In the chimney industry, “crickets on your roof” isn’t a term referencing flying insects or the internationally beloved sport. It’s a reference to an essential home and chimney protection solution.
Suppose your chimney is positioned on the slope of the roof and is at least 30 inches wide. In that case, there’s a high possibility that it will pool water from heavy rains and snowfalls. Why is this an issue? In short, water penetration is one of the chimney’s worst enemies. Over time, it will wear down the chimney’s material and could enter your home.
Prevent this issue altogether by installing a roof cricket. In the sections below, we will break down the details of crickets on your roof and explain why you strongly consider one for your home.
What is a Roof Cricket?
The purpose of roof crickets, also called “chimney saddles”, is to divert water, snow, and debris around your chimney, preventing pooling near the base.
The cricket sits on the uphill roof slope behind the chimney (on the high-side) and is a custom-built home improvement upgrade for your residence.
As you can see in the attached roof cricket images, they are essentially a miniature roof made of a wood frame and matching aluminum, stainless steel, or galvanized steel flashing over the top of it.
New cricket system behind chimney
The water keeps from pooling because crickets feature the gable roof design. It has two sections that slope in opposing directions and a small ridge on top. They also often incorporate step and counter flashing on the chimney to compliment the cricket.
It’s explicitly installed to go under your shingles and, covered with the appropriate roofing material, guarantees your chimney will not leak from the area.
Is a Roof Cricket Necessary?
Crickets are imperative to the longevity of your chimney and roof. They allow water and debris to run off the roof and into your gutters efficiently.
Due to their large mass, chimneys have a way of attracting water. Whether it be through the roof’s interior or exterior, the excessive flow of water down your roof will inevitably pool around the chimney. It then gets under shingles which accelerates the deterioration of the flashing and brickwork. It also allows water to make its way into your home, causing varying amounts of unseen issues. Sometimes the damage costs homeowners thousands of dollars to repair.
Many homeowners attempt to perform quick fixes for water puddling around the chimney, such as roofing tar. Unfortunately, this quick fix will slightly delay the imminent, which is thousands of dollars in damages to your chimney and home.
But not every chimney needs one. As mentioned earlier, crickets on your roof are only necessary for chimneys that are one, located on the roof’s slope, and two, a minimum of 30 inches wide on the side facing the slope.
A roof saddle also may not be the appropriate solution to your chimney leak and water penetration problems. There are various causes of water and chimney penetration. A few of those other causes are:
- Cracks in brick mortar joints
- Cracked chimney crown
- No cap or cover on top
- Damaged flashing or chase cover
If you’re not sure about your chimney’s size, location, or cause of precipitation leaks, call a certified chimney technician today.
How much does it cost to install a roof cricket on a chimney?
Installation costs for crickets typically range from $3000-$6000. The price will vary depending on the chimney size, roof materials, accessibility, and labor costs.
Another varying factor is the condition of the brick masonry. Suppose the water ponding has significantly damaged it. In that case, we have to rebuild the chimney before the installation process can begin.
But no matter what your situation is, you shouldn’t attempt DIY roof cricket installation. The roof cricket design isn’t as simple as placing shingles over two pieces of sloped plywood. It takes precise measurements, construction, and expert knowledge of chimney and safety requirements.
To ensure the installation lasts a lifetime, you should hire an experienced chimney or roofing company. Our chimney repair technicians have kept Kansas City homes safe and dry for over three decades. We want to help you too!
How to Install a Cricket
Only trained professionals should perform roof repairs such as roof saddle installations aka “crickets”. If installed incorrectly, you run the risk of wasting time, money and causing further damages to your roof and chimney, such as attic or roofing leaks.
But to help you understand what to expect when hiring an expert to install a cricket on a roof, here are the basic building and installation steps:
- Make precise measurements of the chimney, roof, and slope. Because of various factors like width of chimney and pitch of roof vary from home to home, calculations are necessary to get the right size cricket.
- Remove shingles around the area.
- Build the cricket frame.
- Place wood sheathing over the frame.
- Add some form of water and ice protection material around the chimney and cricket. A water proof barrier is necessary on any area of roofing where water is redirected from its natural path of travel.
Finally, shingle the roof with new materials (typically shingles on top of underpayment ) and install metal step and counter flashing (that is if your not having Full Service installing a metal cricket system).
Again, these are simply the fundamental installation steps. There are many more steps, both small and large, that are imperative to the proper building including knowledge of the industry standards and building codes.
Wood sheathing over frame
Water proof material
Shingle the roof with new materials
Water penetration is the mortal enemy of all chimneys. In many cases, it happens because of water ponding on one side of the chimney. Persistent ponding causes water to penetrate under your shingles and deteriorate brickwork, eventually causing it to leak and enter your home.
Installing a roof saddle structure designed to divert water is the best solution for this issue. Its gable roof design allows water to flow around the chimney and down the roof into the gutters easily.
Hiring professionals to install one of these can be pricey. Still, it’s the best way to ensure your home is safe from any potential water penetration in the future.
Crickets are a true gift to homeowners, saving you time, money and giving peace of mind that your home is safe from water damage. If you are experiencing leaks or snow pooling on the roof, you need to call one of our certified chimney technicians to perform an inspection.
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