Flashing is sometimes improperly installed or overlooked during installation. However, it’s an important part of the roofing system. Flashing helps keep the roof airtight and waterproof and it seals the outer envelope to protect the interior of your home from the elements and weather.

Flashing is used around the area of the roof’s surface where a projection, such as a skylight or a chimney, intersects with the roof. If it isn’t sealed properly then these areas can succumb to serious leaks. These intersections contract and expand depending on humidity levels and temperatures. Good flashing allows for the contraction and creates an airtight seal in order to keep moisture out of the home and roof. Water leaks may not be apparent right away inside the dwelling. Homeowners may notice staining around a skylight but leaks developing over joints may not be known immediately. Rainwater might be penetrating through loose flashing into the walls.

Materials Used For Flashing

Flashing can be made from different materials, including composite, plastic, or metal. The most durable is metal. Copper is the most popular choice because it’s durable and has the ability to adapt to weather changes. Lead is another popular type of flashing and is extremely durable. It can last up to 500 years. A large amount can be bad for the environment but it can be a good option for small areas that are hard to access. Plastic is less expensive than metal but it can wear down over time, especially when it’s exposed to sunlight.

Areas Of The Roof That Need Flashing

Flashing should be properly installed during the roof installation. Without proper installation, it can lead to roof deterioration prematurely. Repairing damaged flashing or replacing it can be challenging so it’s important that you choose the right material from the beginning. It should be a high-quality, durable material that is compatible with the other roofing materials. Not all kinds of flashing material will work well with every roof. Flashing can be damaged, even if it has been properly installed, by hazards such as foot traffic or fallen branches. There are certain areas of the roof where flashing is necessary.

Skylights: A piece of continuous flashing is used to create a seal in order to keep water out of a skylight. Skylights will typically protrude out from the roof enough that allows for flashing.

Vents: There are two types of roof vents: pipes and hoods. In order to install a hood vent, you need to cut into the roof to accommodate it. On the roof above the vent area, you need flashing under the shingles. Below the vent, flashing is placed on top of the shingles and sealed. For a pipe vent, the flashing should be placed so it extends eight inches above the pipe, six inches to the right and left of the pipe, and four inches below the pipe. The flashing overlaps the shingles below.

Chimneys: Strips of flashing should be placed around the chimney in order to seal the intersection of the roof and the chimney. Just like with other structural elements, flashing slides underneath the shingles and above it is the chimney.

Dormer: Dormers are structural elements that project from the side of the roof. Windows are often used to create additional headroom in the building and to let in additional light and ventilation to the attic. Flashing should be installed using multiple square pieces added between every row of shingles around the dormer.

Periodic Roof Inspections

Flashing covers some vulnerable parts of the roofing system so it makes sense if you are getting a roof inspection done that the flashing is also inspected. If you keep flashing in good shape then you can also help make sure the roof is secured against unwelcome water leaks. While it can be difficult to repair the flashing, in some cases, the problem can be fixed by simply reattaching the flashing. You should pay attention to your flashing after heavy winds or storms. If you notice rattling sounds that come from the roof during some wind then it’s a good idea to get a roof inspection. It will usually be less expensive to replace damaged flashing than to fix leaks that have caused damage around the exposed roof surface. The flashing will extend the life of your roof system.

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