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Roof Cricket and Why You Need to Know What it Is

There is a lot that goes into making a roof and protecting the home that is underneath.  More than the average homeowner knows about.  The chimney is an important part of the home (for those with a fireplace) and it needs protecting.  One way to do this is with a roof cricket.  What is a roof cricket?  It is a sloped backing that is built on to the chimney to allow water to run down the roof.  Without it, water would pool on the roof and wear away the shingles and masonry.

Lets take a look at why you need to know about roof crickets, how they work, is it required, the cost, inspecting the chimney and roof, and other maintenance.

Why You Need to Know About Roof Crickets

As mentioned above, chimneys are a very important part of the roof and they need to be protected, along with the roof itself.  Roofs are expensive to repair and you want it to last as long as possible. Also, you want the water to be pushed off the roof appropriately so it doesn’t get backed up and cause problems inside the home. Roof crickets also have other names: chimney saddles or chimney diverters.

Here is a picture of a roof cricket at the bottom of the chimney:

Roof cricket
Thanks to Arrow Property Inspection for the use of this image

How the Roof Cricket Works

The roofer builds the roof cricket on the back side of the chimney. Then, usually the same materials that are on the roof, for example asphalt shingles is then added to the top. Sometimes metal flashing is added on top or another material, depending on the budget of the homeowner.  The roofer makes the roof cricket at an angle and part of the building and installation process for the chimney flashing system. The roof cricket is at a slope and needs to be high enough that the water doesn’t reach the peak of it.

To do this, the roof cricket must be set at a higher plane than the rest of the roof.

Here is an example of a roof cricket on the back of the chimney and made of the shingle. It blends in with the roof.

Roof cricket
Thanks to Arrow Property Inspection for the use of this image

Is a Roof Cricket Required

A roof cricket is not required on every roof with a chimney. In fact, it depends on building codes. Up.codes for the state of Florida says,

1503.6 Crickets and Saddles

A cricket or saddle shall be installed on the ridge side of any chimney or penetration greater than 30 inches (762 mm) wide as measured perpendicular to the slope. Cricket or saddle coverings shall be sheet metal or of the same material as the roof covering.

Every state may be different so you will need to look up the requirements.

In case you are interested in the process of building a roof cricket, here is a great video:

Cost of a Roof Cricket

This is a time you want to pay a professional to do this as making sure that the roof cricket is built properly is important. Additionally, you usually can’t find these at a local hardware store as a person who is NOT trained should not be putting it in. Instead, paying a roofer to do this is essential. The roofer will construct the roof cricket and make sure that it fits as each home has one that is custom made to fit the back of the chimney.

So how much should it cost? The price can vary but many roofers charge about $100 or more for the roof cricket and then add labor on top of that for the time it takes for installation.  Don’t forget that adding in flashing and shingles will make it cost more as well. Thinking about reflashing the chimney? Sometimes the roof cricket will be part of the price.

In case you want to reflash the chimney, here is some information: Usually you have a choice of aluminum, copper, or steel for the material for the flashing. The most used is aluminum, but the one that lasts the longest is the copper. Check out this blog about the pros and cons for each.

Inspecting the Chimney and Roof

Inspecting the chimney at least once a year is important, as there are often leaks near the chimney unless the materials are all in place and doing their job.  Summer is a great time to do maintenance and you can get the chimney ready for the fall and winter months when you will be using it. However, you want to inspect more than the chimney.  Not sure where to start?  There is a roof inspection checklist you can follow that will help you.

In addition, looking inside the home is important to see if you have any water stained ceilings. If you do, it can be due to water getting into the home from the roof or other issues.  It is important to have a professional check it out to determine the cause.

Here is an example of what happens to a chimney that does not have a roof cricket. The water gets in and rots the wood, thus causing structural damage and water damage to the home.

Missing roof cricket
Thanks to Ocoee Home Inspections for sharing their image

Other Maintenance

After bad storms, take a look at the gutters to make sure they are clean. If they are, the water will flow through the downspouts properly and out into the yard. Check in the yard to make sure it drains well.  If not, you may need to think about installing a drainage system.

Being in Florida, it is always a good time to check the HVAC.  The last thing you want is it to go out during the hottest months. The coastal areas see the HVAC unit lose some years so here are some ideas for what to check.

As summer is upon us, the rains will increase here in Florida and the temperatures will start to soar.  Don’t forget there are summer maintenance ideas inside and outside the home .

When to Call a Professional

Call a professional if you want to have a roof cricket added to your chimney, you have leaks on the roof, or you find any issues in your roof inspection checklist.  Remember, hiring a professional is worth your time and money to have it done right.  Also, it is dangerous for people who are not trained to be on the roof.

Conclusion

As you can see, a roof cricket is important for keeping water out of the chimney, and allowing water to be diverted down the sides of the roof.  Without it, there can be leaks. We will look at the roof and chimney area as part of our inspection in the Boca Raton area. Think you might need our services?  Leave us a reply below!I

The Perfect Roof Inspection Checklist

The roof is an important area of the home that needs to always be in tiptop shape.  It protects us from the outside elements and holds our home together.  Being in the south, we are subject to hurricanes and other strong storms so our roof can take a beating.  

Any homeowner can do a roof inspection carefully and safely from the ground and you just need binoculars.  Doing this once a year will hopefully prevent expensive issues.  Not sure what to look for?  Here is a roof inspection checklist for the areas that you should check for: flashing, shingles, vent pipes, and moss or lichen growing on the roof to name a few.

Let’s take a look at why a roof inspection is important, the various areas of the roof checklist in detail, roof replacement, what if you find issues, roof replacement, some other areas you will want to look at since you are there, and when to contact a professional.

Why a Roof Inspection is Important

Roof maintenance is important to make sure nothing is missing or broken.  We never know if after even a little storm if there will be any issues.  At least once a year (during warmer months is best) using a roof inspection checklist can help you keep problems away if you notice issues early. 

Most people don’t know what to look for so this checklist should help.  Roofs last about 15-20 years, depending on the environment and roof type.

While you are checking out the roof from the ground, there are other areas that you can take a look at for any possible issues.

Roof Inspection From the Ground

As mentioned earlier, you can use binoculars to see what is going on with the roof and stand on the ground to do this.  Some people who feel comfortable will climb the ladder to check the various areas below:

Flashing

This is a material that is installed to direct water away from various areas on the roof.  It usually surrounds chimneys, skylights, and vents.  You will be looking at the caulking on the flashing to see if it is cracking or if there are any rust spots. Flashing should be in place where the vertical side of the house meets the roof. Sometimes, you will not be able to see/inspect the flashing since it should be in place under the shingles.

Shingles

Shingles

Look for any missing, loose, broken, blistered, curled, or split shingles.  Depending on the type of roof you have, there may be various indicators of issues. If you have asphalt shingles, look to see if there are any dark spots.  This will indicate that the granular coating is worn away. Where ridges and hips meet on the roof you may notice shingles missing as well.

Exposed Nails

If you see any nails exposed, there could be leaks in the roof. Exposed nails should be coated with tar to prevent rusting.

Roof Inspection Checklist: Downspouts, Vents, Gutters, Etc.

Roof Inspection Checklist: Downspouts, Vents, Gutters, Etc.

Downspouts

A downspout is a pipe and it is installed on every 20 feet of gutter and carries the rainwater to the ground.  Downspout extensions extend 4 to 6 feet away from the house, but 10 feet when possible.  Make sure that they are firmly in place and the water is going away from the house. Unfortunately, if they don’t extend out far enough, you can have water sitting near the home and possibly leak in.

Vents

Check offset ridge vents, ridge vents, and soffit vents for good air flow and ensure all areas are properly sealed/secured. This is a common area for exposed nails.

Gutters

Check the gutters to make sure they are cleaned out so the water will flow freely.  If not, there will be a back up of water in the home and you will need to check for water leaks in the home.

Vent Pipes

Make sure that the lead flashing boots is still around the vent pipes on the roof and providing a sealant. 

Check that it is not cracked/chipped/chewed by squirrels.

Moss and Lichen

Lichen comes from algae and acts like a sponge, keeping the roof damp.  If you see this on the roof, use vinegar to try to get it off.  The vinegar will kill the organic matter.  The moss develops from the wet roof and leaving this on the roof will cause the granules in the shingles to deteriorate and loosen. As a result, the asphalt and fiberglass will be exposed.  Moss and Lichen can also be a sign that the roof is decaying. 

What If You Find Issues When Doing a Roof Inspection Checklist

There are some things that you may be able to replace on your own, such as shingles. However, it is recommended to pay a professional to do this work.  This way, there is a warranty on the work and it will be done by someone who is trained.  Homeowners don’t need to be climbing on the roof unless they know what they are doing.  Professionals will charge various prices for any shingles, etc. to replace.

If you need to replace shingles, think about Architectural shingles.  They are decorative but also can withstand wind from 110 to 130 miles per hour.  Also, they can last about 30 years. However, being in the south will knock a few years off the expectation. 

Roof Replacement

If your roof needs replacing, the national average for an asphalt roof is $7500.  However, if you plan to sell one day in the next few years, you will get that money back because you will be able to list the house for more because of the new roof.  It adds value to the home and peace of mind to future buyers. Additionally, if you replace your roof, make sure that roof sheathing is added.

How to Fix Any Issues

Call a professional to come out and help if you have any issues.  Something’s are better left to someone with experience and training.  If it seems like an easy DIY and you want to tackle it, you can.

Other areas to check after your roof inspection checklist

Other Areas to Check After Your Roof Inspection Checklist

Chimney

If you have a shake or shingle roof and a chimney, make sure you check the flashing around the chimney and vertical walls. Wood has acid in it and can eat away at the flashing.

Make sure you have a chimney cap on to keep the animals and their nests out. A good time of the year to install this, if you don’t have one already, is in the summer or fall. This is also a good time to inspect it and check if you need additional maintenance .

Negative Grading

Walking around the house, take a look at the land.  Does it slope towards the house?  If yes, this is negative grading– to fix this, add in soil and plants to even out the land.

Eaves on the House

If you have eaves, make sure they are clean and free of holes.  If you see holes, seal them up. 

Stucco

Also, look at the stucco on the home.  Are there any cracks?  Not all cracks in stucco need fixing.  If it is less than 1/8 of an inch, you can fix it with Quikrete.  More than 1/8 in. (credit card can fit in it) and you need a professional . 

HVAC system

HVAC System

Check the HVAC system while you are outside.  These systems usually last about 10-15 years but do lose a few years in the coastal areas.  Also, they do need a tune up probably twice a year to extend their life.

Drafty Doors and Windows

Lastly, check for drafty doors and windows.  While you walk around the outside, take a look at your windows and doors.  Is the weather stripping still good or need replacing?  Can you slide a dollar bill under the door?  If yes, then you have a draft and need to fix it.

When to Call a Professional

Call a professional if you need help checking out the roof, maintenance, or any other issue around the house.  Home inspectors are trained and experienced and can check your roof for you.

Conclusion

Checking the roof is important two times a year if possible.  You want to catch the start of any problems early and fix them.  Using the checklist will help so you know what to look for if you choose to look yourself.  We will take a look at your roof while conducting home inspections in Boca Raton and surrounding areas.

Have a question? Comment below.