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A Chimney Cricket Needed (Not A Jiminy Cricket)

You remember Jiminy Cricket?  He was Pinocchio's friend, and a metaphor for his conscience.

I never saw him on a roof.

Depending on how a chimney is positioned on a roof, and how wide it is, a chimney cricket is the way to go.

On a wide chimney, wider than 30"or so, and a steep slope, a cricket really is essential.

So when I did not see a cricket behind this chimney, of course I recommended one.

INSTALLING ONE HERE WOULD CERTAINLY BE A BEST PRACTICE.

Another problem here is that the flashing is very short.

When water cascades down a roof slope, it will gain speed.  Eventually, if there is a chimney there, it will crash into the chimney's backside.

Tall flashing can sometimes control its force.  But a low flashing makes the interior very vulnerable to moisture migration.

Since this chimney is so vulnerable I recommended the cricket.

What's a chimney cricket?

It is a simple, angled, smaller roof behind the chimney, intended to divert water around it rather than into it.

So, why is this water diverter called a CRICKET?

There is much debate and speculation!

This roofing addition is also called SADDLE FLASHING.

The word "cricket" happens to be a Scottish slang word for "saddle."

At the outset of the chimney sweep industry in England and Scotland, young boys were often employed in the trade.

Taken from the local parishes and orphanages, boys as young as 7 years of age were taken in by tradesmen to work in and learn their trade.  Being small these boys were perfect candidates for getting into and cleaning chimney flues.  Plucking them from orphanages was very popular among chimney sweeps.

It was a dangerous and dirty occupation.  Worked mercilessly, these boys sometimes died, choking from the inhalation of soot, falling inside the flues or getting stuck beyond the ability to be extracted.  It was not until 1864 that legislation was passed to protect them and punish offending tradesmen.

I can see young boys calling that roof diverter a cricket, and riding it like a horse's saddle.  That's my two cents.

My recommendation:  if you notice a wide chimney without a cricket, see about getting one installed!  It is easy to do and solves any future water problem behind the chimney.  Be sure you suggest a CHIMNEY cricket though, and not confuse people with JIMINY Cricket.

 

 

 

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 40 commentsJay Markanich • July 29 2012 03:30AM

Comments

Sounds logical, and just one more reason child labor laws became so important during the industrial revolution.

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) about 7 years ago

Wow Jay...this is a really useful post. Thanks for the info and the picture...good stuff.

Posted by Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty, Florida Space Coast Homes (Waves Realty) about 7 years ago

Well, my 2 cents as to where the word came from Scott.  Children, particularly those abandoned or orphaned, were really abused.

Jeffrey - thanks.  Glad you enjoyed it and can learn!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

It always amazes me when I see a chimney without the cricket.  Some builders should not be building anything.

 

Posted by Ralph Janisch ABR CRS Broker, Selling Northwest Houston to good people like you! (Janisch & Co.) about 7 years ago

And this house has been there for some time J&R.  This chimney should have had one from the start.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Morning Jay another fine featured post I see.  I truly haven't seen many of those around and I do look at the roof when I either have the seller or the buyer.  Thanks

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) about 7 years ago

Thank you Jay!  I don't think I ever heard of any other kind of cricket before this very informative post!  Now you can be sure I'll be on the look out for crickets on the roof!!! ;)
Pamela

Posted by Lee & Pamela St. Peter, Making Connections to Success in Real Estate (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522) about 7 years ago

I found a perfect canidate for a cricket yesterday. More to come on this chimney. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 7 years ago

Good morning Jay. With all the issues around chimney flashing's I would think a chimney cricket would be required. You can see in the pick leaves are gathering there so will snow or rain.

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) about 7 years ago

Good morning, Jay,

Thanks again. Something I learned... I love reading your blog posts, they are very educational. I am not home inpsector, but believe that every agent should know some important basics about the properties.

Have a great day.

Posted by Tatyana Makarov, Your Greater Hartford Area Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) about 7 years ago

Jay, I was not aware of this or the term chimney (saddle) cricket. I can see where it definitely has a purpose though.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA about 7 years ago

This was such a cool post and I loved the history!  Made me think of Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins...but I don't think that his character used orphan labor!

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) about 7 years ago

I learned something today. Thanks for sharing, I never knew a chimney cricket existed never mind what it was or did.  I think I need one at my home...

Posted by Diane Daley (Caron's Gateway Real Estate) about 7 years ago

The average homeowner remains vulnerable if unprofessional repairs are applied...good post

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 7 years ago

Jay, Good stuff there. Then you need to install the cricket right! That old water thing can be a bugger ;)

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

I think roofers don't install the crickets because they don't want call backs from the chirping all night. I think they are a great idea and are one of those things that get over looked because they can't be bought at local big box store where the roofer shops.

Posted by Rob Ernst, Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor (Certified Structure Inspector) about 7 years ago

Cute analogy Jay and as always an interesting read. Great post and thanks for posting.

Posted by Robert Amato (Bob Amato of Empire Home Mortgage Inc) about 7 years ago

Better the chirping of the cricket to keep you awake than the sound of dripping water...

Posted by Tim Bradley, Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY (Contour Investment Properties) about 7 years ago

I learn something new here at Active Rain everyday.  Now when I'm at a home with an inspector, in front of the buyer I can say, how does the cricket look?  My only problem would be if the inspector has a blank stare on his face.

Posted by Chris and Dick Dovorany, Broker/Associate at Premiere Plus Realty ( Homes for Sale in Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida) about 7 years ago
Great post, pictures are so helpful. And I learned something I didn't know - always a plus! Makes me look forward to your future postings. Always happy to learn :-)
Posted by Lynda Bloom (Weichert, Realtors) about 7 years ago

I've never seen one around a chimney before.  I have seen some around skylights.  Makes total sense to me, and as always, your posts are very informative.

Posted by Gary Frimann, CRS, GRI, REALTOR and Broker (Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates) about 7 years ago

James - you will see them on wide chimneys at the bottom of a roof.

Pamela - not even a fireplace cricket?  ;>)  Or a Jiminy?

Jim - look forward to it!  And here I thought THIS was the perfect candidate!  No cricket here made it easy for me to roll down the roof and use the chimney to safely get back to the ladder!

Exactly Randy.  I think they are best practice.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Tatyana - it is helpful!  You should learn all you can about being a great agent too.

A great purpose Mike.  I wonder if my speculation on the origin of the word holds water?

He didn't have time to snatch kids Kathryn.  He was chalking sidewalks and dancing!

Caron's - if your chimney is at the bottom of the roof, 30" and parallel to the gutter you sure need one!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Richie - this is original construction, from the late 60s.  Don't know if crickets were popular then around here, but they sure should have been.

Don - water schmawter.  We need more of it!

Rob - you might be right.  They can be noisy!  Especially those guys who come back every 17 years!

Thanks Bob.  Glad you find it educational!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Tim - I don't know which sound would be more disconcerting!

C&D - look at the chimney first!

Lynda - very glad you like them!  You are welcome back anytime, of course!

Gary - anywhere water can crash into something horizontal they are a very good idea.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Crickets both help the situation and can make it worse if not done properly.  Good place to check pretty darn carefully.  These installation often show past and/or ongoing conditions in the ceilings below.

 

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 7 years ago

Scotch tape and Elmer's is the way to go Charlie.  Like I said, always best practice.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Jay, Thanks for the info. I have seen some chimneys that needed a cricket and I didn't know there was such a thing.

Posted by Wayne Jackson, North Idaho Realtor, Serving Coeur dnullAlene and Hayden Lake (Lakeshore Realty 208-714-4109) about 7 years ago

And now, Wayne, your mind cannot shrink back to the dimension it was prior to acquiring that knowledge!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Good evening, Jay. Interesting read. I had to find out about this one myself. And like the man said, "Now you know the rest of the story"....

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) about 7 years ago

Jamy, Fireplace chimneys are places for water infiltration if not done right. Good information.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) about 7 years ago

What did you find out Michael?  What's the rest of the story?

Debbie - it surely is, hence this flashing detail as a best practice!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

chirp chirp....we see this on inspection reports now and then....water is such a home enemy !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 7 years ago

Jay, I actually knew this one because it recently came up when my client had his roof replaced. Thanks for the great picture though. I will definitely use this post to explain the roof cricket to future clients.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) about 7 years ago

I was driving around beautiful Lake Tahoe today and saw cricket after cricket and though of this post. They get lots of snow up there so it's a place that they are needed.

Posted by Rob Ernst, Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor (Certified Structure Inspector) about 7 years ago

S&D - no cricket can often result in water intrusion.  I have seen the bumper stickers - Water Happens.

Tammie - it will come up when professional roofers are in the loop!

Rob - never been there, but I watched Bonanza a lot as a kid.  Aren't those similar to the Mormon Crickets up there?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Jay, great post and very informative. Do you have a rule of thumb for various chimney widths at what roof angle cricket is needed? Also if tall flashing is used is a cricket needed at all?

Posted by Tom Bailey (Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.) about 7 years ago

The rule of thumb is 30" or wider Tom.  That recommendation is up there somewhere.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Jay ,you do indeed have that number up there. I misunderstood you because I read it to mean that at 30'' and a certain pitch one was needed. 

Posted by Tom Bailey (Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.) about 7 years ago

No biggie Tom!  But 30" is the accepted dimension.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

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