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Everything You Need to Know About Roof Flashing

By on October 21, 2022

If you’re a homeowner, you know there’s always something to be fixed or improved on your property. One of the most common areas of focus is the roof – keeping water out and protecting your home from the elements is essential. While you may be familiar with roofing materials like shingles and tiles, you may not know much about roof flashing.

Roof flashing is a thin metal or other material installed around objects that protrude from a roof, such as chimneys, vents, and skylights. Its purpose is to prevent water from seeping behind these objects and damaging the roof. Roof flashing can be made from a variety of materials, including metal, plastic, and rubber. It is typically installed during the roofing process but can also be added later if there are any gaps or defects in the flashing.

But is everything to know about roof flashing? And why is it so important? Let’s discuss.

Types of Roof Flashing

Here, we discuss the several types of roof flashing so you know which is suitable for your roof.

Base Flashing

Base flashing is a process used in roofing to ensure a watertight seal around the base of a chimney or other penetration. This is accomplished by installing a metal flashing that extends up the sides of the chimney and over the top, then attaching it to the roof deck with nails or screws. The purpose of base flashing is to provide a barrier against water infiltration that could cause leaks and damage to the interior of your home. Base flashing is typically used with other types of flashings to protect other areas of the roof.

Counter Flashing

Counter flashing is installed over the top of base flashings. The counter flashing is fastened to the wall with nails, screws, or adhesive. The counter flashing material is cut to fit the contours of the base flashing and extends up the vertical surface of the wall.

The purpose of counter flashing is to provide a watertight seal at the junction between the two dissimilar materials. Sealing this junction prevents water from penetrating into the building through cracks or gaps in the flashings.

Apron Flashing

A roof apron is flashing installed at the roof’s edge, usually where there is a wall intersection. It is used to shed water away from the roof’s edge, and Apron flashing is typically made of metal but can also be made of other materials, such as plastic.

Kickout Flashing

Kickout flashing is a type of roofing material that is used to direct water into the gutter. It is installed between the roof boundary and the gutter and extends from the wall at an angle.

Kickout flashing is essential because it helps to prevent water damage at the base or the side walls of your house. Without kickout flashing, water can seep into cracks and crevices, causing damage to the structure and paint. Kickout flashing also helps to keep insects and other pests out of these areas.

Valley Flashing

A valley on your roof is where there is an inward curve, allowing the water to gather and weaken the roof. Valley flashing is used to seal the valleys of a home’s roof, which keeps the water flowing straight to the gutter. Valley flashing is typically made from galvanized steel, aluminum, or copper. Valley flashing is installed over the roofing felt and under the shingles to create a watertight seal.

When to Replace Your Roof Flashing

Roof flashing is an easy thing to overlook, but it’s actually a significant part of your roofing system. Over time, though, flashing can become damaged or deteriorated, and when that happens, it needs to be replaced. Here are a few signs that it might be time to replace your roof flashing:

  • There are cracks or holes in the flashing
  • The flashing is rusted
  • The flashing is coming loose

Typically, it would be best if you had your flashing inspected every 10-15 years. It’s always best to consult with a professional roofer. They’ll be able to inspect your roof and let you know if the flashings need to be repaired or replaced. If the flashing has worn out completely, it will also damage your roof. Therefore, a professional roofer will also let you know if you need to install a new roof.

Common Reasons Roof Flashing Fails

Roof flashing can fail for many reasons, but some are more common than others. Below, we discuss why roof flashing fails.

Improper installation is one of the most common causes of roof flashing failure. If the flashing is not installed correctly, it can allow water to seep in and cause damage to the roof.

Another common reason for roof flashing failure is inadequate ventilation. If the attic is not adequately ventilated, it can cause the temperature to fluctuate, which can cause the flashing to expand and contract, eventually leading to failure.

Climate is also a factor in roof flashing failure. In areas where the temperatures soar high in summer and drop below freezing in winter, the flashing can expand and contract too much. This weakens the materials and reduces their effectiveness.

Finally, poor maintenance is another common reason for roof flashing failure. If the gutters are not cleaned regularly or are allowed to become clogged, it can stress the roof and cause the flashing to fail.

Roof Replacement vs. Roof Repair

When it comes to your roof, you may be wondering whether you need a replacement or a repair. Here are some key factors to consider when making your decision:

The Age of Your Roof

If your roof is over ten years old, it may be time for a replacement.

The Condition of Your Roof

If your roof is leaking, has minor damages, or causes ventilation issues, a repair may be all that is needed. However, a replacement may be necessary if the damage is extensive, such as missing shingles or major structural damage.

The Cost

Roof replacements can be expensive, so a repair may be the best option if you are on a tight budget.

Your Goals

If you want to improve your home’s curb appeal or increase its value, a replacement may be the way to go.

Key Takeaways

Roof flashing is an essential part of your roofing which protects your roof and the structure beneath primarily from water damage. There are various types of roof flashing, including base flashing, counter flashing, apron flashing, and valley flashing. It is important to maintain the flashing regularly to extend its lifespan. However, if you ever feel your roof is bearing too much damage, it is best to call a professional roofer to repair or replace your roof.