Your home’s roof is a combination of several components, including tar paper, shingles, and flashing. Flashing, although often overlooked, is an important component of your roof.
If you’re not certain what it is, flashing is a metal piece used to keep water away from parts of your roof where there’s a form of interruption with the roofing sheets. For instance, where you have your vent pipes and chimneys, the roof flashing ensures that leaks don’t occur. It also shields the roof’s first layering as well as the underlay of the roof.
Now that you know how flashing prevents leakage on your roof, let’s talk about all the interesting facts you should know about this important part of your roof.
What is roof flashing made of?
Several materials are used to make roof flashing. They include steel, aluminum, and copper.
Steel is known for its durability, as well as the fact that working with it is easy, which is why it is one of the most used materials for flashing.
Corrosion resistance is also a quality of galvanized steel.
Copper roof flashing has longevity and durability on its side. It is also loved because it is beautiful and very easy to work with.
However, one worry about working with copper is that it tends to discolor into a patina, so bear it in mind before selecting these materials, and ensure that you’re cool with the aesthetic.
Although aluminum is great due it its lightweight nature and the fact that it forms easily, one concern when working with this material is that it degrades when it comes in contact with alkaline surfaces. So, it is important to coat it when using it alongside masonry and concrete.
If you live in coastal regions, you also need to coat it to avoid corrosion.
Always ensure that the material you choose to work with is in line with the building code. Discuss with your roof contractor to get professional advice.
What types of flashing are there?
There are several types of flashing for your roofs, and we’ll be discussing them briefly.
Base flashing is used for joints that lie between the surface of the roof and a vertical surface like a chimney or wall. It also prevents water from leaking on the roof deck.
Base flashing is used for chimneys requiring two pieces of flashing to make sure rain always comes in contact with a flashing surface that pushes it downwards.
Due to the difficulty in installing flashing around a chimney, roofers now learn to add extra protection.
Also known as apron flashing, continuous flashing is a long metal piece that transports water to the shingle under. This long continuous flashing piece often develops problems flexing when the house expands and also contracts as the seasons change.
If left the way they come, continuous flashing could warp, break, or be unable to keep out water. So, long pieces should go along with built-in expansion joints to allow them to change as the home changes.
Continuous flashing is used at points where a vertical wall and a sloped roof meet to create a horizontal line, such as at a dormer wall.
Counter flashing is positioned above or opposite the base flashing. Its function is to complete the two-way system you find in tricky roofing areas like chimneys.
Drip edges are L-shaped, slim metal flashings at the edge of a roof that leads water to drip safely off the roof without leaking or causing damage to the home.
These pieces of flashing sit at the edge of your roof and are very important parts of your roof system.
Kickout flashing is responsible for leading water from the building wall towards the gutter.
Professional roofers use kick-out flashing to make up for the space between the end of the step flashing and the beginning of the gutter.
As the name implies, this flashing is used where there is an existing skylight. Some roofing manufacturers make the skylight flashlight as a part of their products. Also, some professional roofers either purchase existing skylight flashing or create their skylight flashing.
Step flashing looks like a step when installed, which is where it gets its name from. It is a rectangle piece of flashing with a 90-degree bend at the center.
The step flashing is installed in layers of multiple pieces with shingles to direct the flow of water away from the wall.
Step flashing is used for roof connections between the roof and the wall.
Valley flashing is used to direct water away from your room in a downward direction. They are installed on your roof’s open valleys and are left open without having shingles for covering.
The valleys of your roof are low points, which is why you should ensure that your valley flashing is in perfect shape at all times.