Everyone knows that the roof is a house’s first line of defense against all kinds of weather. But unless you’ve taken up a tradesperson’s specialty in it, you probably don’t know much about the mechanisms that protect you and your family from the heavy rains, snow, and sunlight.
No functioning roof is just limited to just shingles, tiles, and metal panels. When it comes to roof installations, there is one element that’s generally unknown but does most of the work to keep water from wearing down the external structure of your home. That element is the roof flashing.
What Is Roof Flashing?
Water is the number one enemy of every roof ever built. Of course, you don’t want anything in your home to get soaked when it rains, but it’s more than that. If water isn’t redirected away from the top of your roof and down to the ground, it can cause significant damage to your roof material and even your sidings. That damage is difficult to repair—and even worse, it can keep spreading and damaging your home.
Roof flashing is usually made of galvanized metal, copper, or aluminum. It’s a thin sheet installed underneath the shingles and is placed all along the joints and edges of your roof. Flashing provides extra protection for the parts of your roof that are vulnerable to leaks and water damage.
Vulnerable Areas On Your Roof
Roof flashing is an extra layer of protection for vulnerable areas on your roof, which is generally where two surfaces meet together. Effective flashing in these areas is vital because water runoff is usually heavier.
Common flashing areas include:
- Side walls – the area where the roof surface joins the wall
- Valleys – the low area where two slopes join at an angle
- Protrusions – chimneys, vents, skylights, and other structures that jut out of the main structure of the house
- Edges – eaves and rakes
Types of Roof Flashing
There is a wide variety of flashing types, and it all depends on the overall structure you’ve chosen for your house. During the roof installation, your contractors will plan and design what types of flashing are needed for the different areas of the roof. Most roofs feature at least three or four types of flashing.
The common types of flashing are:
- Continuous – This is the most widely used type of flashing. This protects the joint where a sloped roof meets a wall.
- Step – This is placed where the roof meets the sides of any protruding structure, such as skylights, dormers, and chimneys. Angled metal pieces are overlapped together so that there’s no space for water to penetrate.
- Chimney – This is installed around the chimney base, and it’s made up of multiple components—continuous flashing at the bottom, step flashing around the sides, and laps over the top.
- Drip edges – These are applied along eaves and rakes in your roof. This prevents water from seeping from the edges of your roof and into the roof surface.
- Valley – This is a W-shaped channel that protects the valleys where two roof planes meet.
- Vent pipe – This is a cone-shaped structure that fits over pipes and flues on the roof. It’s worked into the shingles after they’ve been applied.
Roof flashing is crucial to protect your roof and your home from water damage. All roofing projects require high-quality flashing, and it’s a phase of roof installation that should be done carefully and professionally. Otherwise, you will be facing huge costs in repair or replacement.
Are you looking for roofing contractors in Raleigh, NC? Southern Premier Roofing has been serving the area for many years. We offer a wide variety of roofing services, including remodeling, renovations, and replacements for roof structures, sidings, and gutters. Our team is ready to tackle any project thrown our way. Contact us today for a free inspection!