Do I need new lead chimney flashing when I replace my roof? This is a common question when evaluating estimates for a roof replacement, as new lead flashing is often mentioned in some estimates, but not in all. The short answer is yes, you 100% need new lead chimney flashing when you replace your roof. When the roofing company also replaces the lead around your chimney, they can own the entire new roof. If they re-use old lead, that can be a future failure point, and in the event of a leak, responsibility would be put on the homeowner.
Lead chimney flashing is sheet lead installed around the area where the chimney meets the roof. Lead flashing ensures that the connection between the chimney and roof is watertight. Lead tents do last for a long time, but it does have an expiration date that varies by wear.
There’re a couple reasons why a roofer may not choose to include new lead in a roof replacement proposal, such as: a) determining the lead is in good condition, or b) making the quote seem more affordable.
Chimney Lead Flashing is in good condition…
During a normal roof replacement estimate or roof inspection, a roofer is able to determine many things, including the approximate age of the roof and the lead around the chimney. Lead flashing can last in excess of 100 years, but most commonly lasts around 30-50 years in the New England area. Roofing shingles today are 50-year shingles and thus only last between 30-50 years. Knowing that a new roof will outlast old chimney lead flashing, it would be wrong of a roofer to leave old chimney lead flashing on a house with a new roof.
A Cheap roof is a more affordable roof…
If a roof replacement proposal does not include new lead flashing around the chimney, the proposal should appear to be between $500-1,000 cheaper. Unfortunately, the proposal is not cheaper, it’s simply missing an integral part of a new roof system, a part that will fail before the new roof does, causing unnecessary problems and expenses for the homeowner.
No matter what the roofer’s reason is for not including new lead flashing in a roof replacement estimate, make sure you ask to have it included. If the contract does not call for new lead, the roofing crew will re-use the old lead and will most likely apply tar to the chimney to ensure it is watertight. The chimney will be watertight for a couple years and then it will leak, causing you to have to re-lead your chimney. Every new roof should have new lead flashing at the chimney to ensure the roof is watertight for a long time and to ensure the roofer owns all the flashing above the roofline.