Flashing and Roof Repair: What You Need to Know

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Flashing and Roof Repair: What You Need to Know

11 February 2016
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Articles


Flashing plays an important role in your roofing system to keep water out of your home. However, many homeowners aren't very familiar with flashing. As such, they may not understand what a roofer is talking about when they mention flashing needing repairs, or they may miss signs that their flashing is in need of repair. Learning about this part of your roof will help you to better understand its importance and what signs indicate it isn't working effectively. Here is some information you should know about roof flashing.

What Flashing Is

Flashing is a metal material that is placed over joints in your roof to prevent water from seeping in. It is most commonly made from aluminum or galvanized steel, but can be composed of other metals, such as copper and lead, as well. When exterior roofing materials, such as shingles or tiles, are placed on a roof, there is typically a small gap between these materials and other items on your roof, such as a chimney, dormer or plumbing stack. The flashing is laid over this tiny gap so water can seep in to the other layers of roofing, such as the sheathing and decking, and cause damage.

Signs that Flashing Needs to be Replaced

There are many factors that affect how long your flashing lasts. This includes the type of material that your flashing is made from, the weather elements it is subjected to and how well-maintained it is. Fortunately, it will give you many signs and indications that it is reaching the end of its lifespan, letting you know its time to replace it. One of the signs that indicates that flashing needs to be replaced is lifting or separation. This can be caused by caulking that has worn out or by the normal expansion and contraction of the roof pushing the flashing upward. Regardless of why, flashing that is pulling away from the roof needs to be replaced, as water can seep in through the cracks.

Other signs of flashing that needs to be repaired or replaced include rusted, cracked, bent or dented flashing. Routinely cleaning your roof and sealing the flashing can prevent rust. If you fail to do this, rust can develop and weaken the flashing. Flashing can also crack, bend or dent due to weather elements. Hail, wind gusts and even old age can cause these problems, letting you know your flashing needs repair.

What if Flashing is Not Repaired or Replaced?

If your flashing is showing signs of damage, and you either don't realize it or don't call in a roof repair company to solve the problem, water can seep in through your roof. This causes the same problems that a leak through the shingles would cause. The different layers of your roof would be exposed to the water that seeps in, which can cause water damage and wood rot. If the problem still is not caught or corrected, the water can eventually make its way into your home. It will first be spotted in the attic. If you have an unfinished attic, you can go into the space and look up. You will be looking directly at the underside of the bottom most layer of your roof. If you see water staining, water from the roof system is entering the space. It may then drip onto your attic floor or down the walls, causing water damage inside your home. Repairing flashing that is not working correctly can help prevent this problem from happening.

Learning what flashing is and how it is important to your roofing system will better help you to understand this aspect of your home. This can help you catch problems with your flashing and repair them before they lead to larger problems, such as leaks or flooding in your home. If you find that the flashing is look rusty or damaged, consider contacting a roof repair specialist.