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Homeowner’s Guide To Roof Flashing & Its Types

Posted on June 24, 2024

Estimated Reading Time : 7 Min.

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roof flashing

Are you looking to learn more about roof flashing and its different types? In this blog post, we will explore everything you need to know about roof flashing, including its importance, function, and the various types available. Whether you’re dealing with a leaky roof or simply want to understand more about roof maintenance, this guide will provide you with essential information to help you make the best decisions for your home’s roofing needs.

What is Roof Flashing?

Roof flashing
Roof Flashing

Roof flashing is pieces of material used to direct water away from certain areas on a roof, such as around chimneys, vents, and skylights, where water intrusion is more likely to occur. Flashing is typically made of durable materials such as aluminum, copper, or galvanized steel and is installed to ensure that water does not penetrate the roof and cause damage to the underlying structure. There are many roof flashing types, each contributing to the protection of your roof. 

The Importance of Roof Flashing

When looking at your roof, you’ll likely see many penetrations, like chimneys, skylights, and vent pipes, protruding from the roof. These penetrations are created by making a hole in the roof deck. Though they each play a role in the roofing system, they can create challenges by allowing water seepage into the roof. Therefore, the perimeters around these roof penetrations need to be covered to prevent water intrusion and damage to the roof. That’s where roof flashing comes into play. 

When installed correctly, roof flashing creates a watertight seal around these areas. Without proper flashing, water can seep into the roof, leading to leaks, water damage, and ultimately, structural issues. It is essential to ensure that the roof flashing is properly installed and well-maintained to protect the integrity of the entire roofing system.

Different Roof Flashing Materials

When it comes to roof flashing, there are several materials to consider. Each option has unique properties and advantages, so it’s important to choose the right one for your specific roofing needs. Here are some common roof flashing materials to consider:

1. Aluminum

Aluminum flashing
Aluminum Flashing

Aluminum flashing is lightweight, easy to work with, and resistant to corrosion. It’s a popular choice for many roofing applications and provides good protection against the elements.

2. Copper

Copper flashing
Copper Flashing

Copper flashing is highly durable and has a long lifespan. It’s also resistant to corrosion and adds a visually appealing look to a roof. However, copper flashing can be more expensive than other materials.

Related: Is Copper Flashing Worth The Extra Cost?

3. Lead

Lead flashing is known for its longevity and malleability, making it easy to form and shape to fit different roof angles and contours. However, lead flashing requires proper installation to prevent environmental contamination.

4. Galvanized Steel

Galvanized steel flashing is a cost-effective option that provides reliable protection against severe weather. It’s durable and can last for many years when properly maintained.

5. PVC  

PVC flashing is lightweight, easy to install, and will not rust or corrode. It’s commonly used in low-slope roofing applications and provides reliable waterproofing.

6. EPDM

EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber flashing is flexible, weather-resistant, and offers excellent durability. It’s often used in flat roof systems and can withstand harsh weather conditions.

When selecting a roof flashing material, it’s essential to consider factors such as your roof type, climate, and budget. By choosing the right material, you can ensure the long-term protection and performance of your roofing system.

Different Roof Flashing Types 

Now comes the main part of the topic: the types of roof flashing. There are many types installed depending on your roofing needs. The following are the most common types of roof flashing that you can consider for your roof. 

1. Step Flashing

Step flashing
Step Flashing

Step flashing is an important yet complicated technique used on sloped roofs. It’s a series of small metal pieces arranged like stairs to protect the roof from the weather. This overlapping design works well on the different angles where the roof meets a vertical wall. Step flashing is a crucial part of maintaining the integrity of the roof structure.

2. Valley Flashing

Valley flashing
Valley Flashing

As the name suggests, valley flashing is installed along roof valleys. Generally made from a single piece of metal, this specialized flashing is skillfully shaped into a V-shape, creating a protective channel that effectively redirects rainwater away from roof valleys and other vulnerable areas. Valley flashing protects the underlying roof structure from water damage, prolonging its life and ensuring the durability of the entire roofing system.

3. Drip Edge Flashing

Drip edge flashing
Drip Edge Flashing

Drip edge flashing is a vital component of a well-constructed roof, providing essential protection and enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal of the structure. Installed along the edges of the roof, this protective barrier prevents water from seeping behind the gutters, ensuring the integrity of the fascia and siding by averting potential water damage. Beyond its functional role, drip edge flashing also adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to the roof, elevating its visual appeal and contributing to the overall refinement of the building.

4. Chimney Flashing

Chimney flashing
Chimney Flashing

Chimneys on a roof can create potential vulnerabilities for water infiltration. However, chimney flashing is a highly effective solution for addressing this issue. This protective barrier is installed around the base of the chimney and extends vertically along its sides, forming a watertight seal that effectively prevents moisture from entering. By creating a strong and durable shield, chimney flashing safeguards against water damage, preserving the integrity of the chimney and minimizing the need for costly future repairs.

5. Skylight Flashing

Skylight flashing
Skylight Flashing

Skylights present unique challenges when it comes to preventing water seepage through the roof. To address this issue, skylight flashing is employed. This specialized flashing is carefully installed around the perimeter of the skylight, creating a secure seal that effectively safeguards the interior of the house from potential water damage. By doing so, skylight flashing guarantees that the skylight can continue to illuminate the interior without posing any threat to the structural integrity of the roof.

The Most Common Signs Your Flashing Need Replacement

The following signs are clear indications that your roof flashing needs to be replaced: 

1. Leaks: One of the most obvious signs that your flashings need replacement is if you have leaks in your roof. Leaks can occur around chimneys, skylights, vents, and other roof penetrations where flashing is installed.

2. Rust and Corrosion: Flashing is often made of metal, such as aluminum, copper, or galvanized steel, which rust and corrode over time. If you see rust or corrosion on your flashing, it’s a sign that it needs to be replaced.

3. Cracks and Gaps: Over time, flashing can crack or sustain damage. These gaps can allow water to seep into your roof and cause damage.

4. Loose or Missing Flashings: If you notice that some of your flashing is loose or missing, it’s important to have it replaced as soon as possible. Loose or missing flashings can leave your roof vulnerable to water damage.

5. Old Age: Flashing generally has a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. If your flashing is older than this, it’s a good idea to have it inspected and replaced if necessary.

DIY vs. Professional Roof Flashing Replacement

When it comes to replacing roof flashing, homeowners often weigh the pros and cons of tackling the project themselves versus hiring a professional. DIY roof flashing replacement can be a cost-effective option for those with the necessary skills and tools. However, it’s crucial to recognize that improper installation can lead to water leaks and costly repairs down the line.

On the other hand, professional roofers bring expertise and experience to the table. They can ensure the flashing is installed correctly, providing long-lasting protection against water infiltration. While this option may come with a higher upfront cost, it can offer peace of mind and potentially save money by preventing future issues.

Ultimately, the decision between DIY and professional roof flashing replacement depends on factors such as budget, skill level, and the complexity of the job. It’s important to carefully consider these factors before making a choice.

Conclusion

Flashing acts as a protector for houses, quietly safeguarding them from the weather and water damage. Recognizing the different kinds of roof flashing, how to install them, and the significance of regular upkeep helps homeowners maintain their roofs’ durability and strength. Choosing top-notch flashing materials and professional installation significantly enhances a home’s overall resilience and worth. In a home’s construction, roof flashing is the hidden element that ties together protection, longevity, and peace of mind.

Contact The Professional Roofers In Tulsa, OK, For Your Roofing Needs

Installing roof flashing isn’t an easy task and is best left to professionals. Professional roofers can skillfully install roof flashing and ensure your home stays leak-free for years to come. 
Contact the expert roofers in Tulsa, OK, at A. Fricker Roofing and Waterproofing. The roofers at our company are proficient at handling any roofing project, be it a new installation, roof replacement, or general roof repair. Contact us today at (918) 402-7167 and consult a roofing professional.

roof flashing