Custom Copper Chimney Flashing Kits Page

Updated 5 / 2013

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Below are a few examples of chimney flashing kits I've made for clients across the Nation.
In case you have not yet seen my other chimney flashing photo page it shows step-by-step how to re-flash a chimney properly:
http://copper-by-design.com/cc/cf.htm

Here is a link to download a PDF or DOCX file for this information w/pictures to print out
(made for us by a satisfied client named Dominic M. Buccigrossi)
 Reflashing.doc for just the text version

It seems I'm the only shop in Oregon willing to make these sort of custom flashing kits for chimneys, and perhaps the only shop throughout the Continental States. Other shops will not understand this sort of requirements needed for such a kit, or do not want to bother dealing with Homeowners on such small $ orders like this.

This is where I come in

Why is this such a problem that I would need your service?
This is a huge problem in all States, because chimney flashing has clearly been the #1 most neglected area of roofs by even the most professional Roofers when reroofing your house. It is very rare they will even bother to replace the counter-flashing at all, let alone use a rust free aluminum flashing, or any other metal than steel that is sure to rust away over time.

Believe it or not using a cheaper steel flashing in stead of a thicker aluminum around your chimney saves them less than the cost of a cheap burger, but they don't seem to care. Painted steel is use over 95% of the time, even though they know it will not even last as long as just a low life 25 year shingle. Most Roofers I've seen will not even bother to replace that old flashing at all, no matter how rusty it is. As you can imagine steel flashing should never be reused even if it had not yet started to rust. It should always be replaced when reroofing a house, unless it is a better solid copper flashing, since it could not possibly hold up for the next several decades like the new roofing should. It is just plain simple logic, but seems to escape so many Roofers.

I just came back from the Nation MetalCon in Denver 2014 and saw how 90% of what they were pushing was painted steel for exterior applications. It sickened me to see such horrible standards being shamelessly represented there. I kept saying to those reps at each booth: 'You know iron is a 4 letter word, right?'. I would often go as far as to exclaim how I believe 'steel' needs to be made illegal for any roofing applications! They looked at me as if I had just insulted their Wife. Sadly I doubt I had made much of an impact on how they will continue to do business. I go into this in more detail on my web page about Roofing.

If your flashing is not yet showing signs of rust you can do a simple magnet test to tell if you have steel flashing, since only steel with iron will attract a magnet, out of all the many other different types of metal: aluminum, zinc, magnesium, brass, copper, bronze, good stainless steel, titanium, silver, gold, platinum, and several others not mentioned here. These metals may oxidize, but they will not rust within a decade of exposure; causing unsightly stains and developed holes soon after that. Steel is a cheap sturdy metal that handles heat well, but mostly used for it's planned obsolescence than any other reason. The fact it does not last long just helps their profit margin for repeat business, yet how much will you and your house suffer after the leaks start showing from inside before you have a chance to find a reliable Contractor, then wait for them to fit you into their schedule.

Ironically before those same Roofers had mess with your original chimney flashing there in front of them is a good example of how flashing is suppose to look, yet most Roofers will be quick to say it cannot be done that way ever again w/o rebuilding the chimney, but I have personally re-flashed hundreds of chimneys in this manner, proving that is simply not true. They're just too lazy to do it the right way. In many cases they will just smear some tar around the chimney to get them past the 1 year minimum warranty they're obligated to provide, but that certainly will not last more than half a decade at best. Here is a common example of this sort of shoddy workmanship before I replaced the flashing seen on the right.

With my vast experience and unusually high mechanical comprehension I have a pretty good understanding of what it takes to do the job right w/o the need for messy caulk. These flashing kits I make have become a very popular item with clients across the Nation here in the States, since no one else seems to be offering this sort of personalized service to Homeowners, or Contractors. I may not get it perfectly right each time, but I do my best. I resist pushing more parts than what people may need, and wind up having some whole pieces left over when they're done. So, if you do want me to add extra flashing pieces in order to make sure you will have enough, and perhaps be able to replace a piece that may get damaged in the process let me know.

What do you base the cost on with these irregular pieces?
The cost of these kits are based on the final weight to determine exactly how much copper went into it priced at that $20 rate per sq', so you will not be paying for any cut-off waste, let alone an inflated quote you're likely to get from other sheet metal shops. That's one heck of an honest deal that you're not likely to find elsewhere. It's also a detail you can double check when your kit arrives to verify just how honest I was.

For me it's a great way to use up my smaller cut-off scraps of the 20oz copper sheet metal I have left over from larger custom copper projects I build, like chimney caps and turret roof caps, so I am able to sell these kits for lower cost that my other custom work. That's a good 33% less than most of my other custom work.

Although, the more complex sealed crickets I make run the whole $35 sq' for the copper and $15 sq' for the wood support under them. Plus the freight also goes up substantially given their larger size than just a basic flashing kit. This can add over twice the cost to a kit, but it should be well worth the functional advantages.

Why not just aluminum to save money?
I can make these kits in the same thickness painted aluminum if you want, but the disadvantages are not really worth the minimal savings. I appreciate your concern about keeping costs down, but aluminum would be more fragile, the paint and mildew issues decades later making them not reusable the next time your house is reroofed. Also, copper may cost me 5X more than aluminum, but when 90% of your final cost is the wood support under a saddle, design and fabrication labor, a custom crate, truck freight, and then labor to install this after it arrives, so it would be unwise to use a cheaper metal. I trust you can agree it is best to do this with copper and have it done with the piece of mind you're not going to have with other cheaper metals.

As much as 20 years ago I've seen Masons charge upwards of $750 to re-flash a single flue chimney with just cheap painted steel. With inflation imagine what that cost today. They had saved a grand total of $50 by using steel in stead of copper back then at only $3#. If done with copper you should not need to redo it again the next time it is re-roofed. Or perhaps even the next several times. Aluminum would easily last several decades, but the paint would flake off over time and begin to look terrible, so it is not as reusable as copper. It would also crack more easily when your next Roofer has to bend it up to fit the new step-flashing in under it as they re-roof your house, since copper is much more malleable. Another advantage is how it will retard the growth of mildew and moss on the roofing around it.

Isn't this going to be too complicated for me to do?
Believing you can do this may be your most difficult hurdle. Below are several photos of these chimney flashing kits installed by Homeowners just like you. Each piece in these kits are labeled and numbered as to where they go and in what order they are to be installed. We also round off the sharp corners, so there's less chance of getting cut while handling them. We also include the copper roofing nails you'll need, so all you should have to pick up locally is the mortar and some hand tools, as described in the instructions 'PDF' file I provided. These 8 photos show how these pieces are fitted together around the lower corner to seal w/o the need for caulk, while allowing for movement from expansion and contraction of the wood structure against the clay flue as the temperature changes.

Side diagonal step-flashing is set against the horizontal base piece to overlap and fold over.

The horizontal counter-flashing piece overlaps over both of them and folds around the corner.

Then the side counter-flashing piece overlaps those 3 pieces up in the next course of brick above that folded around the corner to help keep this corner sealed even in a wind storm.

Here is a link to an educational video showing an amazing looking copper flashing job that is far more complicated than the kits I supply: http://vimeo.com/30283585 Although, you would do well to consider how it would be far too expensive to be practical, when it would cost several thousand, which is almost as much as a whole reroofing project of your house.

If that's not enough of a deterrent the worst part is how this will be near impossible to reroof around it without destroying all that beautiful work he did, since there's no way to remove the step-flashing around this chimney. I also have a problem with how low he made the side counter-flashing that touches the shingles, which will not allow for any expansion of the house; which will differ from the masonry. Soon after the counter flashing will be crushed from below and destroyed. That is why there needs to be this 2 part flashing system to allow for this movement and maintain a good seal.

Also, the reverse hem of the counter-flashing that penetrates the chimney may seem like a good idea, but that means you have to install it before it gets mortared in, which means the bottom is not attached and the 1/2 that does touch the upper bricks will probably crack apart and fall out of that grove within a year or two, just like with most all tuck pointing work that fails within a few years.

Can CBD make us a reliable custom copper chimney flashing kit?
My base rate for our custom work is $25 to $35 sq' for this copper. Although, I've made up hundreds of these custom chimney flashing kits for as little as $20 sq' for 20oz copper counter-flashing as indicated by the final weight, plus freight if you are not local to us. A single flue chimney flashing kit runs about $250 w/freight.

What about ice & other severe weather condition areas?
For a bit extra I can make these flashing kits with a taller 3" to 4" vertical flange if you want. You may feel it is needed there in your area, due to the more extreme weather conditions you may have; like ice dams forming to back up water under the shingles. Please, mention this when requesting a quote through e-mail, or I may not offer it. I try to refrain from up-selling my clients.

In my effort to seek a better product for my clients I have designed a special type of step-flashing with a pair of 45 degree bends, in stead of just a simple 90 degree bend, which is an improvement over the standard right angle bend configuration normally used. This has several advantages, yet may be difficult to fit into some situations or types of roofing. Here are a few photos of this alternative flashing being installed by one of our clients:

Sealing around the corners of a chimney has always presented a problem to make sure it's water tight without the use of a caulk, which could fail sooner than the life span of the roof. It needs to maintain a seal even in the harshest wind storms. I have found this alternative shape helps in several other ways as well:

(a) navigates the rain water out away from the corners of the chimney a bit better.

(b) slows the water down and reduces upward splattering under the counter flashing.

(c) helps to be able to trim off the commonly compromised and damaged shingles nearest the chimney when replacing the flashing without a full re-roofing project, thus reducing the shingles needing replaced around the chimney.

(d) helps reduce scraping needed where the chimney meets the roof: old caulk or sloppy mortar work.

(e) makes it easier to cut the new grooves without needing to grind so close the the roof.

(f) application of an underlayment resting up against the chimney for added protection is also made possible; without such risk of cracking that membrane needed with conventional flashing.

To see more photos of this installation follow this link:
http://copper-by-design.com/rf/Druschel.htm

Let me know if you need any special configuration and we'll customize your kit.

What about a cricket or saddle?
They are very helpful to divert the rain water and debris off to the sides. I build these custom saddles to match your roof angle with  wood support attached underneath for a sturdy simple one piece installation, in stead of just the normal horizontal tray that traps lots of debris. They run about $45 sq' + freight. Wide saddles over 36" would need to go truck freight, which can be several hundred depending on the size and weight.

This can be one of the most important details of a new flashing kit. The upper side should have a saddle, but it's not required with a flashing kit order. It is just highly recommended in order to help divert the rain water and debris off to the sides of the chimney. As opposed to just a simple straight horizontal tray, like you probably have now. Especially if your chimney is wider across the upper edge.

Those common horizontal trays catch a lot of debris, so they're if not cleaned out frequently that debris compacts and decomposes, holding moisture against the metal between rain storms. I design these saddles to drain the water 2" out past the side flashing. Also made with a wider outlet than any others I've seen, so debris is less likely to damn up. If you are interested in one of these custom saddles please be sure to mention this in your e-mail, or I may not offer it. I try to refrain from up-selling my clients.

With your measurements we make the careful calculations and form this to fit just right and sealed water tight. If you could get some larger sheets of paper to hold up against the sides of your chimney to trace the roof angle and the mortar groves between the bricks that would assure a better more precise kit preformed for you in advance, so little customization is needed by you. Then fold those up and mail them to me. I do not require this. I've made most of our kits from just a few measurements and digital photos to reference. That is just a sure way to make sure this would fit as well as possible.

These photos show duel sided discharge chimney saddle to replace the straight horizontal tray may have. I make it as seamless as possible and sealed with a cover piece over the splits soldered in place. You could make the plywood support for under the saddle, but there is a strong likelihood my copper saddle will not fit perfectly over it, so it's highly recommended to have us fit it in and bond it to the wood, so it has an air tight seal and condensation will not form under the copper to make it all nasty. Otherwise you'll need to use an expensive high temp Water & Ice Shield underlayment, like I use on other projects: http://copper-by-design.com/cw/Edwards.html

A little personal history:
I originally built a sheet metal shop in my basement to custom fabricate my own aluminum drip edge flashing for the gutters I install. A couple years later I paid the 5X cost for roofers liability insurance for several years and replaced many roofs, but with no employees I could not do the volume of work it took to afford that expensive insurance. Over the last 2 decades my little sheet metal shop has grown and evolve to building many different custom aluminum, stainless steel, and now mostly copper rain management products that can be seen on this web site.

I use to be very intimidated by the high cost of copper even before it had doubled in cost back in 2006, so I used a clay red pre-painted aluminum flashing for chimneys, knowing it is a lot better than just the cheap steel that is normally used. I stopped using aluminum all together for chimney flashing around a decade ago. The cost difference between using a cheaper metal was not worth it's disadvantages. Especially considering the amount of labor this type of project requires.

There needs to be this 2 part flashing: the step-flashing is integrated with the roofing and sets up flush against the side of the chimney. Then the counter-flashing is mortared in between the bricks in horizontal lines only to overlap the step-flashing. This 2 part system allows for the movement that is caused with the expansion and contraction of these 2 very different types of structures: wood and brick, while maintaining this seal. Of course the bricks will expand with temperature changes differently than the wood structure of the house. Even 1/4" movement would be enough to rip open any other system used to seal the chimney to the roofing. This is not a new method by any stretch. It is a time tested technique used for centuries, and I have yet to see a better technique for this purpose. Elastic rubber membranes will remain flexible for only so long, and will not outlast even steel flashing.

What info do you need from me to make a good custom kit?
(a)
Good clear photos. Fortunately most people now days have a digital camera and know how to send picture through e-mail. I've successfully worked with thousands of client this way over the last decade. Most of my clients have been back East on the other side of the country.  It's important for me to see what your situation is up there, so I'll need some fairly close-up photos showing the sides of the chimney where it meets with the roof, as well as whole shots.

(b) The roof angle is important, so I can cut the counter-flashing at just the right angle, minimizing the copper you'll have to pay for and less cutting copper pieces there up on the roof to fit. The roof angle is based on how far the roof drops for every 12" straight out. It's best to have a level to make sure the 12" is horizontal, then just how far straight down from the end. You can use a board laid flat on the roofing to get a better idea of the real slope of the roof, as shingles can be lumpy.

(c) The measurements of the chimney at the point where it meets with the roof of course. These measurements should be as accurate as possible, so I can do as much cutting and bending for you as possible, so you will not have to do much customizing yourself up there up on your roof.

(c) As I said above it would greatly help if you could get some larger sheets of paper to hold up against the sides of your chimney to trace the roof angle and the mortar groves between the bricks. That would assure a better more precise kit preformed for you in advance, so little customization is needed by you. Then fold those up and mail them to me. I do not require this. I've made most of our kits from just a few measurements and digital photos to reference. That is just a sure way to make sure this would fit as well as possible.

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Client Installed Chimney Flashing Photos
proof that Homeowners can do what most Contractors are unwilling to do

Fenley kit $175.20 Milino, Or (6/08)

Upper left side discharge chimney cricket

Chris and Traci Michaud $390.40 Portland, Or (6/10)

Gary & Diane Stensland kit $635.90 shipped to Urbana, IL (10/10)

Nance kit $576.90 shipped to Evansville, Indiana (11/11)
Curt Nance has a neat remodeling blog to show his chimney flashing kit being installed:
http://misadventuresinremodeling.wordpress.com/category/chimney/




Also, check out his DIY Valentine tribute.
Hien Le kit $860 shipped to Potomac, MD (12/11)

He has put together a great set of 70 photos on his Goggle account
Sadly the Roofer he hired to do this neglected to follow my instructions
and ruined parts of this kit, and needs to redo it.

Kurchak kit $1,247.25 shipped to Heartland, VT (5/12)

Kent greatly impressed me to have tackled this on his own over a steep 10/12 pitch roof, and did an impressive job of it. He was also kind enough to write this details report for us to share with you.

From: Kent Kurchak <kent@waresource.c*m>
Date: Fri, 25 May 2012
Subject: RE: complete chimney flashing with cricket

At 07:34 AM 5/25/2012, you wrote:
David - just to let you know I have finished installing the cricket and flashing.

I can't say it was "easy" mostly because working on a 10/12 roof much energy is spent getting up and down the ladder/crawling boards and trying not to fall off. There never seemed to be a comfortable working position!
Hi again Kent,
That's great to hear and thank you for taking the time to write me this detailed report, which is very rare. I really do appreciate this sort of feedback. It helps me get a better grasp on how my instructions are perceived by our clients. I'm also glad to hear you are OK after all that. Did you use a foam cushion pad to help your position on the roof?
Having the plywood under the cricket was essential, as it proved to be a good foot rest many times when monkeying around up there. Without it I would have surely crushed the copper alone.
Good to hear. I hate to push it on clients, as if I'm just looking to increase my sales. It's tricky to express how important it is without seeming like I'm just up-selling them.
I found even more problems with the roofer's work with the old shingle-covered cricket as I tore it off. What a piece of crap work they did. I also found a place where they just drove a roofing nail through the middle of a shingle, so I took care of that while I was up there. Almost like they did on purpose to get a call back after the warrantee period expired.
I'm not surprised. I've discovered many a horror story in my travels. I found one case where a 'professional' had lined a rusty internal roof scupper with aluminum cooking foil without any tape or caulk. It was one of the most ridiculous things I had ever seen:
http://dmr-gutters.com/cg/Stevenson.htm
Grinding out the old lead flashing was a pain. I have a 4-1/2" ryobi circ saw (diamond blade) that did the job with a small bit of chisel work. But did follow your advice to remove the plate from my big/old circ saw (also diamond) to get deep enough for the new flashing. I had my shop vac up on the roof (strapped to the chimney) to suck most of the dust while sawing the joints (especially during  the lead removal part).
I thought you were just going to use a scraper to shave it off? The vacuum was a good idea. How did you manage to rig up the end of the hose near to where you were grinding? Was it able to plug into your saw?
In VT we often have roof ice damming problems during the Winter, mostly at roof's edge but also around warm chimneys, so I opted to strip back the shingles and apply the Grace ice shield detail (18" wide) sticky membrane up almost 4" around all sides (using urethane caulk at the top against the brick as recommended by Grace) and then onto the deck. I laid 6" strips on top of  the nails on the cricket nailing flange, crisscrossing at the top of the "V". I also applied another 3" strip on top of the copper step flashing on the front and sides, which you can see at points on the sides.
As I said before I've not been impressed with any of Grace products, and it seems counter productive to make a bridge from the roof to the brick, since it will need to move, but I suppose it should not hurt much. It's just going to be a mess when your house needs reroofed next.
I am attaching a few pictures.

1162 shows the dry fitting on the back. I felt that the bottom corner was missing something, a wrap-around piece like the front, so for that bottom right piece I ended up bending it around the corner and over the end of the cricket as shown in 1170. Sorry I don't have a picture looking down on it. I studied https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-GdUjG0U5I2w/TvdFOcJyI8I/AAAAAAAACdM/-iP9xZNpqZA/s640/L1030783.JPG where they used a ton of black caulk for the corner, which to me didn't seem adequate.
I meant for there to be 6 pc counter flashing up the sides. The last one should have been able to over lap the cricket flange. That was the missing piece you noted. You should have given me a call and texted me a photo while you were up there.
I used Henry 212 clear elastomeric caulk for all vertical joints. It turned a little white when I did the final hose down, but should turn clear.

I used black roof patch caulk under the shingle edges along the cricket flange including a massive amount along the edge of the cut shingles to keep water from flowing under the shingles.
Theoretically this kit should have been plenty without the need for any of that messy caulk. If I knew you would have been so concerned about this I could have made this kit to have taller flanges, but I try to not treat my clients like they're made of money, and do what I can to help keep costs down, while still providing them with a good effective product. I could have made the step 3: tall and the cricket flange 9" of you wanted.
OK, that yellow crap in the ends of the cricket cavity is Great Stuff Window and Door. I folded the two tabs over the cavity (the third tab is under there, the step flashing that you had folded up the corner of) after spending time thinking how running water works. I didn't see a need for the little tab to kick water out any further. (as per https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-MzTqiSC6CI4/TvcruOKGuZI/AAAAAAAACbM/JWKubeXUTgU/s640/L1030760.JPG). Then I thought like a bee and realized that cricket would soon be a huge hornet's nest. And then the ice damming potential. I used Great Stuff to hopefully seal off the cricket from all those forces. Ugly, but hopefully it will turn a darker color. Admittedly I squirted about three times as much as I needed thinking it would expand upwards, but it kept expanding out the front for half an hour and I kept grabbing off big blobs, ending up spearing it around.
Well, at least it will be sure to keep out any critters.
I used type N grout with latex additive for the liquid...and used a grout bag, which made it really quick to regrout. I had never repointed brick, but it seemed to go well, (used a little 1/2" grouting trowel and striker tool, finished with a masonry brush). I did not make a big effort to clean off all the grout off the copper or brick. And in general I am a sloppy caulker, so the copper isn't as pretty as other pictures on your site! We had some small showers during the week, so the copper is already starting to age.

I was nervous at first, but I was very happy that you generally guessed the brick/grout height correctly, so counter flashing laid down enough over the step flashing. Could it have been a little longer to have maybe 1/2" more overlap  (and the step flashing just a little taller, again for ice damming concerns)? Yes, maybe, but there is also something to be said for an open channel along the step flashing and below the counter flashing so the water evacuates quickly. I keep reminding myself that I was not building a boat here and the likelihood of that much back up from ice damming or a rush of rain is going to overwhelm the step flashing is really rather remote. And with the well-conceived cricket kicking the water coming down from the roof above out 4", there won't be that much water on the sides anyway. I think it will all work out very well, and is far and away tons better than what was up there before.

OK, raining today so glad I got it all done!
I am very impressed you were willing and able to tackle this on your own. This sort of work on a less steep roof is too much for 90% of licensed Contractors and their workers, let alone the typical Homeowner. Now your friends and neighbors are going to want to hire you to do this on their houses.
Thanks again for making the kit and getting it done so quickly!

I aim to please.

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