How Does Flashing Protect Your Roof From Leaks?

November 11, 2015

Flashing is often one of the most overlooked aspects of a roof. Many people don’t even have it on their roof. However, depending on your home, this could be a mistake. Flashing, when properly fitted and installed, can help your roof avoid major issues.

But What is Flashing?

So what exactly is flashing? To put it simply, flashing is a thin layer of waterproof material that prevents water from getting into places it doesn’t belong on your roof and in your home.

Types of Flashing

There are many different types of flashing that can be placed on your home. There’s chimney flashing which is applied around the base of a chimney. It’s not just in one part though – there’s flashing on the sides of the chimney, saddle flashing at the top, and continuous flashing at the bottom. Continuous flashing protects the angle where a vertical wall and slope connect. Step flashing is when flashing is placed where the roof meets the side dormer walls, chimneys, and skylights, mostly made up of right-angled pieces. They’re also typically interwoven with roof shingles. Skylights usually have their own flashing alongside the step flashing, but also use continuous flashing, and saddle flashing. There’s also valley flashing which is when flashing is placed on the valleys of a roof (typically galvanized metal flashing is used in this case).

Flashing Materials

Flashing can be made up of many different types of materials. As long as the material is incapable of degrading from incompatible materials and is waterproof, the material will work as flashing. Some of the most common flashing materials include: aluminum, copper (lead-coated too), lead, galvanized steel, and PVC. Each material has its own list of pros and cons. Aluminum will corrode if it’s used in conjunction with concrete or fiber-cement siding or copper preservatives. However, it’s also easy to form, durable, and quite inexpensive. Copper sidings (lead-coated and otherwise) are more expensive and harder to form than aluminum but are very, very durable and also more compatible with wood preservatives. Lead is soft, durable, and easy to bend, but carries health risks. Galvanized steel is cheap but not as durable as any of the other options, while PVC is easily bendable and is not affected by any treated wood.

How Does Flashing Work?

So knowing all this, how does flashing work exactly? How does flashing keep water out?

Well, gravity guarantees that water flows down. As it travels along the chimney and the roof when it rains, the flashing protects the crevices, gaps, and angles on the roof from the rainwater.

But if flashing is going to prevent water from getting into those crevices and gaps and angles on the roof, it has to be installed properly. This means that the seams of the flashing cannot face uphill and that the upper edge of the flashing is protected by tar paper or housewrap. It should not be installed over tar paper or housewrap. To check if your flashing has been installed properly on your roof, you can watch your roof when it rains (don’t do this during a dangerous storm though!). Watch a specific drop of rain water as it goes down the side of your home. It should easily slide from surface to surface on your roof, never falling into an open seam or gap. Its progress shouldn’t be stopped.

Why is Flashing Important?

What happens if your flashing isn’t installed properly on your roof? Or isn’t installed at all? Typically, you’ll start having a problem with leaks and sometimes even an infestation of carpenter ants. Without proper flashing, there’s nothing to prevent water from going behind into the structure of your home. Trapped water leads to decay in materials, structural damage of a house, as well as mold and moisture problems. Flashing is necessary because it helps direct the flow of water around openings, preventing these problems from happening to your house.

Get Your Flashing Fitted by a Roofing Professional

If you notice that your roof is leaking, call Accord Construction Inc., we can help you find out if it’s because of flashing or something else. We’re the best choice for professional roofing company for the Oklahoma City and Edmond, Oklahoma areas. We are fully licensed and certified to help you with your roof. Not only that, but we practice all the latest roofing techniques to make your roof safe no matter if you’re replacing or repairing or if you just need new flashing. Call Accord Construction, Inc. at (405) 302-5520 for more information on how we can help you.

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