There are many reasons a property owner may need to install a roof cricket: they prevent damage from hail storms, roof leaks, and snow accumulation.
A roof cricket—also called a chimney cricket—is a sloped portion of the roof that diverts water away from large roof protrusions, most often chimneys.
This article will discuss the roof cricket basics - what they are and why you should have them installed in your home. We will also go over the steps for the professional installation of a roof cricket.
A roof cricket is a ridge on a sloped roof that diverts water around something that would typically get in the way of water as it flows down the roof. It’s installed on the side closest to the roof’s ridge, preventing water from pooling.
Think of a chimney extending from your roof. Instead of the roof coming to a valley where it meets the chimney, a roofing professional installs a cricket that splits the water, hail, or snow down to the sides of the obstruction.
A cricket is a part of your roof and made out of the same materials that compose the rest of your roofing structure. For residential properties, they are often made from wood and covered with asphalt shingles.
A roof cricket enables a consistent, steady flow of fluids down the length of your roof. They’re most commonly associated with chimneys because of how big an obstacle chimneys are to water flowing down the roof.
Without a cricket, water, snow, or hail can accumulate where the roof meets the protrusion.
Over time, this can erode the flashing and allow water into your home.
Of course, water would flow around the chimney after the storm, but the backup of water eroding the side of the chimney could lead to more significant problems with the overall roofing system or chimney down the line.
Professional roofing contractors should always be the ones who install crickets. There’s a considerable amount of technical expertise required, as well as extensive safety risks.
After you reach out to your roofing expert, what can you expect during a cricket installation around your chimney?
The first step in the installation is clearing the area around the chimney, peeling the top layers of the roof away—the shingles and flashing.
Taking your roof down to the base layer ensures that the added roof cricket is an integral part of your roof, not just a portion added onto the existing structure.
Your roofing contractor will know the proper slope of the roof cricket—it depends on the slope of your existing roof. Based on this information, they’ll build a wood frame that meets the specifications.
The top portion, the ridge, will line up between the roof and the chimney and run parallel to the ground. Then, your roofing professional attaches it to the roof.
After the ridge is in place, your roofing contractor will add support beams to the sides along the roof and from the roof to where the ridge beam meets the chimney. These will run to the chimney’s edges, so water doesn’t contact it.
The support beams are critical because the cricket won’t attach to the chimney, allowing room for potential warping and shifting over time. It’s ok; this is expected and prevents roof leaks in the long run.
After the roof cricket frame construction, the next step is covering it. First, two triangle-shaped pieces of wood—roof sheathing—go over the frame, creating the basic structure.
Then, a layer of roof underlayment that protects from ice and water goes on top of the roof sheathing, preparing your roof cricket for the final layer.
The finishing touches of the cricket are covering it with both shingles and flashing. The shingles will match the rest of the roof. Then, flashing around where the roof cricket meets the roof ensures no water enters the home through the intersections.
The final step is making sure the rest of the roof around the chimney has underlayment, shingles, and flashing so that your roof cricket doesn’t divert water into an area ripe for potential leaks.
A roof cricket is a good idea if you have a chimney on your roof and think you may want to install an attic fan or solar panels in the future.
Storms depositing rain, hail, and snow aren’t going anywhere, and a chimney cricket ensures you don’t suffer from unnecessary leaks.
If you are in the Dayton, Columbus, or Cincinnati areas and worry about roof leaks around your chimney, give our top-rated roofing company a call or reach out via our contact page! Our expert roofers are here to help you with any of your roofing needs. We offer free roof inspections, so don’t hesitate to reach out today!