What is Roof Flashing and Why Is It So Important?

The main purpose of your roof is to protect your home from rain and increase its energy efficiency. For these very reasons, shingles are designed in the way they are and have evolved in so many aspects over the course of millennia. The problem, however, lies in the fact that the entirety of the roof isn’t equally protected by shingles. The joints are particularly troublesome, due to the fact that they contain gaps between rows of shingles and through these gaps the rain can penetrate your home. This is why the flashing is so important.


What is flashing?

Previously, we’ve talked about a scenario where your roof leaks due to the lack of protection on various leak points in your roof like joints and edges. Flashing is a method of protecting these weak spots with flashing covers. In the last several years, this technology has massively gained on its popularity, which means that, nowadays, its simpler and cheaper to flash your roof than it ever was before. Other than this, you get a plethora of choices to choose from in terms of shape, composition and materials. Speaking of which…


Types of materials

The list of materials that roof flashing can be made of is virtually endless. Still, the most common materials used are copper, aluminum, lead, zinc alloy, stainless steel, galvanized steel and rubber. Each of these materials has its own properties which you’ll have to review before making a choice. First of all, they have a different cost and durability, while they also differ when it comes to the effectiveness of what they do. Also, keep in mind that it’s in your best interest to make these flashings seamlessly integrate with your roof, which is why the layout of your roof construction and the type of shingles used is also a relevant factor.

As far as the specific properties go, you need to understand that copper is relatively expensive but it’s also ideal for historic homes or those that are trying to make their home appear vintage. Sheet metal is the most common material used nowadays due to its simplicity and cost-effectiveness. Lastly, rubber or plastic is definitely the cheapest of materials in use today but it’s also one that degrades the faster, which is why it isn’t ideal for areas with an abundance of sunlight. Either way, you’ll have to replace it soon enough.


Professional help

Once you make your choice, you need to understand that this is usually not something that you can do effectively on your own. Far from the fact that installing a flashing is a complex thing but it is a delicate matter and botching the roof work will make the project completely ineffective. After all, you were supposed to prevent leaks and if there’s still a leak even in a single area, you haven’t done a great job. 

Ideally, when choosing a professional to provide you with material what you want is to find specialists. For instance, if you decide to go for the lead, you need to start looking for reputable lead flashing manufacturers like Midland Lead. Moreover, when you start looking for someone to do the installation, you shouldn’t just ask if they’ve installed flashing before, ask them about lead flashing specifically in order to be sure.


Other areas where flashing is necessary

Finally, joints and edges aren’t the only areas of the roof that require flashing, so, before making your plans (and your budget), what you need to consider are other possible points of interest. For instance, chimneys are one of the most serious penetrations in the roof, yet, their vicinity requires special flashing, both in shape and in the material. A seam between a roof and dormer also needs to be tended to in order to keep the place tightly sealed. Finally, skylights are getting more and more popular in present-day architecture, which is why it’s smart to install suitable flashing around them. Ideally, you would also install rubber gaskets beneath.


In conclusion

Regardless of the material used or the area that needs to be covered with flashing, what you need to understand is the fact that the boost to the overall efficiency of your roof is more than worth it. The first goal of your roof is to be efficient at what it does and without proper flashing, this might not be possible.