A Chimney Cricket Needed (Not A Jiminy Cricket)

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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.

 

 

 

Posted by

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


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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
548,839
Gary Frimann
Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates - Gilroy, CA
California Broker and REALTOR

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.

July 29, 2012 01:24 PM #21
Rainmaker
1,228,927
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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.

July 29, 2012 01:53 PM #22
Rainmaker
1,228,927
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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!

July 29, 2012 01:57 PM #23
Rainmaker
1,228,927
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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!

July 29, 2012 01:59 PM #24
Rainmaker
1,228,927
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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.

July 29, 2012 02:01 PM #25
Ambassador
1,080,362
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

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.

 

July 29, 2012 02:11 PM #26
Rainmaker
1,228,927
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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

July 29, 2012 02:15 PM #27
Rainer
57,445
Wayne Jackson
Lakeshore Realty 208-714-4109 - Hayden, ID
North Idaho Realtor, Serving Coeur dnullAlene and Hayden Lake

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

July 29, 2012 03:29 PM #28
Rainmaker
1,228,927
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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

July 29, 2012 04:04 PM #29
Ambassador
1,486,572
Michael Thornton
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspector - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.0297

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"....

July 29, 2012 04:19 PM #30
Ambassador
1,034,523
Debbie Reynolds
Prudential PenFed Realty, "The Real Debbie Reynolds" Your Clarksville Real Estate Professional, 931-920-6730 - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

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

July 29, 2012 05:19 PM #31
Rainmaker
1,228,927
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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!

July 29, 2012 05:38 PM #32
Rainmaker
1,362,173
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
Keller Williams 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Short Sale - CDPE, REDS

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

July 29, 2012 07:09 PM #33
Ambassador
1,195,936
Tammie White
Benchmark Realty, LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.TWRealtyGroup.net - Franklin, TN
TW Realty Group, Franklin TN, South of Nashville

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.

July 29, 2012 07:14 PM #34
Rainer
165,350
Rob Ernst
Certified Structure Inspector - Reno, NV
Reno, NV-775-342-4767- Inspector & Energy Auditor

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.

July 29, 2012 07:24 PM #35
Rainmaker
1,228,927
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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?

July 29, 2012 08:11 PM #36
Rainmaker
216,218
Tom Bailey
Crystal Coast Realty & Home Services, LLC - Atlantic Beach, NC

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?

July 30, 2012 06:28 PM #37
Rainmaker
1,228,927
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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

July 31, 2012 03:04 AM #38
Rainmaker
216,218
Tom Bailey
Crystal Coast Realty & Home Services, LLC - Atlantic Beach, NC

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. 

August 01, 2012 04:03 AM #39
Rainmaker
1,228,927
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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

August 01, 2012 05:31 PM #40
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Rainmaker
1,228,927

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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