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Roof Flashing | 5 Things You Need to Know  

January 21, 2022

Roof flashing is a material that a roof needs to stay dry, which is critical if you want to keep a building free of potential water damage. Yet despite how much every property owner needs it, the truth is that most people don’t know very much about it. At Diversified Roofing, we’re here to give you the details. As specialists in residential roofing and specialty reroofing, it’s time to dive into how flashing works.

Flashing Directs Moisture

You can think of flashing kind of like you’d think of a traffic cop. When it rains, the flashing will route water away from walls, chimneys, and roof valleys. If you know of someone who has a roof leak, chances are it’s happening at one of the flashing locations of the roof. If it wasn’t properly installed in the first place or it’s beginning to break down, the water will make its way into the home.

Common types of flashing installation include:

  • Continuous: This type of flashing is one long piece of metal that is typically built with expansion joints so they can keep up with the settling of the home.
  • Base: Base flashing is two pieces that direct the rain downward at every critical part of the roof. You’ll see counter-flashing installed with base-flashing for added protection.
  • Step: Step flashing is rectangular metal at a 90° angle, typically found at the walls.

There are also different kinds of flashing available based on the characteristics of the roof. So if you have a skylight or an open valley, you may require specialty materials to protect the roof.

Flashing Is Made from Metal

Flashing is made up of thin metal. (The next time you pass a home, take a closer look at the seams of the roof and you should be able to see where the shingles or chimney bricks are covered with reinforcements.) Usually flashing is made from either steel, copper, or aluminum, with steel tending to be the most popular choice. Not only is the look relatively clean, but it’s also great if you’re trying to stay within a budget.

The drawback is that steel may begin to corrode earlier than its more expensive counterparts. Copper is considered to be a better aesthetic choice and it tends to last longer, but you will pay more for those perks.

Flashing Increases the Lifespan of the Roof

Flashing is a non-negotiable for a roof. Even in areas with limited rainfall, you’ll need it to act as a barrier during barely-there drizzles and serious thunderstorms alike. No matter how strong your shingles are, no material is immune from the long-term wear and tear of moisture.

Roof specialists like Diversified Roofing will install flashing at the most vulnerable parts of the surface to keep leaks at bay. This is certainly not the only roofing technique that needs to be prioritized, but it is one of the most important if you want your investment to pay off.

Whether you’re planning to keep the house or sell, you should be thinking in terms of longevity. Quality materials can really improve your resale value — particularly if you live in an in-demand area.

Flashing Is Made to Be Exceptionally Durable

Exactly how long flashing will last will depend on the type of material you choose. In general, a metal like copper will last anywhere from 20 – 35 years, whereas galvanized steel may only last 15 – 20 years. In some cases, homeowners will replace their roof without having to replace their flashing — that’s how strong it is against all of Mother Nature’s forces. So even if a tree branch crashes onto a large portion of the roof, you might be able to keep the original flashing that you have.

Just keep in mind that you don’t want to trade the integrity of the building for an inferior material. Replacing a roof is one of the most expensive projects that you can undertake for your home. If you’re going to spend the money, you’ll want flashing that can live up to the upfront costs.

You Should Have a Professional Replace Your Flashing

Roofing jobs aren’t just dangerous, they’re also exceptionally easy to get wrong. The roof flashing has to be installed without any gaps if you’re going to keep moisture off the property. Professional roofing specialists, like those at Diversified Roofing know how to assess your roof flashing and determine whether the condition of the metal is still doing its job. As long as it’s not damaged or rusting, there’s no need to fix something that isn’t broken.

On the other hand, if you do need to replace it, repairs are better left to the professionals. Not only is it inadvisable to spend hours climbing up and down ladders and lugging supplies back and forth, amateur roof flashing replacements have a tendency to let in the very water and moisture you’re trying to avoid.

When to Get Your Flashing Checked

At Diversified Roofing, we recommend getting your flashing checked at least once a year. Even if flashing is likely to outlive the original roof, getting it inspected can give you a heads up about both it and the overall condition of the roof.

If it’s starting to show signs of wear, it’s better for you to find out now. Water damage doesn’t always show up in the form of an obvious leak. It can easily seep into the walls and manifest into something worse. If you have an attic or crawlspace that you rarely visit, the problem can go undetected for months if you’re not careful.

Contact Diversified Roofing

The staff at Diversified Roofing understands that it’s all too easy for homeowners to overlook some of the most important components of their home. As crucial as flashing is to keeping the building protected, many people don’t know that they have to replace it until the very last minute. This can lead to some very expensive repairs — the kind that could be avoided if the problem was caught early on.

Our team is not only here to help you during emergencies, we’re also here to perform the proactive inspections that can ultimately save you money during the course of your homeownership. If you want to learn more about our flashing repair services, contact us today for more information.

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