There are many components that make up a modern residential roof, most of which are completely unknown to homeowners. Since most of the focus tends to be on shingles (the most visible and aesthetic parts of the roof), people tend to forget about things like soffit and fascia and even flashing. While rooftop flashing may not be “flashy” or exciting, it is a vital component that protects your home.
What is Roofing Flashing?
Flashing in general refers to simple material (usually metal like aluminum or steel) that is used to cover the joints of a structure. In the case of your roof, it is placed over the seams created by shingles (or whatever roofing material you have) when they are placed up against your chimney, windows and skylights, roof valleys and any pipes or other outlets that appear on your roof.
Why is Rooftop Flashing Important?
Flashing is an integral part of your roof because it prevents water from seeping through the seams it is placed over. While your shingles will protect your home from moisture, water is extraordinarily persistent. If you leave a small space for it to enter, it will take advantage of it. Flashing covers these seams and creates a waterproof seal.
The flashing that is placed in a valley on your roof (where two roof slopes meet) will not only cover the seams of the shingles, it will also create a place where water can drain off your roof and into your gutters.
Keeping Your Flashing in Good Shape
Like any other roofing component, your flashing needs to be kept in good shape in order to maximize its effectiveness. If flashing becomes too worn, water will get in and leak into your house. As flashing ages, it can become damaged through weathering and oxidation. While some flashing can be repaired, it will most likely need to be replaced when it has become worn.
Installing New Flashing
Flashing needs to be installed properly (improper installation will lead to leaks), so it’s always best to contact a professional roofing company to complete the job. Just remember, no amount of new flashing will replace a roof that is too old and worn. If your roof needs extensive repairs or to be completely replaced, it’s best to have it done at the same time as your flashing.