When most people think of roofs, roof flashing is never the first thing to come to mind. Most homeowners have no idea what flashing is or what purpose it serves. However, this unappreciated part of your roof structure protects your home from the elements.
Roof flashing is essentially waterproof material used to seal off certain areas of the roof to prevent moisture from seeping in and causing the structure to deteriorate. Various types of roof flashing are available; without this structure, your roof would not last long.
To help you understand what roof flashing is, we’ll talk about the various types available, the importance of such as structure, and a few tips on recognizing a potential problem with your flashing. We’ll also talk about how to maintain roof flashing.
What Purpose Does Roof Flashing Serve?
Roof flashing’s primary function is to divert water away from vulnerable roof areas, such as valleys, joints, vent pipes, chimneys, and more, where leaks are likely to occur. It aids in directing rainwater down and off the roof, safeguarding the supporting structures while preventing water damage to the building’s interior.
Because of their longevity and resilience, typical roof flashing materials include metals such as aluminum, copper, or galvanized steel. They are typically installed in overlapping layers for added protection. The sheets are molded into various forms and configurations to fit specific roof areas.
Types Of Roof Flashing
Now that you understand what flashing is and what it does, let’s discuss the various types. Although the basic concept of roof flashing remains the same, various kinds work better in certain places than others. Let’s explore seven of the most common.
1. Continuous Flashing or Apron Flashing
An apron or continuous flashing is used when a chimney or vertical wall meets the roof. It is usually constructed of metal and extends along the joint horizontally. Apron flashing helps to keep water away from the junction and directs it away from the exposed area, preventing water damage to the roof and supporting structure.
2. Base Flashing
To prevent water penetration, base flashing is often installed at the base of vertical walls. It sits between the roofing material and the vertical surface, producing a watertight barrier. The purpose of base flashing, usually made of metal, is to direct water away from the junction while safeguarding the structure underneath from water damage.
3. Counter Flashing
Counter flashing is positioned either over or opposite from base flashing. It is most frequently utilized in the space between the surface of a roof and a chimney or wall. Its purpose is to safeguard the base flashing.
Although it is often installed with a new roof, you can install counter flashing later to offer more protection to the roofing system.
4. Step Flashing
Step flashing is installing L-shaped roof flashing material around where the roof joins a sidewall. Because this sort of flashing is partially visible, many opt for a pricier material to complement the façade of their properties better.
5. Valley Flashing
This type of flashing is used in roof valleys, where two sloping roof planes meet. Water is meant to be directed away from these weak spots, preventing leaks and water accumulation. Valley flashing, which helps direct water down the slope and protects the roof from water penetration, is commonly constructed from metal and installed in a V-shape along the valley.
6. Diverter or Kickout Flashing
In cases where a gutter runs up against a sidewall, kick-out or diverter flashing is required. This flashing style redirects water away from the sidewall and toward the gutters, preventing it from running down the sidewall.
7. Drip Edge Flashing
Roof flashing along a roof’s margins is called drip edge flashing. Usually, it is a short, angled metal strip that sticks out from the roof edge.
To stop water from seeping underneath the shingles and harming the roof deck or fascia, drip edge flashing deflects water away from the roof, into the gutters, or off the roof entirely. It guards against water-related problems like rot and mold and preserves the roof’s structural integrity.
Signs That You May Have A Problem With Your Roof Flashing
The truth is that trying to identify a potential problem without the trained eye of an expert isn’t easy. We recommend calling your roofing contractor if you suspect any issues. However, here are a few signs you can look for that may signal the need for roof flashing replacement:
- Visible damage to your flashing
- Loosened roofing cement
- Mold formation
- Water damage or roof leaks
- Rust or corrosion of your roof flashing
- Loose or misplaced flashing
- Separation at the joints
If you notice these issues, it’s important to contact us as soon as possible. Because roof flashing serves such an important function, a failure to address these issues timeously could lead to costly repairs or even a roof replacement, costing you thousands of dollars.
Tips For Maintaining Roof Flashing
Here are a few tips on how to take care of your roof flashing:
- Make sure you’re checking the condition of your flashing regularly to determine whether there is a potential problem.
- Keep your flashing clean and free of dirt and debris.
- Replace or repair damaged flashing as quickly as possible to prevent damage to the underlying structures.
- Check that all gaps between flashing and other surfaces have been properly sealed.
- Hire a professional contractor to handle any issues.
The Bottom Line
Roof flashing serves an essential function in preserving your roof. Since roofs are made from materials susceptible to water damage, it’s vital to ensure that your roof flashing serves its intended function.
As trusted roofing contractors in Teas, you can count on Austin Roofing & Water Damage | WDR to ensure that every element of your roofing structure works at its best. Give us a call today to learn more about our services!
Frequently Asked Questions
Roof flashing comprises corrosion-resistant metals designed to prolong the lifespan of a roof structure by redirecting water away from crucial areas or weak spots. Different types of roof flashing are used in various places where they serve a similar purpose.
Numerous potential issues might arise if the roof flashing is absent. First, leaks and water damage can result from rainwater leaking into spaces between the roof and adjacent structures, like chimneys or vent pipes. This can damage the building’s structural stability over time and encourage the growth of mold and mildew.
Without proper roof flashing, wind-driven rainfall can also seep through the roof edges and cause water to seep into the materials beneath. Ultimately, a lack of roof flashing raises the possibility of significant water damage, weakened insulation, and pricey roof repairs or replacements to address these problems.
Absolutely. It protects vital structures from moisture damage, such as the roof and the building beneath.
Flashing can be seen on a roof as thin metal strips or sheets placed strategically where the roof changes or meets adjacent structures. Depending on the precise location and use, flashing can take on a variety of shapes and configurations. Step flashing, for example, is installed in an L shape.
We recommend having your roof inspected at least once or twice a year to assess the condition of your flashing and other elements of your roofing structure.
The most common roof flashing materials include the following: