What Is Flashing on a Roof?

Most people understand that their roof needs regular attention to prevent problems that might emerge. But not everybody knows how all the parts of a roof work. There are plenty of things that help make a roof function more reliably, and one of those things is the roof’s flashing.

Pitched roofs depend on flashing to handle water properly and prevent leaks from occurring. Good flashing extends the life of a roof considerably, but the flashing needs a little attention itself. So take a minute to learn more about flashing, and you’ll be better prepared to maintain your roof and keep it in top shape. If you have any specific questions, give Redline Roofing a call, and we’ll be happy to assist you.

What Is Flashing?

Flashing is a component of a roof that is designed to handle water flow and runoff. It covers joints on the roof in order to prevent leaking or pooling of water where it could cause the most damage.

Flashing is typically made of metal. Aluminum, steel and copper are the most common choices, each offering different pros and cons. You will typically see flashing in a crease on the roof where there is the most runoff during a rainstorm. You will also see flashing around the joints between a chimney and the roof or around any other object that protrudes from the roof.

Without flashing, water management on a pitched roof is very difficult, and you’re far more likely to get leaks and the many headaches that come with them.

How Do You Take Care of It?

Since flashing is so important, it helps to know how you can take care of it. Proper care extends the longevity of your flashing and improves its ability to protect your roof from leaks and water damage.

For the most part, flashing is low maintenance. You don’t need to regularly treat it or do anything special. Instead, it just needs an annual inspection. Even though it is made of metal, flashing does experience wear and tear over time. Scratches, impacts, and extreme weather can dent, warp, or compromise the metal. If left alone, the metal will deform or become brittle. This prevents it from holding a proper seal. Once that happens, the flashing itself can leak, and it isn’t doing its job anymore.

But flashing is pretty tough. So having it inspected once a year is usually good enough to catch early warning signs of wear and tear and replace any bad sections before they cause real problems.

When Should Flashing Be Replaced?

Flashing longevity depends on how and where it is installed. It also depends on the metal chosen, but on average, flashing lasts at least 20 years and often much longer. That said, particularly harsh weather and other unforeseen circumstances can shorten the lifespan of your roof’s flashing.

Even though you can typically expect flashing to last for multiple decades, there are warning signs that signal that you need to replace the flashing right away.

The biggest signal is a sign of leaking water. If water is leaking through the flashing, then it has failed. Replacement or reinstallation is the best way to be certain that the leak has been sealed and the problem is solved.

Additionally, if you see signs of rust in your flashing (this is limited to steel flashing), then it needs to be replaced. This can happen when galvanized steel is scored or scratched enough to let air and water past its protective barrier.

Any other overt signs of damage should never be ignored. If extreme wind pulls some of your flashing free from where it is supposed to be seated, then it needs to be replaced. Sometimes, the materials can be salvaged to save on repair costs, but that won’t always be the case.

What Should You Look for in Flashing?

When it is time to replace flashing, you have three primary choices of material: steel, aluminum, and copper. Steel tends to be the least expensive, but it also has the shortest lifespan. Even with that shortened lifespan, it typically outlasts a shingle roof, so it’s not a bad choice.

Aluminum is a little pricier and lasts longer. It’s also less susceptible to problems with scratching or denting, making it more durable and reliable. Aluminum is also easy to paint, so you get more freedom in color choices.

Copper is the most expensive and the most durable. When properly installed, copper flashing can last a lifetime. But the roof under it might not, which means copper flashing often has to be pulled up for major roof repairs down the line. The primary reason people choose copper flashing is for its aesthetic value.

Regardless of what kind of flashing you choose, you need someone to install it professionally. For that, you can turn to Redline Roofing & Construction. We’ve been taking care of roofs in Lindale and around East Texas for years, and we’ll be happy to take care of your roof too. Contact us today to see the many options available to you.