Do I Need a Roofer?


Yes, typically that is a flashing/counterflashing issue.
Call a different roofer

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Old 02-25-2011, 07:29 AM   #3
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Leaking Ceiling, Do I Need a Roofer?


Is there something temporary I can do until a roofer comes out? That was my problem last time, we called 4-5 roofers to come out and look and only 1 did.

What is a typical price range on a flashing job? Is it or could it be a DIY project?

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Old 02-25-2011, 07:34 AM   #4
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Leaking Ceiling, Do I Need a Roofer?


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Is there something temporary I can do until a roofer comes out? That was my problem last time, we called 4-5 roofers to come out and look and only 1 did.

What is a typical price range on a flashing job? Is it or could it be a DIY project?
Is this a full masonry fireplace or a pre-fab (metal) fireplace in a brick chase? If it's the latter (I think it might be since you said you heard "pinging"), you might have a bad chase cover rather than a flashing issue.
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:33 AM   #5
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Leaking Ceiling, Do I Need a Roofer?


Keep calling roofers to come out and look at it. What source are you using to locate roofers? If you are using clist for example don't expect much! If your using alist on the other hand you should expect a "better" roofer.

Try to get three roofers to come out and see what they say. Have each one draw up an estimate so you know exactly what they plan to do. Don't look at the price first but rather the scope of work when comparing.

As far as my prices to re-flash chimneys? From a repair only stand point and not doing one while already replacing the roof my prices have ranged from $250-2,000. Some chimneys are small and only take an hour or so to re-flash. Some on the other hand are huge and can take a whole day for one guy.

Once you re-flash a chimney you own it and if and when it should leak again you know who will be getting a call!

One thing to keep in mind for a roof repair. Most companies will not warrant there work on a roof repair only. Most will warrant it with a full replacement but with a repair you typicaly won't see a written warranty.

Good luck!!!
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:13 AM   #6
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Leaking Ceiling, Do I Need a Roofer?


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Is this a full masonry fireplace or a pre-fab (metal) fireplace in a brick chase? If it's the latter (I think it might be since you said you heard "pinging"), you might have a bad chase cover rather than a flashing issue.

Mine is the pre-fab metal within a brick chase. I wouldn't figure it would be that because that wouldn't cause leaking within the ceiling, right just leaking in or around the fireplace? I may be thinking about it all wrong though.
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:20 AM   #7
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Keep calling roofers to come out and look at it. What source are you using to locate roofers? If you are using clist for example don't expect much! If your using alist on the other hand you should expect a "better" roofer.

Try to get three roofers to come out and see what they say. Have each one draw up an estimate so you know exactly what they plan to do. Don't look at the price first but rather the scope of work when comparing.

As far as my prices to re-flash chimneys? From a repair only stand point and not doing one while already replacing the roof my prices have ranged from $250-2,000. Some chimneys are small and only take an hour or so to re-flash. Some on the other hand are huge and can take a whole day for one guy.

Once you re-flash a chimney you own it and if and when it should leak again you know who will be getting a call!

One thing to keep in mind for a roof repair. Most companies will not warrant there work on a roof repair only. Most will warrant it with a full replacement but with a repair you typicaly won't see a written warranty.

Good luck!!!
I am sorry but I don't know what alist is. I assume clist is Craigslist, no? My source for roofers has been the Yellow Pages, the local newspaper and Google search.

Like I said, I've contacted 4-5 roofers and only 1 came out. I'm not sure how many more there are to contact as the town I live in isn't big and the closest major city (Memphis) is an hour away.

Wow, $250-2000? I wasn't expecting that but you seem to know more about the job than myself. I'm not really worried about warranties or anything at this point, I just want to get the roof fixed.

The mason who came out and patched the chimney stated he knew other people in the construction business and if I needed anything else to give him a call and he'd try to hook me up with somebody who could do the job. I guess I will start there.
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:37 AM   #8
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Leaking Ceiling, Do I Need a Roofer?


Yes, clist is craiglist, not the best place to find a contractor!

Alist is angieslist. Unlike clist you have to pay to be member on alist. It's only a few dollars a month but it will allow you to read reviews from other consumers in your area.

Without a picture hard to guess on your chimney style. Could be a few different styles.

Metal cricket or saddle custom built on top of chimney (side towards the peak) with brick or stone around the main part of chimney.
Metal wrapped around the entire chimney.
Metal wrapped around the lower portion of chimney.


If you have a metal pan flashing around your chimney it's totaly different from a typical stone chimney with metal flashing. Have not done a lot in this style only one or two in 15 years of roofing. When we did the last one recall lifting up the bottom a little to allow ice and water to get under it.

You may want to have the metal area inspected for rust.
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:48 AM   #9
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Leaking Ceiling, Do I Need a Roofer?


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Yes, clist is craiglist, not the best place to find a contractor!

Alist is angieslist. Unlike clist you have to pay to be member on alist. It's only a few dollars a month but it will allow you to read reviews from other consumers in your area.

Without a picture hard to guess on your chimney style. Could be a few different styles.

Metal cricket or saddle custom built on top of chimney (side towards the peak) with brick or stone around the main part of chimney.
Metal wrapped around the entire chimney.
Metal wrapped around the lower portion of chimney.


If you have a metal pan flashing around your chimney it's totaly different from a typical stone chimney with metal flashing. Have not done a lot in this style only one or two in 15 years of roofing. When we did the last one recall lifting up the bottom a little to allow ice and water to get under it.

You may want to have the metal area inspected for rust.

Here are the only pics I have of the chimney not sure if they help, you probably need pics of the flashing on the roof, right? Just checked alist and it is not available in my area.



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Old 02-25-2011, 10:13 AM   #10
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Leaking Ceiling, Do I Need a Roofer?


That chimney is going to have a cricket behind it and from experience, 9 times out of ten the leak is at the bottom of the valley of the cricket. Inexperienced roofers don't know how to properly flash the corner of the chimney where that all meets up.
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:38 AM   #11
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That chimney is going to have a cricket behind it and from experience, 9 times out of ten the leak is at the bottom of the valley of the cricket. Inexperienced roofers don't know how to properly flash the corner of the chimney where that all meets up.

Could you explain that a little more for me? I barely know what a flashing is and I have never heard of a cricket. Can you explain the design for me and the problem, if you can? Is this something that I may be able to do myself? Thanks for all the information, it is appreciated.

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Old 02-25-2011, 03:05 PM   #12
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because of the width, there will be a cricket. It is basically a dormer (small roof) built between the chimney and the main roof. There is a valley on either side. that is where the two roofs meet. These valleys terminate at the corners of the backside of the chimney. Properly done, these valleys and flashings should extend a few inches wider than the actual chimney. Either way, right at the point where the valley meets the chimney many inexperienced and/or careless roofers do not know how to properly tie in the roofing and flash it properly or they just pump it full of caulk expecting it to last. These corner points have a high volume of water coming into a very small point right there and, if not done properly, will always leak.

You could possibly temporarily slide some step flashing under certain shingles in the area to temporarily divert the water away from the chimney for now. I can't really explain where to put them without actually being there though, sorry.

Not a great example but this should give you an idea what a cricket is.
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:19 PM   #13
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Leaking Ceiling, Do I Need a Roofer?


Is there definitely a cricket? With the width as it has been mentioned it "should" have a cricket.I did a repair recently that had a chimney the same width that had several issues.One being no cricket and the other the shingles crossing over the pan were to high.A course was under the pan when it should have been over.

The shingles were sealed to the pan but with ice back up it separated the seal in a couple areas allowing seepage.Another problem was the metal used for the pan had worn areas within the brake allowing water entry.Without seeing roof top one can only speculate.

And Old'nBroken is right, if a cricket is in place the typical novice installers don't drop the flashing off the crickets valley far enough or create a slight bend in the lower lap area with flashing benders.They pump as much sealant humanly possible to try and seal it.Another issue with crickets is the issue of not lacing the crickets valley like a typical valley.
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Old 02-26-2011, 03:42 AM   #14
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Mine is the pre-fab metal within a brick chase. I wouldn't figure it would be that because that wouldn't cause leaking within the ceiling, right just leaking in or around the fireplace? I may be thinking about it all wrong though.
I agree with needing a cricket. But, since you have a chase, the brick is probably not continuous down to the foundation on the high side. They have either bolted a lintel to the framing at the roof sheathing (sometimes they bolt it on slightly below the sheathing) and started the brick there or they have started laying the brick on the wall top plate.

Conventional flashing is only cut into the chimney an inch or so. In a very long, hard rain, the brick may become saturated and the water can bypass the flashing. If the brick went to the foundation, this would not be an issue. It would exit through the weep holes or leech out at the brick seat. But since your brick stops above the ceiling, if it gets saturated, the moisture drips off the lintel onto the ceiling.

A situation like this needs to be through-flashed, in which case the flashing is installed with the brick and extends back through the brick to the framing and pushes any saturation moisture back to the surface. Keep calling roofers until you find one that knows what through flashing is. They'll be able to determine if you have it. If not, they'll probably know a mason that can help them retrofit it (it's not that big of a deal in the right hands). We do it frequently. If through flashing exists, then something may have gone wrong with the base flashing.

I've attached some pics showing how through flashing would be installed if a cricket were added. Another option would be to add a cricket and seal the back side of the chimney. This will require re-coating at regular intervals, though.
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Old 02-26-2011, 10:42 AM   #15
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Leaking Ceiling, Do I Need a Roofer?


So, let me ask this and I may be done because I don't want to become a pest. Based on the info and pics I have shared, am I right in assuming this is a job for a roofer and that I shouldn't need to call the mason back?

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