The flashing on your roof is one of its most important protective features. But it's also one of the least understood parts of protecting your roof. To help you ensure that your roof stays in good condition and does its job, here's what you should know about roof flashing.
What Is Roof Flashing?
Flashing is a waterproof barrier placed at strategic points around the roof to prevent moisture from getting underneath. It's often made of steel, as this is a durable and inexpensive impermeable material. However, you may also select other materials, including copper.
Where Is Flashing Placed?
Flashing isn't installed uniformly across the roof. Other waterproofing methods, such as underlayment, may be used as a general layer of protection.
Instead, your roof installer will place flashing at the biggest risk points for moisture to build up. These risk points are usually joints, such as where two sections of roof meet, where the roof meets a wall, around protrusions like skylights, and along the eaves and edges.
When Is Flashing Replaced?
Flashing is, of course, designed to be durable and low-maintenance. This is good news, as it means that you may not have to replace it very often. In general, sections of flashing only need to be replaced when they have visible damage or the shape of the area has changed.
You may or may not need to replace flashing even when the surrounding shingles are replaced. The roofing contractor will inspect the existing flashing for signs of damage or rust, but flashing can easily outlive other materials on the roof.
How Do You Maintain Flashing?
Homeowners can do two important maintenance tasks to protect their flashing. The first is to prevent physical hazards which could damage it, such as overhead limbs and branches which may fall in storms.
The second step is to have the flashing inspected annually and individual patches or replacements made as needed. Because flashing is often placed in areas where it's hard to observe, small breaks and cracks can become large problems if left unchecked.
Where Can You Learn More?
Have you checked on your roof flashing lately? If not, now is the time to give it the attention it deserves but doesn't always get. Start by consulting with a qualified residential roofing contractor in your area today. With their keen eye and your diligence, you'll ensure your flashing has a long and healthy life no matter what nature throws at it.