What You Need to Know About Roof Flashing

The important role your roof plays in keeping you safe from the elements is made stronger and more secure by something you may never think about – roof flashing.

While it is an essential part of any roof, many people may not even know what it is. So what is roof flashing? It is a thin metal sheet that deflects water away from the base or edges of certain parts of your roof, such as chimneys, vents, walls and roof valleys.

As such, it’s an important part of any roof construction. Roof flashing keeps water from leaking into your home and, in deflecting water, also prevents mould growth.

Why Roof Flashing is Important

Roof flashing has a crucial function as it stops water from entering your ceiling space. It protects certain spots such as edges of walls, valleys and the bases of chimneys and vents which are susceptible to leakage.

But flashing doesn’t just protect those particular areas. It prevents water from penetrating behind tiles or shingles, and damaging underlying material. Once water gets into your ceiling, it can damage walls, insulation, electrical wiring and the ceiling itself.

Different Types of Roof Flashing

The battle to keep water out of your home and ensure your roof maintains its integrity is not a simple one. Roof flashing plays an important role because it is integral to a number of different areas of the roofing system.

Here are the five main types of roof flashing used on most modern roofs:

  • Drip edge – This type of flashing keeps water from full gutters pushing its way up to the edge and under shingles. Drip edge flashing helps prevent gutters or downpipes blocking, a problem that can lead to water getting into your ceiling.
  • Vent pipe – This type of flashing is tube shaped or cylindrical, and fits over any round lines that are on your roof top. These are commonly used around the base of vents.
  • Valley flashing – Valleys are those areas of the roof where two segments of the structure meet at a joint to create a valley. It is a part of the roof most likely to leak. This type of flashing comes in a V or W shape. Any creases are filled with roof concrete.
  • Step flashing – Step flashing is used wherever a roof meets a side wall, and should provide structural integrity to your roof. Side walls are highly vulnerable to leaking, so step flashing is crucial in keeping water out of your home.
  • Base flashing – This is used at the base of chimneys, between the vertical surface and the roof surface, to guard against water penetration. To create a waterproof seal, step flashing and cap flashing are also used at the base of chimneys.

How Do I Know My Roof Flashing is OK?

The only way to check if your roof flashing is in good condition is to inspect it regularly for wear and tear. You can also look for water stains around the edges of your roof, which may indicate that water is getting in where it shouldn’t.

Checking the edges of your roof can be done from the ground, but a thorough inspection involves climbing on the roof. If you’re not confident in climbing onto your roof, it’s highly recommended that you hire a roofing professional to do a complete check of your roof.

If there are problems with roof flashing, they should be mended as soon as possible. If you suspect you’ve got a problem with leaking and you’re unsure about climbing a ladder, don’t risk serious injury. Call a qualified roofing technician to look into it. A professional is also more likely to spot faults that you would miss.

Things to Know About Roof Flashing

Despite covering roof flashing fairly extensively, there are still many things to learn about it. Here’s a few more important details about roof flashing:

  • Replacing your roof flashing – Is it necessary to replace roof flashing when you replace your roof? Every situation is different, of course, but your roof flashing should outlive your roof. If a roofing contractor sees that the metal is holding up and there is no rusting, there won’t be a need to replace it.
  • Roof flashing must be maintained – As previously stated, no matter what metal you use, your flashing should outlive your roof. That’s why it’s important to get your roof flashing checked annually as part of a general roof inspection. That way you’ll stop minor faults from turning into major problems.
  • Metals used for roof flashing – The common types of metal used for roof flashing are aluminium, galvanised steel and copper. The most popular types are steel and aluminium, which will suit most budgets. Copper can look great aesthetically and will last much longer but costs more upfront. Vinyl and PVC can also be used for roof flashing but are less common.

In Conclusion

It is important to choose the right types and metals for roof flashing, so make sure you confer with a certified professional roofer when you’re building a new home or replacing your roof. It might be something you were previously unaware of, but it’s handy to know just how crucial roof flashing is in keeping water out of your home.

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.

Last Edited on: 26th October 2022