When you think about roof damage, the first thing that may come to mind is probably damaged or missing shingles. But the flashing that surrounds your chimney is a part of your roof, too. In fact, chimney flashing is one of the most common roof components to show signs of failure and damage. Ultimately, you want to have flashing damage repaired by a professional. But since water can literally gush in behind peeling or loose flashing, you may want to make some temporary repairs yourself — just until your roof repair company can get there. Follow these steps to temporarily secure peeling or loose chimney flashing.
Clean the area up
First, you need to clear any leaves and other debris out from between the flashing and the chimney. Even tiny pieces of debris can stop the cement from adhering properly later on, so be thorough about this. Use a little broom or brush to sweep the debris aside if you have to.
Remove any built-up roof cement or tar
If there is any glue or cement on the edges of the flashing currently, you need to peel it away. One way to do this is to hold the piece of flashing with one hand and use a pocket knife to scrape the glue off. Always scrape away from you so that you don't risk cutting yourself. If you're uncomfortable doing this, then you can instead pull the glue off with pliers, but be aware that this takes a lot of grip and force.
Squeeze on some new roofing cement
With the flashing clean and all traces of glue removed, you can squeeze new glue into place. Use a tube or roof calk or roof cement from the hardware store. Don't use roofing cement from a bucket; it's just too hard to apply in this scenario.
Press everything together, and smooth it out
Once you have roof cement along the edges of the flashing, press them together. Use your hands or a spatula to really press the flashing against itself and against the chimney. Hold it in place for about 60 seconds before releasing; this will help it adhere. If there are any spots where the flashing still seems to be separating from the roof, reapply a little new roofing cement in that area, and then press down on them.
The repairs made following these instructions should keep your chimney flashing in place for at least a few weeks. When your roof repair company comes out, they can do a more thorough repair, either using masonry screws to secure the flashing more completely or replacing the flashing entirely.