Roof Cricket - What Is It? Where Did The Term Come From?

phone CALL NOW! (256) 445-8835

Roof Cricket – What Is It? Where Did The Term Come From?

Roof Cricket – What Is It? Where Did The Term Come From?

Share This Post:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

If this is the first time you’ve heard about roof crickets, you’ve visited the RIGHT place!

We’re here to fill you in on EVERYTHING there is to know about a roof cricket.

Questions like what is it? Is it necessary? What does it do? And how much will it cost? Will all be answered in this article!

So, hang tight, and let’s get this on a roll!

roof cricket


Why Is It Called A Roof Cricket?

It’s actually a funny story how this term came about. In 1940, there was a movie released called “Pinocchio”. In that movie they had a character called Jiminy Cricket and that sounded like Chimney Cricket so the term just stuck. One of those things that just seems too strange to be true, but it is!


What Is A Cricket On A Roof?

good cricket installation

A roof cricket is also known as a saddle. It is a RIDGE structure installed on a rooftop to reroute water around the high side of the chimneys and transition areas.

In most cases, the roof cricket will have the same pitch as the entire roof, but not all the time.

There are smaller crickets and bigger crickets, and the bigger ones are covered with the same roofing materials as the roof,

While the smaller ones are covered with GALVANIZED steel flashing, a roofer would also build a roof cricket out of the woods!

The roofer puts the chimney cricket into a chimney flashing system during installation.

You may also hear others refer to these as chimney saddles or chimney diverters.



How Does a Roof Cricket Work?

Without a chimney saddle, water can run down the roof’s slope and hit the back wall of the chimney.

It will drain sideways slowly, and your house could end up with a pool of water behind the chimney and could wear off the masonry.

This specific water exposure has become a problem in historical homes because the chimney materials may no longer be accessible for repair.

Well-structured roof crickets can avoid the water and debris backlog from happening. As the water reaches the chimney cricket, it gets pushed to the side and away from the chimney.

The chimney saddle must have a high enough slope to divert water and never reach its peak.

The chimney cricket must also be placed on a higher pitch than the roof plane is installed on. The difference between a chimney and roof cricket is the location.



How To Install A Roof Cricket

Whether part of a weather-related repair job or a re-roofing outline, a roof cricket installation will usually cost $150-$6000.

The price may vary based on a couple of factors that are:

  • Roofing company
  • Roofing material
  • Installation difficulty
  • Accessibility errors that conflict with the process


Installing a roof cricket requires a lot of experience and know-how industry. It is not a DIY-type of a project, so you should not attempt to do so.

Nail placements and other minor issues can affect the effectiveness of the roof cricket and the extension of the roof.

They also include a step flashing on the chimney to compliment the cricket.

The roofing system is that it goes beneath the shingles, covered with roof material so that the chimney will not leak.



Does Every Roof Need a Cricket?


homemade roof cricket

Here is an example of a “cricket” a homeowner tried to make. This of course did not work and resulted in leaks


In short, NO! However…

Both the International Residential and the National Fire Protection Association encourage each homeowner to a cricket installation on the high side of any chimneys wider than 30 in. In my experience, any roof that did not have a cricket, will leak at some point. A cricket will prolong your chimneys and your roofs.

Chimneys and Water

Because of their huge mass, chimneys attract water. Whether it’s the roof exterior or interior, there will be a lot of water flowing down your roof and pooling around the chimneys.

If that happens, it goes under the shingles and speeds up the deterioration of the flashing and brickwork.

Crickets can also be vital in protecting the roofline from a potential roof leak.

Whether it’s rain or snow, the outstanding moisture is enough to install crickets.



What Are Commercial Roof Crickets?

Roof crickets are made in a triangular structure to divert water from different roof areas that may capture water.

The difference between a commercial roof cricket and a regular one is that it’s made out of the insulation. Here are further details:

Roof’s Slope

All roofs must have a slope. There are instances when a “flat roof” is mentioned in commercial roofing, but it can NEVER be flat!

The roof slope can be an outcome of a structure and framing beneath. But if it’s nearly flat, you can add insulation to avoid drains in your house.

The slope must measure 1/8 of an inch per foot. If not on the right slope, you will have standing water that can cause bigger problems.


Cricket Placement

Water must be rerouted in ways that won’t make drains from the shingles or the wall. It must usually be towards the edge and into the gutters.

Water collected on the roof may cause white membranes to fall off. It would be even worse if ponding water brought all the dirt and debris.

The water evaporates from the rest of the roof and leaves all the debris. It makes a dark spot on roofs where UV rays attack the membrane and break it.

You also want to place the cricket in between a possible drain. The drain should be in a space where the valleys are lower than the taper insulation.


Roof Crickets Near Parapet Walls

If there are parapet walls, there should be a scupper. There should be a scupper in the wall for water to escape into a downspout and scupper box.



How to Build a Cricket on a Roof

Note: Professional roofers MUST only install a roof cricket or other metal flashing.

These are only INSTRUCTIONS to homeowners on what roofers should do.

Start Firm

If you’re beginning a new flashing on a chimney without replacing the shingles, you need to remove all roofing layers around the chimney down to the decking.

This includes flashing and shingles. If you’re installing a new roof, start making a cricket frame before the underlayment is installed.


Create a Cricket Frame

Refer to your building code, and find out how high your cricket needs to reach the chimney and the roof slope away from the chimney.

Measure and pin those locations on the center of the chimney wall and perpendicularly to the cricket ridge attached to the roof deck.

Connect it to the deck with framing nails of the right length.


Install Some Support

You must install support beams to the cricket ridge. Each should lay flat against the chimney face and expand to the sides to direct water away.

By not nailing crickets to the chimney, you permit differential movement. This movement stops warping and reduces the possibility of leaks.


Wood Sheath The Crickets

Add wood sheathing or decking to cover the saddle frame. A thin layer of wood will support the next layer of roofing.


Add Underlayment

The whole structure of the saddle structure must be covered with ice and water. It must extend the chimney to the same length as your flashing and add underlayment.






What Are The Benefits to a Roof Cricket?

Yes! There are several benefits to the roofing system when you decide to get a cricket. The main two are


  • Stops any wood rot from too much moisture
  • Helps divert moisture away from the chimney which can help with ice dams in the winter.



Conclusion: How Important Is It?

If your current chimney does not have a cricket and is not leaking, I would not recommend installing a new one. However, if you are planning a roof replacement and do not have one, I think it is very important you ask your roofing company to install a new cricket when they install your new roof.

Share This Post:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

Leave a Comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact us to get your new roof or
roof inspection today!