Inspect your flashing

December 02, 2013
 Inspecting your roof? Don’t forget the flashing

It’s your roof’s job to protect your home from the elements. But one element in particular is more difficult to control and that’s water. Your roofing system can’t keep out water without flashing. While any homeowner knows what a roofing shingle is, many are unfamiliar with flashing and consequently, it is often overlooked. So when you’re inspecting your roof, don’t just look at the shingles and gutter system; pay attention to the flashing as well.

Types of flashing

Flashing is designed to keep water out of the most vulnerable parts of your roof. Most likely your roof will have flashing at roof valleys, chimneys, roof penetrations, skylights, rakes, eaves, ridges, and roof-to-wall intersections. Each of these areas is a weak spot in your roof and requires a different type of flashing to protect it from leaks. When inspecting your roof, pay special attention to these areas. Here are the different types of flashing:

  • Step flashing can be found where a sloped roof meets a vertical wall. It’s the step flashing’s job to protect the joints between the roof and the wall

  • Kick out flashing is found around the edge of the roof. Kick out flashing diverts water into the rain gutters as it flows off the edge of the roof. By diverting the water it protects the walls of your home

  • Drip edges can be found along eaves and rakes of your roof. Drip edges keep water from seeping under the roofing

  • Gutter apron flashing, as you can probably guess, protects the area by the rain gutter. It keeps water from running behind the gutters. Without the gutter apron flashing, water can erode the fascia

  • Valley flashing protects the areas where two roof planes come together. It is shaped like a V or W to divert water away from that area

  • Vent pipe flashing protects vents and pipes to keep water from getting in at those areas

Maintaining your roof’s flashing

Assuming the flashing was installed properly, it should continue to function effectively. However, over time flashing can come lose or begin to deteriorate. You should regularly inspect the flashing whenever you are inspecting your roof, ideally every six months. Because installing and repairing flashing is a very technical aspect of roof construction, it’s a job best left for professionals. If you see any corroded flashing or loose flashing, contact a roofing company immediately.

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