Roofing Flashings - An Important Part of Roofs
Flashing on the roof is just another part of roof covering, and will be found where intersections occur at places where roofs change direction. As these parts of the roof get water draining from both sides, they are more prone to damage. Roof leaks caused by poor flashing is a very common defect. It can also occur due to poor installation o f flashing, besides the heavy duty that it is expected to perform. Bad flashing must be repaired immediately, and during roof maintenance, this area of the roof requires special attention.
Where Roof Flashing Is Installed
Roof flashing is made of many different materials, though aluminum and galvanized metal are the most common. Aluminum must be preferred because unlike galvanized metal, it is not inclined to form rust. Roof leaks can also come from flashing that has rusted and corroded. Aluminum can also be easily bent into any desired shape, depending on the roof configuration it is meant to protect. Roof flashing is installed at any place where two different surfaces in different planes meet and also used at the peaks of roofs, vents, dormers, edges, skylights, and where any structure pierces the roof surface.
In all such places, it is necessary to install flashing made of the chosen material, and also ensure that it is adequately sealed so that it becomes immune to leaks. Lead flashings were commonly used in earlier times, and even now, you can find a number of older buildings that have lead flashing. Lead flashing lasts for a long time. Its cost has however led to it falling out of favor.
How To Install Roof Flashing
The concept of roof flashing is quite simple and requires placing sheets of metal over areas on the roof that will be subjected to higher stress. Well installed and high-quality flashing keeps moisture away from the joints and seams and any other parts of the roof that can be vulnerable. Flashings can be of different types, but the most common is a V shape that is ideal for the valleys that form between roofs going in different directions. Flashing is installed with the help of roof nails fixed to the support structure of the roof. It is necessary to use proper sealants between the flashing and it supports surface so that this is no more a vulnerable point for leaks. Where flashing is installed with nails, these may work loose, and must always be inspected and made secure in every roof maintenance operation.
Flashings around vents, skylights and other odd shaped structures that penetrate the roof will require flashing bent into the proper shape that ensures that it acts as a complete protection for the joint. Flashing is also installed at the bottom edges of a roof, as this ensures that moisture will not get under the lowermost roof covering material. Edges can also accumulate ice and snow and lead to the formation of ice dams, that they tend to allow melted water to accumulate behind it, and make the roof vulnerable to leaks.
Problems In Flashing
A majority of roof problems, over 80 percent, are caused by faulty roof flashing and can lead to leaks and a lot of inconvenience for the residents of a home. Problems in flashing can also occur because of the different expansion that metal has compared to other roof covering. This expansion can lead to the sealant or roof cent developing cracks and then lead to leaks. Proper installation can be ensured by giving the job of installing, maintaining and repairing flashing to roofing professionals, who will not only have the required experience but also use the right tools for the work to be carried out. These roofing professionals or agencies that take up your work must be licensed and insured because working on roofs at heights can be full of risks, and the insurance helps to cover the risks.
Properly installed flashing should be able to withstand the heat from summer and also resist the icy winds of winter. It has to be durable and long-lasting, and yet be flexible enough to withstand all the stresses that different kinds of weather will impose on a roof and all its components. Flashing also helps to keep water away from the wood and other underlays that are used on roofs. If water does get through, this can cause rotting of fascias and soffits and this is a sure sign that the flashing is not doing the work it is supposed to and does need some attention and likely repair. Roof maintenance is a must after it has gone through the rigors of winter, and an important part of this is to inspect the flashings and effect any repairs or replacement to restore the roof back to its original condition.
Look after the flashing on your roof, and the chances are that you will be less likely to have problems from a roof leaking.
Also read in our next article: Tips on choosing a right roofer.