The metal flashing on your roof may seem insignificant, but it plays a critical role in keeping your home free from destructive leaks. Without properly installed flashing, water could find its way into your attic or your interior walls, where it could cause rot and mold growth. Even if your flashing was installed correctly, it will need to be replaced once it reaches the end of its lifespan. Read on to learn when you should swap out your existing flashing for brand new material.
What Is Flashing?
Usually composed of galvanized steel, roof flashing is a thin roofing material used to direct water away from important portions of the roof. This typically includes the area where the roof plane meets vertical surfaces such as a dormer or wall. Flashing is typically installed to surround specific roof features, such as skylights, chimneys and vents. Ideally, water should run down the sides of the metal flashing toward the shingles instead of migrating into the roof deck.
Roofing professionals also need materials to bridge the gap between where the gutter begins and the flashing ends. Kickout flashing is used to direct water into the gutter and away from the wall. Flashing is also often used to protect open roof valleys and, in many instances, the very edges of the roof.
Without properly installed flashing, water could slowly drip into the crevices between the roof and walls, potentially finding its way into the home. Damaged or poorly installed roof flashing, especially around the dormers, roof crickets and chimneys, is one of the primary causes of roof leaks. Old or improperly installed flashing can promote wood rot and even total deck collapse. With this in mind, it’s important to make sure your flashing is functioning properly especially after heavy storms.
When Should They Be Replaced?
In most instances, it’s best to reinstall your flashing whenever you restore or replace the shingles on your roof. Even if the existing flashing looks good, it’s best to swap it out for newer material since old flashing may start failing before the new roof’s lifespan ends. That said, there are limited situations where it makes sense to reuse flashing.
Although it’s generally not preferred, local building regulations allow the reusing of flashing; however, most roofers and shingle manufacturers recommend against it. This is because whenever flashing is reused during roof replacement, the nails do not typically go back into the same holes as before.
What if Your Roof Looks OK?
If your roof is relatively new or appears to be in good condition, your flashing may be in good shape too. That said, it is possible for hail and high winds to disturb flashing without damaging the rest of your roof. This is especially true if the flashing was not properly installed in the first place.
It’s a good idea to regularly look over your roof to see if you notice any problems with the flashing. If you do, there’s a good chance you may have a few loose or damaged shingles as well. Generally, it’s best to have your roof inspected once a year by a reputable contractor who will make sure your roof and flashing are in good shape. Since even a minor leak can lead to tens of thousands of dollars in structural damage and mold remediation; an annual inspection is a smart way to avoid unwieldy repair charges.
Installing new flashing isn’t a particularly complex process, but techniques such as step-type flashing or counter flashing installations require some level of expertise. Since flashing shields the most vulnerable portions of your roof, it’s important to have an experienced professional replace them.
A to Z Roofing is Colorado’s go-to source for affordable, fast and reputable roofing services. Since 1994, we have been repairing and replacing roofs using only top-quality products installed by seasoned technicians who always put the homeowner’s needs first.
If your roof is past its prime or has been damaged by harsh weather, we can help. A locally owned company, A to Z has attained a well-earned reputation as one of Colorado’s leading roofing contractors by providing expert workmanship and attentive, honest customer service. Contact us today for a free estimate.