Flashing helps keep residential roofing systems protected against leaks. It allows a roof to do its job, which is to offer protection against weather extremes and outside elements. You can usually find flashing around chimneys, plumbing vents, skylights and other penetrations on the roof. Moreover, it helps to know that the leading cause of leaks in roofs is flashing failure.
Keep on reading to learn why roof flashing failure occurs, how you can deal with this problem and the reasons it should be addressed immediately.
What Is Roof Flashing, and How Does It Work?
Roof flashing is pieces of sheet metal, galvanized steel or aluminum. This component keeps water leaks from occurring in commercial and residential roofing systems. Contractors install flashing in the parts of the roofs and exterior walls that are vulnerable to leaks, such as roof valleys, chimneys and the intersection between a dormer wall and the roof surface.
You need to make sure your roofer installs the flashing correctly because when this component is faulty, leaks will most likely occur. When installed properly, flashing works with gravity to help ensure rainwater is diverted safely to the ground.
What Causes Roof Flashing Failure?
Normal Wear and Tear
Exposure to natural elements can cause wrinkles to develop in flashing. The material can expand and contract due to dramatic temperature changes, resulting in warping. The constant shrinking and expanding of the flashing create a wrinkled look on the flashing. Once this problem develops, water will penetrate the roof and your interior in the next rainstorm.
Insufficient Information About the Roof
Your contractors can make better plans on how to prolong the life of your roof and improve its performance if they know the original material and construction information of the material. Whether you own a home or business, it’s always a good idea to keep all documentation about your roof. This includes building plans, usually made by licensed architects and builders. These plans contain information about the materials used in your home and when it was built.
Flashing failure is common around structures attached to foundations. Poor installation is not the only reason flashing separates from the house, but it could occur if you hired an inexperienced contractor. Whether you are planning a roof or gutter installation, hiring a skilled contractor is essential.
A skilled roofer would also check your home’s foundation if there cracks in the flashing. If there are foundation issues, the cracks will not always show instantly. The cracks may start appearing around door frames or near the roof. Cracks are often the result of when a house’s foundation settles.
When the foundation of your home settles, the flashing may become loose. The most common areas that are affected by a settling foundation are the fireplace or chimney. You may need to contact a local foundation repair expert if you have noticed flashing separating or pulling away from the chimney.
DIY Flashing Installation
Roof, flashing and gutter installation is best handled by professionals. Keep in mind that flashing is one of the most damage- and leak-prone parts of a roof. This kind of project requires using the right tools and knowing the proper way to use them. Errors during flashing installation increase the likelihood of a leak developing.
How Do You Know if There Is Flashing Damage?
Roof flashing can still corrode over time even if it comes with galvanized coatings. If the flashing already has rust, it will no longer protect the components of your roof against water penetration. It would need cleaning, sealing or a replacement.
It only takes a small hole for water to seep beneath roofing shingles. Small animals can also create tiny holes in your roof, which could allow water penetration. Flashing with holes would need to be sealed before they cause major issues, such as leaks.
Cracks, Dents and Bends
Cracks and dents on metals break the galvanized coating on steel. Once the flashing has been compromised, it would be more prone to rusting.
High winds and extreme weather events can loosen the flashing on your roof. Repairs and replacements must be performed immediately if there are missing flashing pieces.
Leaks Inside Your Home
Signs of flashing damage can also be apparent inside your home. Check areas near your fireplace, windows and skylights for water leaks. Leaks can also occur in your attic due to flashing failure.
Damaged Shingle or Siding
Your siding can suffer from damage if the flashing does not shed water properly from the roof. You may notice signs of water damage on shingles in low spots of areas near flashing, such as bending and darkening.
Mold or Stains on Fascia Boards
When a contractor fails to install the drip edge flashing incorrectly, mold and water stains can develop on fascia boards.
What Can You Do About This Problem?
Hire a Professional for Repairs
Roofing jobs can be dangerous, especially if you are not trained or do not have experience. Flashing may not be the most noticeable part of your roof, but you should still care for it properly and address damage immediately. If you think there is flashing damage, make sure to contact a roofer as soon as possible to avoid leaks. At Northeast Gutters and Remodeling, you can count on us for your roof repair and replacement needs. Our team also specializes in gutter and siding installation.
Maintaining Roof Flashing Helps Prevent Damage and Failure
Flashing is usually installed in places where there is heavy water flow. When it leaks, water will easily enter your home. Getting regular inspections can help you keep track of the condition of the roof flashing. An experienced roofer would check for loose nails, holes and broken seals at the flashing edges. Roofing cement and caulking can also dry out, crack and crumble, which exposes joints to the elements.
Choose a reliable contractor for your roofing and siding installation project. At Northeast Gutters and Remodeling, we’re committed to providing you superior roof repair and replacement services. Call us at (860) 899-7878, or fill out our contact form to get a free estimate.