Should I replace counterflashing?


#1

I am a homeowner and need to replace the roof of the house I am purchasing. The house is in southern NY state and was built in 1956. I am guessing the copper chimney flashing is original.

I received multiple estimates and all but one of the roofers told me that I should replace all of the chimney flashing, both counter and step.

One roofer, who in my opinion, seemed a bit more knowledgeable than the others (but maybe I’m being fooled by his salesmanship), told me that he would not at all recommend replacing the counter flashing (“I wouldn’t even do it on my own house”), as it is in good shape and since it might be a through wall flashing, I am asking for trouble. He told me I should only have the step flashing replaced when replacing the rest of the roof.

I don’t mind spending additional money, if needed, to get the job done the best way.

If I am replacing the rest of the roof and step flashing, should the counter flashing also be replaced?

How long does copper flashing last? If it is already 50 years old (but in good shape), will I be able to get another 30 years out of it?

Thanks.


#2

copper counterfalshing can last 100 years or more. vallys and gutters will ware out a lot quicker.


#3

We will need a picture for this.

Frequently chimney flashings need to be replaced, A lot of times they are not done right to begin with.
If you have a copper counter-flashing that is firmly embedded in the chimney and was done right to begin with it probably does not need to be replaced.
The step flashing probably should be replaced.

The thing is, it is hard to get the corners on the chimney with the counter-flashing in place, and your counter flashing probably is not removable.
When the roofer tries to get the corners in place they will have to pull the counter-flashing out to insert them, this will distort the counter-flashing.
Some counter-flashings are put together in such a way as to allow for this, many are not.

For the bestest, nicest looking job, replace all the flashing.
It is a money issue though, if you can afford and are willing to pay for it, new is the way to go.
The existing counter-flashing may be put together so that it can be worked with, a picture will let us know if this is the case.

Prices vary widely but generally speaking copper is rather expensive everywhere, depending upon the size and style of chimney you have the material alone will most likely be well over $500.
The skilled labor it takes to install it is not cheap either.
In the end you will get the best chimney flashing you can get, and it looks very nice.
If you find a roofer that does good copper work, you probably found one of the better roofers in your area.


#4

No way of knowing for sure without seeing it but like Jim said, copper can last a long time…shingles don’t.


#5

Tar Money, you and I respond at the same time frequently.


#6

if they re use the copper counter they must use copper step flashing as well. if they use aluminum step and it comes in contact with the copper counter it will have a adverse reaction with each other, like oil & water kind of thing.


#7

For a very accurate answer to your question, the best thing would be to post a few photos, one from each side, to see what kind of shape the existing counter-flashings are in.

If the material is tight and well embedded into the mortar joints or even properly surface mounted, then it may not be necessary.

Also, the Baby Tin step flashings that MUST be used and the nails to attach them and the shingles to them, MUST also be made of copper.

If standard aluminum baby tin step flashings and galvanized nails are used, they will be chemically eroded by the Galvanic Reaction of the extreme dissimilar metals in contact with each other.

Ed


#8

Here is a photo of the existing flashing.
Can you tell if it is through the wall flashing?
Should it be replaced?

Thanks for your assistance.


#9

Looks like LCC (lead coated copper) which will last longer than uncoated (red) copper. Through wall normally has about a 1/2-3/4" locked seam running the top edge of the counter flashing near the brick. I don’t see a seam in that picture but I’ve seen some people put the seam inside the brick. May or may not be through wall, ask your roofer how he knew.

Either way the flashing looks fine and if they used LCC for the step flashings also it’s quite possible they can be re-used. I’ve never replaced steps and re-used the counter flashing simply because you’d never be able to get under it to solder your corners.

Replace all or nothing IMO.


#10

If if turns out to be through wall flashing and it is removed, will this create any additional problems (as that one particular roofer suggested … he said it might penetrate all the way in to the flue and if that was the case, I sure didn’t want to remove it)?

Would the replacement of the new flashing become any more complicated, and if so, how?

Thanks again!


#11

It doesn’t go all the way through to the flue. That guy is just trying to scare you away from doing it right or in a way that would take some additional time and effort. Jeez!!! Or, he just plain old, doesn’t know too much about flashings and roofing.

I can’t tell from my screen whether or not that is Lead Coated Copper or another type of metal.

It looks like the top edges are embedded into the horizontal mortar joints, but because of the amount of metal pushing away from the vertical joints, they might not have cut them in, or cut them in deep enough.

I can not comment about the quality remaining at the base of the flashings, because they are coated with roofing cement, which is many roofers talent level for doing what they consider to be a counter-flashing.

Because of the soldered corner or turned around corner, it “May” be difficult to remove and reinstall new baby tin step flashings behind the sheet metal that is attached to the masonry surface.

If you do decide to keep the existing counter-flashings in place, your roofer will have more room to work with, since the height of the roof surface wil go down, especially if it is a multi-layer tear-off. They “Should” be able to install new baby tins with that extra room.

Also, they should be scraping out the old caulk and loose mortar from the reglets and filing those channels back in with either new mortar or a high grade of caulking sealant, preferably, Geocel, Vulkem or NP-1.

Ed


#12

What the Hell is a “Baby Tin” thats a new one.


#13

It is a regional term Jim. I am surprised you have not noticed that much earlier than just now.

I know when I order my baby tins in bulk quantity from Raytec Manufacturing, the guy immediately said that I must be from the midwest around Chicago.

When just the term, Step Falshing, by itself is used, that can mean the stepped counter flashings and leads to confusion answering questions.

Ed


#14

**If if turns out to be through wall flashing and it is removed, will this create any additional problems (as that one particular roofer suggested … **

No, it will not cause additional problems.

he said it might penetrate all the way in to the flue and if that was the case, I sure didn’t want to remove it)?

That is the definition of a through wall flashing. It penetrates the wall and will then turn up 1/2-3/4". When replacing you just cut the existing copper as close as possible to the brick, hammer it flat and cut your new counterflashing in on the next available mortar line above the old. The result is a slightly larger flashing but it is installed the same as any other chimney flashing.

When just the term, Step Flashing, by itself is used, that can mean the stepped counter flashings and leads to confusion answering questions.

I’ve roofed in three totaly different regions of the United States, steps go from deck to wall, counter covers the steps… Never had any confusion there.
/shrug


#15

My impression from the picture is that there is block of some type behind the copper (not lead coated) stepped counter flashing. And that the flashing could very well be through the wall. The flashing is not pushed away at the verticals, but is bent around the block.

The soakers, the L-shaped flashing tins between the roofing and chimney, are likely also copper and can probably be reused as they usually receive very little wear.

If the mortar is sound and the flashings in good shape I would recommend reusing them.
If not, the counter flashing, if through wall, can be cut about an inch from the horizontal joint and hemmed as a reglet to receive new counter flashing. The new counter flashing is locked to the reglet and dressed down against the chimney.


#16

I don’t see an apron on the lower slope of the chimney.
Do my eyes deceive me?
And, why is there tar on the copper?


#17

[quote="-Axiom-"]I don’t see an apron on the lower slope of the chimney.
Do my eyes deceive me?
And, why is there tar on the copper?[/quote]

Your eyes are not deceiving you.My eyes missed that(I was too busy looking at all of the tar on the chimney.)LOL


#18

Hello,

It looks to me like the chimney goes up the side of the house. That being the case the front metal would not need to be that big. The metal could also be covered with a shingle. The OP did not say anything about bad leaking or bad water stains so IMO there is metal there it is just not visible in the picture.

Keith