Roof flashing is a critical component to keeping your roof and the rest of your house safe from natural disasters. What is it exactly? Roof flashing is a thin, metallic material that wraps around your chimney, roof valleys, and walls to push water away and prevent it from infiltrating your roof. Without this material, water can wear out your roofing and link into your home, causing massive damage over time. The metal that comprises the flashing can come from a variety of materials – namely steel, aluminum, and copper. Different metals have different benefits, both in terms of longevity and cost.
According to roofersguild.com, there are various types of roof flashing you should be aware of:
Continuous Flashing. This is also known as “apron flashing” because it acts in a similar manner to an apron. It is a long, single piece of metal that is used to carry the water down to the shingles that lay below.
Base Flashing. There are some roof features, like chimneys, that require two pieces of flashing. This is to ensure that the rain always meets a flashing surface to direct it downward. Not only that, it is notoriously difficult to install flashing around a chimney.
Counter Flashing. This is placed opposite of base flashing, or above base flashing. Counter flashing completes the team with the aforementioned base flashing.
Step Flashing. This is a rectangular piece of flashing that is bent 90 degrees in the middle. It is generally used for wall flashing. In this instance, multiple pieces of flashing will be installed as layers with the shingles to make sure that the water flows away from the wall.
Skylight Flashing. There are some skylight manufacturers that include flashing with their product, but others will require you to create it or purchase it separately. Knowing which option you have beforehand is helpful.
Valley Flashing. Any open valleys on your roof have metal flashing in order to protect this area, which is a critical area of the roof.
Drip Edges. At the edge of the roof, there is a thin metal flashing that allows water to drip off the roof without doing damage to the home or causing a pesky leak that can do further damage to the roof or home.
Kickout Flashing. Roofing contractors generally need something to bridge the gap where the step flashing comes to an end and where the gutter begins. This kind of flashing is used to direct water away from the wall and down into the gutter.
Now that you know what roof flashing is and its various types, it’s especially important to know when to have it repaired or replaced. The best way to do this is to have an annual roofing inspection by a professional to see whether or not there is extensive damage. Over time, roof flashing will wear out and be less effective against the weather. If you don’t have roof flashing or are lacking it in certain areas, it’s important to get it done and ensure there aren’t any leaks underneath your roof.
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