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What is Flashing and Why is it Important in a Roofing System?

As a homeowner, you understand the responsibility of keeping your property’s various elements in good working condition to keep you and your loved ones safe, sound, and comfortable. 

You might be familiar with roofing terms such as shingles, gutters, downspouts, and so on, but flashing is a relatively obscure term for many. However, flashing is one of the most critical components of any roofing system. It deserves considerable attention to keep your roof in good working condition

In this piece, we’ll be taking a closer look at what flashing is, where it applies to your home, and how important it is to your roofing system.

Let’s dive right in.

What is Roofing Flashing?

Roof flashing, in direct terms, refers to thin metal sheets installed by roofers in specific areas of a residential or commercial roof to protect it against the pooling or seeping of water through any joints or cracks. 

Roofing professionals will typically place flashing pieces in and around your roof’s eaves, valleys, dormers, windows, HVAC systems, kitchen/bathroom vents, chimneys, and any other protrusions on your roof. Wherever there are any angles in your roof, flashing will likely be required.

The most widely used material for roof flashing is sheet metal, with the most common types being galvanized steel, copper, aluminum, or lead. The flashing of choice will be made out of the same metal for properties with metal roofing.

How Important Is Flashing to Your Roofing System?

Don’t fall into the delusion that flashing is just some fancy add-on a roofing contractor might be trying to upsell you on. It is an essential component of any roofing system and is vital to its performance, longevity, and effectiveness. Regardless of the type of roof you have, you will need flashing at various points of your roof.

Flashing keeps water on your roof flowing smoothly along your gutters or down your sidings. It’s an essential component of any roofing system’s basic functions. Without it, your home will be vulnerable to leakages, rotting, mold, mildew, and general deterioration.

How Many Types of Flashing Are There?

Various types of roof flashing work independently or together to provide flashing barriers that prevent leakages and make your entire roof waterproof. Depending on your roof system, you might have multiple flashing types at different areas of your roof. Some common flashing types include:

Step Flashing

This usually consists of an L-shaped piece of sheet metal covering the area where a roof meets a wall or vertical obstacle.

Base Flashing

This is used to line the headwalls or front walls and is made of a piece of flashing bent halfway or two separate flashing pieces. It is typically installed under your shingles or siding but above your roof’s underlayment.

Continuous Flashing

This is also referred to as apron flashing and constitutes a continuous metal piece placed where your roof and gutter meet. However, many professional contractors recommend this flashing only if it comes with inbuilt expansion joints, allowing it to shift and flex as the house does.

Skylight Flashing

Properties with rooftop skylights must have specialized flashing to keep water from seeping in through the edges. 

Kickout Flashing

This type of flashing is also known as diverter flashing because it redirects moisture and rainwater away from your home’s cladding and into the appropriate gutters. 

Drip Edge Flashing

As the name suggests, this type of flashing is typically fitted along the edges of a roof, allowing water to run or drip off and preventing any potential damage to your roofing systems.

Valley Flashing

This is the most common and important type of flashing found on American rooftops. This flashing is applied at the juncture or valley between two rooftop planes as they come together. 

Valley flashing is made from sheet metal bent lengthwise in an ‘open valley’ style, allowing water to come down off the sloping sides on either side and trickle down to the gutters instead of being trapped in the valley. 

Final Thoughts

As stated above, flashing is critical to any functional roofing system. Because of this, every responsible homeowner needs to pay attention to it and ensure it stays in good condition. This involves making regular inspections to determine whether there are any faults in your flashing. 

A prudent maintenance schedule for roof flashing might comprise a professional inspection every two years. Still, you should immediately repair it if you notice any banging or rattling on your roof during bad weather.

If you live in Indianapolis, IN, and need professional assistance with your roof’s flashing and all related roofing system components, make Moss Roofing your first choice. Our team of experienced roofing experts strives to deliver efficient, effective, long-lasting, and affordable services to all our clients. Call us today! You won’t regret it!

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