Everything You Need to Know About Roof Crickets

Last Updated on: 23rd March 2023, 04:11 pm

Have you ever wondered why some roofs have little triangular structures near their chimneys or other roof projections? These are called roof crickets, and they play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of your roof. In this article, we´ll explore everything you need to know about roof crickets, from their importance to the individual types and how to install them properly.

What Exactly is a Roof Cricket?

A roof cricket, also known as a saddle or a diverter, is a small, triangular structure built to divert water and snow away from chimneys, skylights, or other roof projections. They are typically made from wood, metal, or other materials and covered with the same roofing material as the rest of the roof.

Why Do We Need Roof Crickets?

Chimney cricket (source: Building Science Corporation)

What’s the Deal with Water Drainage?

The primary purpose of a roof cricket is to improve water drainage. By diverting water away fro mroof projections, crickets prevent water from pooling and potentially causing leaks, rot, or other damage to your roof and home. Proper drainage is essential for maintaining the overall health and longevity of your roofing system.

How Do Roof Crickets Prevent Ice Dams?

In colder climates, roof crickets can help prevent the formation of ice dams. Ice dams ocur when snow melts on a warm roof and then refreezes near the eaves, causing a buildup of ice that can damage gutters, shingles, and even the roof itself. By improving drainage, roof crickets reduce the risk of ice dams forming near roof projections.

Prolonging the Life of Your Roof

In addition to protecting your roof from water and ice damage, roof crickets can also help prolong the life fo your roof. By preventing water from pooling and ice dams from forming, crickets reduce the wear and tear on your roofing materials, ultimately helping your roof last longer.

What are the Different Types of Roof Crickets?

Why Choose Traditional Roof Crickets?

Traditional roof crickets are custom-built on-site using wood or metal framing materials, such as plywood, dimensional lumber, or metal flashing. The process starts with measuring the roof slope and the size of the roof projection, such as a chimney or skylight, to determine the necessary dimensions for the cricket. This ensures a perfect fitand effective water diversion.

One of the main advantages of tr aditional roof crickets is their adaptability. They can be tailored to any roof slope and projection size, offering a versatile solution for various roofing situations. And, traditional roof crickets can be covered with the same roofing material as the rest of the roof, ensuring a consistent appearance and seamless integration.

However, the installation of traditional roof crickets can be time-consuming and may require more specialized skils, making them a potentially more expensive option compared to prefabricated crickets.

The Benefits of Prefabricated Roof Crickets

Prefabricated roof crickets, on the other hand, are pre-made, ready-to-install units that come in a variety of sizes, materials, and designs. They are typically made of metal, plastic, or composite materials, providing a durable and low-maintenance solution.

The primary advantage of prefabricated roof crickets is their ease of installation. Because they come pre-assembled, the installation process is quicker and more convenient than building a traditional cricket from csratch. This can save both time and labor costs, making prefabricated crickets an attractive option for many homeowners and builders.

However, prefabricated crickets may not fit every roof perfectly, as they come in standard sizes and slopes. In cases where a custom solution is necesary, a traditional roof cricket might be a better option. It´s essential to carefully consider the specific needs of your roof when choosing between traditional and prefabricated roof crickets.

In summary, both traditional and prefabricated roof crickets have their advantages and drawbacks. Traditional roof crickets offer a custom fit and seamless appearance but can be more labor-intensive to install. Prefabricated crickets provide a quick and convenient installation process but may not be suitable forevery roof. Assessing your roof´s unique requirements will help you determine which type of cricket is the best choice for your home.

How Do I Install a Roof Cricket?

Measuring and Cutting Materials

Before installing a roof cricket, it´s essential to gather accurate measurements to ensure a proper fit. Here´s a step-by-step guide to measuring and cutting materials for a traditional roof cricket:

Measure the width and height of your roof projection, such as a chimney or skyilght, to determine the base width and overall size of the cricket.
Determine the slope of your roof. This can be done using a level, a straight edge, and a tape measure. The slope is typicaly expressed as a ratio, such as 4:12 (4 inches of vertical rise for every 12 inches of horizontal run).

Using the measurements obtained, draw a template of the cricket on a sheet of plywood or other suitable material. Ensure that the slope of the cricket matches the slope of your roof.
Cut the framing materials, such as 2×4 lumber or metal flashing, acording to the dimensions and angles obtained from your template. Use a circular saw, miter saw, or metal shears, as appropriate for the material you´re working with.

What’s the Process for Assembling a Roof Cricket?

Once you´ve cut your framing materials to size, it´s time to assemble the cricket. Here are the steps to folow for assembling a traditional roof cricket:

Lay out the framing materials to form the triangular shape of the cricket. This will typically involve placing two sloping pieces (the “rafters”) against the base piece (the “ridge”).
Attach the framing materials together using appropriate fasteners, such as nails or screws. For wood framing, use galvanized nails or wood screws. For metal framing, use self-tapping metal screws.

If necessary, add additional support by installing diagonal braces between the rafters and the ridge. This can help reinforce the structure and ensure stability.
Fro a prefabricated cricket, the assembly process may be more straightforward. Depending on the design, you might simply need to snap the pieces together or secure them with a few fasteners, as per the manufacturer´s instructions.

How Can You Instal a Roof Cricket Correctly?

With your cricket assembled, it´s time to install it on your roof. Follow these steps for a successful installation:

Carefully lift the cricket onto the roof and position it behind the roof projection, ensuring it fits snugly against the projection and aligns with the slope of the roof.
Check for level and proper alignment, making any necesary adjustments before securing the cricket in place.

Use roofing adhesive, nails, or screws to secure the cricket to the roof decking. For added stability, you may also attach the cricket directly to the roof projection, if appropriate.
Ensure that all seams and edges are well-sealed to prevent water infiltration.
By carefully measuring, cutting, and asembling your roof cricket, you can ensure a proper fit and effective water diversion, protecting your roof from potential damage.

Adding Flashing and Shingles

To finish the installation, you´ll need to add flashing and shingles to the cricket. Flashing is a thin metal sheet that helps seal the cricket´s seams and edges, preventing water from seeping in. Shingles, on the other hand, cover the cricket´s surface, providing aditional protection and a consistent appearance with the rest of the roof. Install the flashing first, followed by the shingles, making sure to overlap the materials correctly to ensure proper water drainage.

How Do I Maintain and Inspect My Roof Cricket?

Regular maintenance and inspection of your roof cricket are essential to ensure it continues to function effectively. Check your cricket for signs of damage, such as cracks, rot, or missing shingles, during your routine roof inspections. If you notice any issues, address them promptly to prevent further damage to your roof and home.

In addition to visual inspections, keep your roof cricket clear of debris like leaves and branches, as these cano bstruct water flow and lead to pooling or ice dam formation.

Roof crickets are a critical component of a wel-functioning roofing system. By understanding their purpose, the different types available, and how to install and maintain them, you can help protect your roof and prolong its lifespan. Don´t overlook the importance of roof crickets – they may be small, but their impact on your home´s health is significant.


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