What I'm Seeing Now

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Does Your Chimney Play Cricket?

Ever heard of a chimney cricket?  Does your chimney have one?  If it is at the bottom of a sloping roof and 30" wide or more it should have one.  In my opinion, even if it is less than 30" wide it should have at least a small one.

What's a cricket?  This is a cricket.  It is a small, angled roof structure behind a chimney.

Why have one?  So that rain water rushing down the roof doesn't smash into the backside of the chimney.

The cricket's intention is to divert such fast-flowing water around the chimney.  Even with well-placed and high flashing water can sometimes get into the interior. 

The cricket helps avoid that.

I ran across this terrific cricket on a recent inspection.  It is high and well flashed.  There is step flashing under each shingle and the attached, layered, brown counter flashing over the top.  And it diverts the water all the way to the edge of the chimney on both sides.  There are no stains inside.

And it is working!  See any staining on the bricks near the gutter?  I don't either.  And the gutter is inclined to carry the water to the downspout.  What a concept!

My recommendation:  if you see a brick chimney at the bottom of a sloped roof, see if you can get off to the side to determine if there is a cricket.  In this case, a house that has crickets is good!  Do you know where your cricket is?

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 29 commentsJay Markanich • September 26 2010 06:46AM

Comments

Jay ~ I certainly never knew that!  So, I've already learned something new today; thanks!

Not that it matters, but I keep meaning to mention that my son went to Linton Hall many years ago and I served on the Board of Directors -- kind of interesting for a Southern Baptist girl to serve on the BOD of a Catholic school!  Just that there's not a lot of people who've heard of Bristow, VA and that proves what a small world we live in!  Okay, I'm going on -- bye -- have a wonderful day!

Posted by Tish Lloyd, Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) almost 8 years ago

Tish - our youngest went to Linton Hall until 7th grade.  She is at Pennington now and will go to a private high school.  As you know, the gubment high schools around here are, um, something we don't want her participating in...

Glad you learned about crickets!  Now you will never forget the name.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Yes, mine even cirps...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) almost 8 years ago

You like hearing that on your roof more than in the basement Michael?  I know I do...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Thank you Jay!  I learned something new today too!  I will be craning my neck whenever I see a chimney now!!

Posted by Kelly Milligan (First Title Real Estate, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Actually, Kelly, a cricket is a very important part of roof construction when a chimney is at the bottom of the roof.  So, look away!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Not to be confused with a Jiminy Crickey which is an entirely diffent thing.

Please excuse the pun, after 35 years working on homes I can assure you that if you don't have this behind your chimney you will have problems. Many newer homes did not have these installed and they have had damage, especially in places where it snows.

Posted by Paul Lesieur (203kloanmn) almost 8 years ago

I agree Paul.  That is why I say that even though the rule of thumb is 30", all chimneys should have one!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Hi Jay, great post, they are an important addition to chimenys in this area of heavy rain.

Posted by Dan Edward Phillips, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, CA (Dan Edward Phillips, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, CA) almost 8 years ago

Interesting.  Never thought abt that.  Of course, I don't have one...I live in an apartment.

Just heard your voicmail - sorry - was out most of the day getting hair done & birthday dinner.  I have 1pm appt today.  Trying to catch up rest of the day.  Happy to catch up if it works out.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) almost 8 years ago

Jay, builders that install chimneys without crickets are confused about how gravity works.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 8 years ago

My river rock chimney was rebuilt (above the roof line) with brick, and cricketless. No leaks in 60 years...knock on wood. I've never had an inspecter call out a missing cricket. But now that in WA all are licdensed pest inspectors, it just may happen.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) almost 8 years ago

Jay, I love the fact that you do these blogs.  Unforutnately a lot of Real Estate Agents have no clue when it comes to construction.  At least your blogs begin to give them some insight as to the why of many systems.

Posted by Damon Gettier, Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE (Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert) almost 8 years ago

Jay,

Cricket or saddle flashing, all the same to me. By the way, see that you made it to the big Wheatloaf road show. Was glad to see your smiling face in the video. Big event, eh?

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 8 years ago

I agree with Damon, above - these posts are extremely educational to many of us agents!  I learn something new every time I click on your blog.

Posted by Susan Haughton, Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results. (Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545) almost 8 years ago

Once again I have learned something I had no clue about by reading your blog!!!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) almost 8 years ago

Jay - I've always been troubled by builders who build chimneys without functioning "crickets."  To me, they're not builders.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) almost 8 years ago

And when your done using it on the roof, it makes pretty good bait.

 

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) almost 8 years ago

Sure, Dan, I agree.  I think every chimney should have them, unless the chimney is built with a V!

Debbie - if you live up high, you probably don't have crickets IN the apartment either.  I put the stick'ems in all over the basement and catch a bunch that way!  If it's your birthday, happy happy!

Charlie - is surprises me how often I don't see them.  Maybe you are right, here in VA we don't have gravity?  Our own little Bizarro World.

Glenn - if crickets are considered pests in WA then you just let the word out!  Oh, wait, no cricket?  I guess the pest inspectors won't need to stop by.     ;)

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Well, Damon, we be tryin'!  Consider our home inspector blogs your crash course in construction savvy and all the not-to-do's!

Neat, Steve, I have never heard it called saddle flashing!  When I got to college they were serving what looked to me like sub sandwiches for lunch.  The lady behind the counter asked me if I wanted a "hoagie" and I had no idea what she was talking about!  I had never heard the word!

As to the concert, I did have a large set of different wax lips.  It could be you saw me with one of those on!

Thank you Susan!  That is very nice to say.  I will let Billy Jays know that as well...  And, your being just down the street from me, you are getting to view VA from a home inspector's perspective.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Barbara-Jo - that is the purpose of the posts!  I learn a lot from realtor posts as well.

Well, John, you would have a field day with the non-builders around here!

I laughed out loud at that one Jack!  So, you thinking whale bait?  I'll bet shingle color doesn't matter either.

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Chimeny Cricket! I don't think I've ever noticed one of these before! Now I'm going to get a cricket in my neck from looking up at chim chimenys!

Posted by Cynthia Larsen, Independent Broker Serving Sonoma County, CA (Safe Haven Realty) almost 8 years ago

Well you mixed a lot of the arts in that one statement Cynthia!  Walt Disney to Broadway...  Well, next time you will know what to look for!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Woo hoo...and gutter guards besides...these folks are really on top of preventative maintenance...Billy Jay won't find much to tinker with at this house !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) almost 8 years ago

Billy was a bit disappointed not to see a Gutter Garden there Sally.  But you can't have it all...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay, now I know what it is called!

Ty

Posted by Ty Lacroix (Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc) almost 8 years ago

And I am happy for that.  These posts are intended to be instructive, Ty.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

I have a cricket in my basement. Does that count?

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 8 years ago

It does.  I have a bunch!  I use those sticky strips and wow, a week later they are full!

Do your basement crickets divert water Jim?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

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