Roof Flashing: Types, Benefits, and Signs of Flashing Failure

Roof flashing is a roofing material layered onto one edge of an eave. It serves as a drip edge, diverting rainwater from entering the home and preventing water from leaking into the wall cavity. The flashing will angle down and around to prevent dripping on vertical walls or windows. The flashing at the fascia board transitions to metal gutters, pipes, rain chains, and downspouts. This completes the water diversion system in most cases. Let’s explore the different types of roof flashing, how it works, its benefits, causes of roof flashing failure, and signs of flashing damage.

Types of Roof Flashing

There are several kinds of roof flashing, but the most common include the following.

1. Counter Flashing

Counter flashing is the most commonly used today and is installed at the top of the roof surface. This type of flashing works well for flat roofs prone to leaks and problems with ice dams. It helps prevent roof leaks caused by water leaking down the backside of a chimney or any other vertical wall component.

2. Drip Edge

A drip edge is a rounded piece of flashing that goes on the edge of a roof to divert water. They are typically made from soft materials such as aluminum or rubber. Drip edges eliminate the need for ridge vents, which helps reduce wind turbulence and the flow of rainwater down the roof shingles.

3. Valley Flashing

The valley is the “trough” of a pitched roof, and it is an area that is prone to leaking. You can install a special valley flashing system to divert water from this area. This extends under a ridge vent and around the edges of both sides of the roof.

4. Base Flashing

A base flashing is installed under the ridge of the roof. The base flashing extends up past where the gutter would go to divert water. It is installed to prevent water from that area from leaking down into the home onto its carpet or flooring. It will also prevent moisture from leaking onto walls, windows, and roofs below.

5. Continuous Flashing

Continuous flashing is used to cover any gaps at the eaves and ridge of the roof. It is installed as part of a gutter system or on its own to provide a continuous water diversion plan for your house.

6. Step Flashing

Step flashing is installed at the junction of two roof surfaces. When two sections of a roof meet, they are at a different angle in most cases. This means there will be an area where water can collect if it is not prevented by step flashing.

7. Kickout Flashing

Kickout flashing is installed to divert water from the downspouts and gutters. It is installed at the end of the downspout and protected by the gutter system. This prevents water flow from entering the side of the house or falling on a neighbor’s roof.

8. Ladder Flashing

A ladder flashing hangs from each side edge of a roof and deflects rainwater away from eaves, walls, and windows. It is installed as part of a gutter system, diverting the water to the downspout. This protects roofs and walls below by diverting rainwater into the gutter system.

How Roof Flashing Works

The purpose of roof flashing is to prevent rainwater from entering a home through a gutter or downspout. When rainwater is diverted away from the house, it is not allowed to get so close that it eventually collects at a joint and leaks into the walls. When properly installed and maintained, roof flashing can be a valuable tool for preventing water from leaking into your home and causing mold and mildew growth problems.

Benefits of Roof Flashing

Many benefits come with installing roof flashing in Tampa.

1. Drip-Free Attic Ventilation

Roof flashing saves energy, provides better ventilation, and reduces the chances of condensation and mold growth. It helps prevent air from getting trapped in the house, which can cause moisture problems. When no rain or snow falls onto the roof, flashing allows warm, moist air to escape through attic vents above ceiling cavities.

2. Corrosion Protection

Roof flashing protects metal roofs and gutters from corrosion caused by moisture. No matter what type of roof you have on your home, it is important to use roof flashing so that water does not drip onto the metal and cause rust.

3. Insulation

There is less chance of condensation occurring if no leaks or water are collected at the home’s eaves. This is because sealed flashing will prevent moisture from collecting in attics. As a result, there is less risk of mildew growth on wood and steel support beams.

4. Pest Protection

Roof flashing keeps pests like mice and rats away from your house. When water collects at the eaves, there are chances that these small creatures will find shelter below your roof.

5. Water Diverter

When rainwater is prevented from entering a property through roof flashing, there will be less chance of water leaking into walls, windows, and foundations. This will keep the foundation safe from mold and mildew growth.

6. Less Leakage

When properly installed and maintained, roof flashing is a valuable tool that helps prevent water from leaking through windows and walls. It is important to use it for houses exposed to inclement weather conditions like heavy rains and high snowfalls. It will help stop leaks that can lead to water damage inside the home.

Causes and Signs of Roof Flashing Failure

Most commonly, roof flashing fails because it was not installed properly. You can make some mistakes during the installation process that could cause it to fail, but sometimes, it is also not properly maintained. Either way, there are a few ways you can tell if your roof flashing has already failed or is failing.

1. Mold and Mildew Growth

When water collects at the eaves of a house, there is a good chance that mildew will form. The roof flashing prevents water from getting close enough to the wood and steel beams to cause mold and mildew growth.

2. Peeling Paint

If water was able to get into your walls, it could eventually lead to peeling paint. Once there is peeling paint, water can get into the wall coverings and insulation, leading to mold growth inside of those places.

3. Water Leaks

Water running down the metal roof from rain or snow is one of the most common reasons why roof flashing fails. If there are roof leaks, the flashing cannot do its job of diverting water away from the home’s walls and ceiling. If the flashing fails, there is a possibility that water will leak into your wall cavities and cause structural damage.

4. Rust

If the roof flashing is made of metal, it will eventually rust. This is because water can seep through it and get to the metal. This causes more rust, which leads to holes, allowing more rainwater to get inside the house.

5. Stains

Darker stains on the wall around the eaves are good for determining if your roof flashing has failed. You should not notice any rust or corrosion in places like flashing along the gutter system, overhangs, and chimneys. If water has been able to collect in those areas, then rust might have formed.

Contact the Experts

When roof flashing fails, it is important to turn to the experts at ProTek Roofing, Heating & Air to make the necessary repairs. Our qualified technicians will be able to repair the flashing and evaluate areas of your home that might not have adequate protection. It is important to contact us if you notice leaks or other signs of failure. Otherwise, you could get more damage or water leaks into the home. Call us today for more information and find out how we can help. We also offer HVAC heating and cooling services, roof replacement, and commercial roofing in Tampa.

ProTek Roofing, Heating & Air

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