Chimney and Vent Leak Repairs: Flashing Fixes for Every Home Exterior

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Maintaining Your Flat Roof

Dealing with Chimney and Roof Vent Leaks

When dealing with leaks around your chimney or roof vent, the approach varies depending on the material surrounding your chimney—be it stucco, brick, siding, or wood. Leaks typically occur in the flashing, which is designed to create a water-resistant barrier where the chimney intersects with the roof. Occasionally though, the problem may lie in the actual bricks or stucco.

Brick Chimneys

For brick chimneys, repairing a leak usually involves inspecting the step flashing or L flashing. This metal piece must be properly sealed against the brick. If it's damaged, you'll have to remove the old flashing and replace it, ensuring that it's correctly tucked into the joints of the brickwork before sealing with caulk.

Stucco Chimneys

Stucco chimneys require accessing the flashing beneath the stucco. This might mean removing shingles, tiles, or metal surrounding the chimney, and inspecting the flange—the part of the flashing that lays flat on the roof. In areas like Florida, you might apply roofing tar above and below the flashing to seal it. If you're in a different locale, you'd likely apply a new layer of ice and water shield to extend up the chimney wall and across the roof decking, then reinstall the new flashing. If you're only dealing with a flange issue, it could be as simple as applying a sealant without disrupting the stucco surface.

Siding-Covered Chimneys

For siding-covered chimneys, you can often fix leaks at the flange without a complete teardown. Improving the water-tightness may involve applying adhesives like ice and water shield or roofing tar to help ensure the water flows off the roof and doesn't seep through.

Now, if your chimney itself is the issue due to construction errors, this could complicate things further and will likely require professional assessment.

Roof Vents

For roof vents, or 'accessories' like pipe boots, the repair process involves lifting the surrounding shingles or other roof covering and replacing the old boot with a new one. In colder climates, you might add an ice and water shield around the new boot to enhance water shedding. It's vital to make sure the new boot is nailed down and sealed properly, and then to replace any displaced roof covering.

In Florida or similar regions, where you may have vents like gooseneck or light pipe jacks, you'd follow a similar process of removing shingles and the old flashing. After cleaning off any old roofing tar, install a new boot and seal it thoroughly with asphalt plastic cement before resetting the shingles.

Regardless of the type of roofing accessory, lifting the field covering and sealing the new installation meticulously is essential. The goal is to ensure that no water can penetrate the area around these features.


In summary, most leaks around the chimney or roof accessories result from issues with flashing. Addressing these concerns properly often means the difference between a temporary fix and a lasting solution. When in doubt, it's best to consult a professional roofer to ensure your home stays dry and damage-free.

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