Roof Flashing 101: Get to Know the Basics

When we think about our roofing, we tend to think about it as a single unit. However, your roofing system is comprised of many different parts which all work together to protect your home from the elements. One of the most important parts of your roofing system is your flashing. When your flashing is damaged or missing, the integrity of your entire system is compromised. Below we review what flashing is, why it matters, and how you can keep it in good condition.

What Is Flashing & Why It Matters

Flashing is installed under your shingles and along corners, edges, and valleys. When correctly installed, it helps direct water off your roof and into your drainage system. Typically made of flat, thin metal, flashing is installed in areas with cracks or exposed edges of your roofing, such as around skylights, chimneys, windows, or in roof valleys. The size and type of flashing you will need for your roof will depend on the type of roofing you have, the look you’re going for, and the construction of your roof.

Types of flashing include:

  • Apron or continuous flashing
  • Base flashing
  • Chimney flashing
  • Counter flashing
  • Drip edge flashing
  • Kickout flashing
  • Skylight flashing
  • Step flashing
  • Valley flashing

Without flashing, moisture and water could get into your roofing system, leading to major damage and degradation of your roofing structure.

Flashing may be made from:

  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Galvanized steel
  • Stainless steel

Roof flashing has a long lifespan, typically lasting around 25 years. However, this does not mean that your flashing is impervious. Keep reading to learn the signs that your flashing may need a little TLC.

Review our blog to learn more about roof flashing.

Signs You Need Flashing Repair

Because a lot of your flashing isn’t visible, it can be difficult to know when you’re having a flashing issue or need repair. This is why annual roof inspections with a professional roofer like Lyons Roofing are so important. Our trained roofing contractors not only know roofing inside and out, but they have the specialized training and experience to detect flashing issues when they would otherwise be overlooked.

You may need flashing repair if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • The roofing around your flashing is lifting, bubbling, or having other issues
  • The visible flashing looks damaged, pitted, cracked, or rusted
  • You see signs of water damage in your attic, crawlspace, porch ceiling, or interior walls
  • Paint is peeling on your home near your roof

Tips for Maintaining Your Roof Flashing

Your approach to maintaining your roof flashing is the same as maintaining your roof overall. In addition to annual inspections and maintenance, there is still a lot homeowners can do to keep their flashing in good shape. Your priority should be ensuring that water can drain from your roof easily.

Standing water can be incredibly corrosive, and when combined with leaf dams and decaying plant life, it can cause your flashing to rust and deteriorate. Therefore, clearing leaves and other debris from your roof will go a long way in supporting the smooth functioning of your roof’s drainage system.

Other things homeowners can do to maintain their roof flashing:

  • Keep flashing clean and free of moss and other plant life (scrubbing your flashing with a stiff-bristled brush, soap, and water can help with this)
  • Fill small holes with sealant and a putty knife (make sure to clean the area first and roughen up the area with a steel brush so that the sealant adheres to the flashing)
  • Schedule repairs or replacements with a professional roofer

Generally speaking, we recommend always working with a professional roofer to maintain and repair flashing. However, if you are an experienced DIYer, there may be a few things you can do yourself. That said, safety should always be your top priority, and you should avoid walking on your roof and flashing. For larger or more complicated repairs in hard-to-reach areas, always work with a professional like Lyons Roofing.

Have questions about flashing repair? Send us a message online. Our flashing experts are always ready to help homeowners get the most out of their roofing.