Chimneys and Roofs – How They are Similar

What?  Roof Systems and chimneys the SAME?  You’re thinking, “No way, Jose!”  Okay, before leaving this post, give me just a second to explain.

smoking chimney


We at TRA Snow and Sun sell ventilated roof flashings and ridge risers which help with roof system ventilation.  No, we don’t want you to set them on fire thereby showing that roofs and chimneys are the same because of fire.

Chimneys are ventilation systems for the hot air and smoke produced in a fireplace.  Roof systems can also be ventilation  systems.  We’re not talking here about venting an attic, but venting UNDER the roofing product from eave to ridge.

Reduce Heat Losstile vent, roof ventilation

In a chimney, hot air rises because it is less dense than the colder air outside the building.  This causes a draft from low to high and out the top of the chimney.

For more information on why venting roof system is an excellent idea, see our previous posts – Why Roof Ventilation is So Important, Vent a Metal Roof? Absolutely, Why You Should Vent a Roof.

For both chimneys and roof ventilation, there are factors which affect the amount of draft produced.

  • The distance from eave to ridge on a roof or from the fireplace to outside in a chimney
  • The temperature outside compared to inside for a chimney and from the eave to the ridge on a roof.
  • Obstructions between eave and ridge. Design such as valleys, dormers, skylights, etc., will inhibit the venting of a roof system.
  • On the roof, the lower the slope the harder it is for a draft to form, therefore the duct size or opening below the roofing product must be greater on lower slopes.

Venting a roof system in a cold climate will help stop ice damming and in a warm climate will cool the house by helping prevent radiant heat from the sun getting trapped by the roofing product.

Talk to the experts at TRA Snow and Sun about venting your roof!


Flashing Magic!

Oh NO!  Look up, Ma!  The Ceiling is Leaking!

leaking_roofWhen a leak occurs in your house, it’s a crisis! Buckets are set out, and sometimes Good Ole Uncle Jim is called for advice because, everyone in the family knows that Uncle Jim built a couple houses a while back. He’s the family expert. He’s the guy who knows how to use a hammer (and he’s also the guy whose other favorite other tool is duct tape!)

If Uncle Jim is really “good,” the first thing he will check is the flashings around walls, pipes sticking through the roof (penetrations), and around the chimney. check all penetrations into the roof including snow guards and the solar mounting used on your solar panels. If your roof has lots of valleys, dormers, or “cut-up” sections (which designers love because it adds interest to the overall look of the building), there is a good chance that is where the leak is coming from. Even with a straight gable roof (roof with just two sides and a ridgeline), you can have leaks that are NOT caused by a worn out or faulty roofing product.

The flashings in these areas might have worn out or might not have been installed properly. Let’s face it, when you bought the house did you even look up? Roofing isn’t the most interesting issue when buying a house, right?  And sometimes flashings are installed unprofessionally, or corners are cut to save money. Oftentimes no one realizes this until there is a leak.

Uncle Jim

Good Ole Uncle Jim

So, if you’ve got this issue, and there’s no Good Ole Uncle Jim around to help, think like a raindrop and see where you would flow.  (Hint – This is always down!)  Sometimes you’ll head for an obstruction rather than flowing right off the edge.  So check around penetrations, in the valleys, the walls that abut to the roof and locations where flashings are supposed to divert water from going under the roofing material. If these are cracked, loose, or just plain absent, it’s time to install new flashing.  Or do what smart Uncle Jims do. Use duct tape – roofer’s duct tape!

TRA Snow and Sun has something we like to call the “roofer’s duct tape” and it works like magic!

VersaFlash and TileSeal are flexible aluminum rolled flashing that attaches down with a butyl adhesive and is flexible. You can use it in areas like around roof-to-wall abutments, around chimneys and pretty much everywhere else. They work like magic as flashing for tile roofs! It’s super easy to work with and competitively priced.