If you believe that roof flashing probably involves holiday lighting displays, you aren’t alone. Despite being a critical part of what keeps your home safe and warm, few people really understand roof flashing. Let’s discuss what roof flashing is, how it is installed, and what purposes it serves to help you better understand how roof flashing improves your life and your home. Once you understand how critical roof flashing is to the maintenance and longevity of your home, you’ll be glad you invested in this important aspect of your roof.
What Is Roof Flashing?
At the most basic level, roof flashing is any waterproof or water resistant material that is installed in a roof to prevent leaks. Roof flashing is a waterproof barrier that helps prevent leaks or other issues with your roof. Flashing is typically laid down before other roofing materials to provide a solid waterproof barrier. It is also used as a secondary measure of protection at potential weak points on a roof.
Sometimes, flashing is added to naturally occurring low areas. It is also installed around breaks in the surface, such as the point where a chimney or the support of a satellite dish connects with the roof. Flashing is also used where roof meets wall. These installations are necessary to prevent water damage to areas where water from the roof will settle or splash. Walls abutting eaves, dormers, or attic windows will typically need flashing to protect against water damage in the creases.
Sometimes, flashing is highly visible at the base of a chimney or where roof meets wall. Sometimes, it blends right in with the color of the paint and shingles. Roof flashing may be used as an emergency repair when there’s damage to your roof, to avoid leaks or damage during repairs, roof replacement, or construction, and to protect weak points from potential leaks and water damage.
One of the most common materials uses for permanent flashing is flexible metal sheeting. Commonly used metals include copper, lead, aluminum and stainless steel. Sometimes, sheeting made of rubber or even specialized plastic is used instead. The roofer determines what material is best for a given location. It’s important to take into consideration the current roofing materials and what chemical reaction they could have to the flashing. Local environment, weather and current temperature will all factor into the decision-making process when choosing a material for flashing. This is not an area to cut corners.
How Is Roof Flashing Installed?
The exact installation of roof flashing will vary, depending on the material. It may be nailed into place below other forms of roofing. Typically, this is done carefully to ensure nail holes don’t become areas where water can seep through. Sometimes, it is applied with an adhesive. Some flexible flashing has adhesive ready-to-go on it when you buy it.
The situation you’re using the flashing in and the function you hope it will perform will mandate what installation process you use. You don’t want to mess with adhesives outside during a rainstorm, for example. One of the most critical factors about flashing is making sure it isn’t damaged during installation and ensuring proper coverage of all risky areas.
Waterproofing Is Critical to Structural Integrity
Investing in good flashing can be the difference between a cozy, dry home and a roof that is a constant source of leaks, drips and water damage concerns. Leaks are annoying. They can wake you up at night. They cause unattractive discoloration on your ceilings, and if you don’t address it quickly, can cause water damage to the ceiling drywall and the flooring underneath. Leaks can contribute to local humidity levels, which can cause mist in your windows or even damage your interior paint over time.
The damage caused by a leak goes beyond annoyance and appearances. Water can weaken the structure of your home by contributing to degradation of wooden beams. Worse yet, it can result in the growth of dangerous fungi, like black mold. Black mold can cause a host of serious medical symptoms, from allergy-like symptoms to problems breathing. It can be difficult to get rid of, requiring professional intervention. A leak in a hidden area could cause black mold that costs thousands of dollars to address.
It’s much more cost effective to invest in top-of-the-line flashing when installing a new roof or a replacement roof on your home. Other factors will also contribute to the functional value of your roof, but quality flashing can help protect the most vulnerable areas.
Flashing Matters When You’re Considering Roofing
If you want a roof that does its job well and lasts, you need to ensure that you’re installing the right kind of roofing and the right kind of flashing. Well-installed flashing can protect the most vulnerable points on your roof from water damage. After all, water damage is a major source of issues for homeowners. When you know your roof is solid, you can feel more secure about the overall security and safety of your home. Roof flashing helps keep the water out of your biggest investment.
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