Asphalt shingles or metal panels usually get all the credit when it comes to roof performance. People admire the color, style, and durability, but it is crucial to not overlook roof flashings. Poorly installed roof flashings hugely impact the integrity of your roof while properly installed flashings can help it last for decades.
If you are considering a roof installation or roof replacement, making sure you have the best roof flashings is important. Read on to learn about the different types of roof flashings, their installation process, and why they are so important.
What is Roof Flashing?
A roof flashing is a thin material, usually made from galvanized steel, that is installed anywhere your roof connects with a vertical surface such as a wall, chimney, or dormer. Whether you’re aware of it or not, your roof needs flashings for weatherproofing. In any area where water or wind penetration is possible, a professional roofer should install the appropriate roof flashing. This roof flashing is intended to direct water away from sensitive sections of your roof.
Essentially, roof flashings are placed anywhere water collects to help direct the water away from your roof rather than inside your home. Common places you find roof flashings are around the rakes and eaves of the roof, walls, gutters, chimneys, skylights, valleys, and pipe vents. Flashings are arguably the most important aspect of your roof. Without them, your roof would continually leak and cause damage to the remainder of your home. When properly installed, every flashing should overlap to effectively direct water towards the gutters of the roof.
Roof flashings help reduce leak risks in your home while preventing moisture-related issues, including but not limited to: mold, rot, mildew, attic dampness, and a weakened roof structure.
As an added bonus, roof flashings help keep insects out. They block possible entrances, preventing insects from eating through your roof and causing damage to your roofing structure or attic. Many homeowners also enjoy the improved aesthetic that roof flashings give your home.
Types of Roof Flashing
There are four different types of roof flashing. Find out which is best for your home and family below.
For certain features of your roof, two pieces of flashing are required rather than one to properly weatherproof the area. Two pieces of flashing ensure that rain will be directed downward and away from a sensitive area of the room. Base flashing is often used in circumstances like these, especially around a chimney where flashings are notoriously difficult to install, even for experts. It is easy to manipulate into the proper shape.
A step flashing has a rectangular shape. It is usually bent at a 90-degree angle from the middle then used as a wall flashing. Multiple pieces of flashing are often used with step flashing to ensure that water flows away from a wall rather than towards or inside it. Experts install step flashing against any penetrations in the roof to fully protect your roof from leaks.
Step flashing sheds water on its intended course, meaning solders or sealants aren’t required. Step flashings ideally should extend two inches beyond the intended watercourse to encourage proper drainage. Occasionally, you will find step flashing and counter flashing used together. Step flashing is often placed behind the siding of your home where counter flashing cannot fit. It is great to use for protecting siding and walls, as long as you cover the top with some other piece of weatherproofing.
If your roof has any open valleys, then a metal flashing is required to protect the area and keep any leaks from occurring. This is called valley flashing.
A valley in your roof is technically any angle change in a roofing system, so your roof may have many if it is a complex system with different levels and angles. Valley flashing installation can be performed in a variety of different ways. Some experts prefer a no-cut method that relies on a self-adhering ice and water shield up the center of the valley. The valley flashing is installed next, over the top of the water shield. This double layer of protection helps ensure that rainwater drains in the right direction and doesn’t puddle up or cause water damage.
If your home has a chimney, installing well-fitting flashings around it is important since chimneys are a common area for leaks to occur in residential roofs. While base flashings can be used around a chimney, there are also chimney flashings to help make the job easier. These are another version of counter flashings or base flashings. They are made to better fit the area around the chimney to keep water from leaking into the house around the chimney’s base. Chimney flashings may be custom fabricated out of other pieces of flashing using metal saws.
Should I Invest in Roof Flashing?
Investing in roof flashing is a homeowner’s decision. That being said, any expert should tell you that flashings are highly recommended. They are essential in avoiding roof leaks. Without well-fitted, properly installed roof flashings, your home is at risk of leaks, insect infiltration, and moisture damage.
Here are some pros and cons to consider to help figure out if investing in roof flashing is right for you:
- Protect weak points in your roof
- Waterproofing and weatherproofing
- Fewer leaks
- Prevent moisture issues, such as mold and rot infiltration
- Prevent insect infiltration
- Extend the lifespan of your roof
- Improved roof aesthetic
- Extra cost
- Extended construction process
While roof flashings may add a bit to your final roofing installation bill, they end up saving you a lot of money over the years. Roof flashings help reduce your need for expensive roofing repairs since they weatherproof the structure and they will increase the longevity of your roof.
Any expert roofer will recommend roof flashings for your home. This is in no way meant to “upsell” you on a product you don’t need, but rather to make your roof as secure, durable, and reliable as possible. While you technically can install a roof without roof flashings, flashings are absolutely required for weather resistance and roof security. Without them, the junctions of your roof and areas where your roof meets your wall will be at risk of weather, insect, and moisture infiltration.
Talk to the Roof Flashing Experts
When it comes to roof replacements or repairing your roof flashings, trust Long with the job. Visit us online to get all your roofing questions answered or to request an estimate for your roofing project. We can offer a no-nonsense, no-obligation assessment to help get you a beautiful, durable, weatherproof roof as quickly as possible.
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