Roof Cricket 101: What It Is and Why Your Roof Needs One

Roof Cricket 101: What It Is and Why Your Roof Needs One


A roof cricket, also known as a saddle, is an essential roofing feature designed to divert water away from critical areas where it’s likely to accumulate and cause damage. Its role in preventing water damage and ensuring the structural integrity of a building cannot be overstated.

Here’s an overview of what a roof cricket is, its importance, and how it works to maintain a healthy roofing system.

Understanding Roof Crickets

1.     What Is a Roof Cricket?

  • A roof cricket is a peaked structure built on the backside of a chimney or along a roof valley. It is designed to divert water around these structures, preventing pooling and subsequent leakage or damage.

2.     Importance of Installing a Roof Cricket

  • Prevents Water Damage: By directing water away from potential pooling areas, a cricket helps protect the roof’s surface and underlying structures from water damage.
  • Maintains Structural Integrity: Water infiltration can weaken structural elements over time, leading to costly repairs. A roof cricket helps avoid these issues.

3.     Designing an Effective Roof Cricket

  • The design of a roof cricket varies based on the roof’s slope, the size of the chimney or obstruction, and the local climate. An effectively designed cricket ensures that water is quickly and efficiently diverted away from vulnerable areas.

4.     Key Takeaway

  • Installing a roof cricket is crucial for any roof, especially those with chimneys, vent pipes, or adjacent roof planes. It plays a vital role in diverting water, preventing leaks, and maintaining the overall health of the roof.

5.     Potential Issues from Lack of a Roof Cricket

A close-up image of a roof cricket on the backside of a chimney, diverting water from the roof.
  • Without a roof cricket, water can pool around chimneys or in roof valleys, leading to leaks, structural damage, mold growth, and a shortened lifespan for roofing materials.

A well-designed roof cricket is an indispensable component of a healthy roofing system, effectively preventing water from pooling and causing damage. It’s a small investment that pays off by maintaining the structural integrity of the building and preventing costly repairs down the line.

Understanding the role and importance of a roof cricket can ensure that your roof is equipped to handle water diversion efficiently, keeping your building safe and dry through all seasons.

Understanding Roof Crickets

Understanding the structure and functionality of a roof cricket is crucial for maintaining the health and integrity of your roof, especially in areas prone to heavy rainfall. Roof crickets are specifically designed triangular structures that play a vital role in water management on rooftops.

Here’s a detailed look into what a roof cricket is, its unique design, and how it works to divert water away from critical areas of the roof.

Definition and Purpose of Roof Crickets

1.     What Is a Roof Cricket?

  • A roof cricket, sometimes referred to as a saddle, is a small, triangular-shaped structure constructed on the upper side of a chimney, skylight, or along roof valleys. It’s designed to divert water and debris away from these areas, ensuring that water flows off the roof efficiently.

2.     Importance of Roof Crickets

  • The primary purpose of a roof cricket is to prevent water from pooling behind chimneys or other rooftop projections. By directing water flow away from these structures, roof crickets play an essential role in preventing water damage, leaks, and the deterioration of roofing materials.

Design and Functionality

1.     Triangular Design

  • The distinctive triangular design of a roof cricket is what makes it effective. The highest point of the triangle is always adjacent to the chimney or rooftop projection, gradually sloping down to the roof surface. This shape allows water to be diverted around the obstruction and flow towards the gutters or edges of the roof.

2.     Differences from Standard Roof Slopes

  • Unlike standard roof slopes, which are designed to guide water off the roof’s surface broadly, roof crickets are targeted solutions. They address specific problem areas where water is likely to accumulate, providing a focused method for water diversion.

3.     Mechanism of Water Diversion

  • The mechanism by which a roof cricket diverts water is straightforward yet effective. As rainwater flows down the roof, it encounters the cricket’s sloped sides. Instead of allowing water to pool behind obstructions, the cricket’s slopes redirect the water to either side of the chimney or projection, guiding it safely away and preventing accumulation.

A roof cricket’s unique triangular design and strategic placement make it an indispensable component of effective roof water management systems.

By understanding the purpose and functionality of roof crickets, homeowners and builders can ensure that their roofs are equipped to handle water flow efficiently, preventing potential damage and extending the lifespan of the roof.

Whether dealing with new construction or updating an existing roof, incorporating a properly designed roof cricket is a smart step toward maintaining a durable and leak-free roofing system.

The Different Types of Roof Crickets

Roof crickets play a crucial role in directing water flow on roofs, especially around obstructions such as chimneys, skylights, and dormers. Understanding the different types of roof crickets, their construction materials, and their specific applications can help ensure effective water drainage and prolong the lifespan of the roofing system.

Let’s delve into the various types of roof crickets, their materials, and their uses.

Types of Roof Crickets

1.     Standard Crickets

  • Used predominantly on sloped roofs, standard crickets are designed to divert water around chimneys or other roof penetrations. Their design varies depending on the roof’s pitch and the size of the obstruction.

2.     Saddle Crickets

  • Saddle crickets are typically utilized on flat roofs to channel water away from walls or protrusions. They resemble a saddle, hence the name, and are crucial for preventing water pooling in areas where the roof meets vertical structures.

Roofing Materials and Installation Considerations

1.     Choosing Roofing Materials

  • The choice of materials for constructing a roof cricket depends on the main roofing materials and the specific requirements for waterproofing and durability. Common materials include metal, asphalt shingles, and rubber membranes for flat roofs.

2.     Metal Flashing

  • Metal flashing is an integral component of roof cricket construction, providing an extra layer of waterproofing. It seals the gap between the cricket and the roof, ensuring that water flows smoothly over the cricket and off the roof without seeping into the structure.
A close-up photo of a roof cricket against a vibrant skyline.

Types of Crickets by Application

1.     Dormer Crickets

  • Designed to prevent water from pooling at the base of dormer windows, dormer crickets require precise installation. Metal flashing is often used to enhance waterproofing, with considerations for matching the dormer’s design and ensuring seamless integration with the main roof.

2.     Chimney Crickets

  • Chimney crickets are essential for diverting water around the chimney base. Effective design considerations include the chimney’s width, the roof’s slope, and the use of durable materials like metal for flashing to prevent leaks.

3.     Skylight Crickets

  • Skylights, while allowing natural light into the home, can be vulnerable to water pooling. Crickets installed above skylights ensure proper drainage, with materials chosen for compatibility with the skylight frame and the surrounding roofing material.

The effective use of roof crickets, tailored to specific needs and roof features, is essential for managing water flow and preventing roof damage. Whether dealing with standard, saddle, dormer, chimney, or skylight crickets, the right materials and design considerations can significantly enhance a roof’s performance and durability.

Metal flashing plays a pivotal role in ensuring that these crickets provide the necessary waterproofing and protection, maintaining the integrity of the roofing system over time.

Benefits and Importance of Roof Crickets

Roof crickets play a pivotal role in protecting buildings from water damage, an aspect crucial for maintaining the integrity of a structure’s roofing system and interior. By effectively diverting water away, roof crickets prevent the accumulation of moisture that could lead to leaks or structural damage.

  • Preventing Water Damage: Roof crickets are architecturally designed slopes built on the roof, particularly behind chimneys or at points where the roof plane meets a vertical surface. These features ensure that water flows off the roof, preventing pooling around sensitive areas that can lead to leaks and water damage.
  • Impact on Roof Cost: Incorporating roof crickets can positively affect overall roofing costs. By mitigating the risk of water damage, the need for future repairs is significantly reduced. This prevention of common water-related issues helps in prolonging the lifespan of the roof, thus ensuring that initial investments in roofing are maximized.
  • Insurance Policy Benefits: The presence of roof crickets can influence insurance policies favorably. Insurance companies often assess the risk of potential water damage when determining premiums. A roof equipped with crickets is seen as less of a risk, potentially leading to lower insurance premiums due to the reduced likelihood of water damage claims.
  • Cost Savings: Investing in a well-constructed roof cricket during the initial roofing process can result in significant long-term savings. It not only reduces the likelihood of expensive repairs but also extends the life of the roof, ensuring that the interior of the building remains protected from water intrusion.
  • Insurance Coverage Implications: Lacking a roof cricket could potentially impact insurance coverage, especially for water-related incidents. If an insurer deems that adequate preventative measures were not taken to avoid common water damage scenarios, it could affect claim outcomes or premium costs.

In summary, roof crickets are an essential component of a well-designed roofing system, offering significant protection against water damage. Their ability to divert water away from critical areas not only saves on costly repairs but also has a positive impact on insurance premiums by reducing risk.

Considering the potential financial and structural impacts, incorporating roof crickets during roofing construction or renovation is a wise investment for any building owner.

Installing and Maintaining Roof Crickets

When considering the installation or maintenance of a roof cricket, it’s crucial to prioritize expertise and regular upkeep to ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your roofing system. Roof crickets, designed to divert water on a roof around projections like chimneys or skylights, play a vital role in preventing water damage and ensuring proper drainage.

  1. Hiring a Professional Roofing Contractor
  • Seek a contractor with specific experience in roof cricket installation. This ensures that they are familiar with the unique challenges and techniques required.
  • Verify their credentials and ask for references or examples of previous roof cricket projects.
  1. Inspecting and Repairing During Reroofing
  • During any reroofing project, thoroughly inspect the existing roof cricket for signs of wear or damage.
  • Address repairs promptly to maintain the cricket’s integrity and functionality, ensuring it continues to divert water effectively.
  1. Regular Maintenance Tips
  • Keep the roof cricket clear of debris, such as leaves and twigs, which can impede water flow and lead to accumulation.
  • Perform regular inspections, looking for any cracks, damage, or wear that could affect performance.
  • Ensure the edges of the roof cricket are properly sealed to prevent water ingress.

Why Professional Expertise Matters Hiring an experienced roofing contractor is essential for several reasons. They possess the knowledge to navigate complex roofing structures, understand how to ensure proper water diversion, and identify potential issues that might not be obvious to the untrained eye. Their expertise ensures that the roof cricket is installed or repaired correctly, safeguarding your home against water damage.

Guidance for Adding a Roof Cricket During Reroofing If you’re considering the addition of a roof cricket during a reroofing project, consultation with a professional roofer is crucial. They can assess the necessity based on your roof’s design and potential water flow issues, ensuring that the addition is both beneficial and effectively integrated into your roofing system.

Maintaining Your Roof Cricket Proper maintenance is key to extending the life and effectiveness of your roof cricket. Regular inspections, especially after severe weather, help identify potential issues early on. Keeping the area clear of debris prevents blockages that could lead to water accumulation and damage.

In summary, the importance of professional expertise cannot be overstated when it comes to installing or maintaining a roof cricket. By ensuring proper installation, conducting regular inspections, and keeping the area free of debris, homeowners can protect their homes from water damage and maintain effective roof drainage systems over time.

Roof cricket should protect the joint between chimney and roof.


Roof crickets are indispensable in safeguarding wood-framed structures from water accumulation and ensuing structural issues. Their strategic installation is paramount in diverting water away, thereby preserving the structural integrity and longevity of the roof.

  1. Essential for Wood-Framed Structures
  • Implement roof crickets to prevent water from pooling on the roof surface, a common precursor to structural problems in wood-framed buildings.
  • Proper design and placement ensure effective water diversion, which is critical for maintaining the roof’s condition.
  1. Risks of Improper Installation
  • An incorrectly installed roof cricket can result in membrane damage, leading to leaks and extensive roof damage that necessitates costly replacement efforts.
  • It is crucial to ensure that roof crickets are installed correctly and inspected regularly for optimal performance.
  1. Maintaining Roof Integrity
  • Grasping the significance of roof crickets is essential for homeowners and building owners alike, as it aids in maintaining the roof’s integrity and averting potential issues.
  • Knowledge and proactive maintenance are key to avoiding water damage and the associated repair costs.
  1. The Importance of Well-Designed Roof Crickets
  • The presence of a well-designed and functional roof cricket is vital for all homeowners, acting as a safeguard against water damage.
  • The design should be tailored to the specific requirements of the roof, taking into account its slope and the local climate conditions.
  1. Consultation with Roofing Specialists
  • Homeowners are encouraged to engage with roofing specialists to evaluate the necessity of a roof cricket for their property, especially if there are concerns about water accumulation.
  • Professional advice can guide the decision-making process, ensuring that the roof is equipped to handle water efficiently.

In summary, the role of roof crickets in preserving the health and integrity of wood-framed structures cannot be overstated.

They are crucial in preventing water accumulation and the potential structural problems that can arise as a result. Recognizing the importance of properly installed and maintained roof crickets is the first step toward preventing costly repairs and replacements.

Homeowners should prioritize the installation of well-designed roof crickets and seek the expertise of roofing specialists to ensure their roofs are adequately protected. This proactive approach not only secures the longevity of the roof but also ensures peace of mind for the homeowner.