Pop quiz! If we ask you to tell us what your roof flashing does, could you?
If your mind is drawing a blank, you are not alone. Many homeowners are unaware of how their roof system works and the various components that make it function. Roof flashing is often overlooked, yet it plays a critical role in maintaining a watertight and durable roofing system.
In this comprehensive guide, we will take a deep dive into the world of roof flashing, exploring:
What it is and what it does
The different types of flashing available
Signs of flashing damage
The costs associated with this essential roofing element
What Is Roof Flashing and What Does It Do?
Roof flashing is a concealed but crucial component of your roofing system. Essentially, it’s a waterproof barrier that’s installed in areas of your roof where water penetration is most likely to occur. The primary purpose of roof flashing is to divert water away from vulnerable areas, preventing leaks and potential structural damage. Here’s what it does:
Water Diversion: Flashing directs rainwater and melting snow away from vulnerable roof areas, such as valleys, seams, joints, and transitions between different roof surfaces, like where a chimney meets the roof.
Sealant: Flashing creates a watertight seal around roof penetrations, such as chimneys, vent pipes, and skylights, preventing water from infiltrating your home.
Prevents Mold and Rot: By keeping water out, flashing helps to prevent the growth of mold and the decay of underlying roofing materials, extending the lifespan of your roof.
Now that we understand the importance of roof flashing, let’s explore the different types available.
7 Different Types of Roof Flashing
Roof flashing comes in various materials and styles, each designed to suit specific roofing scenarios. Here are some common types of roof flashing:
1) Step Flashing
This type of flashing is typically used where a roof plane meets a vertical surface, such as a wall or chimney. It consists of small, L-shaped pieces of metal that are layered to create a shingled effect, providing excellent protection against water infiltration.
2) Continuous Flashing (Counter Flashing)
Continuous flashing is used to cover and protect the upper edges of step flashing, ensuring a watertight seal. It’s commonly used on chimneys, where it wraps around the base to prevent water from seeping in.
3) Valley Flashing
Valleys are areas where two sloping roof surfaces meet, and they are particularly vulnerable to water penetration. Valley flashing, often made of metal or specialized rubber, is installed in these areas to channel water away from the roof.
4) Vent Pipe Flashing
Vent pipes and other roof penetrations require specialized flashing boots. These are designed to fit snugly around the pipe and have a flange that extends onto the roof surface, providing a waterproof seal.
5) Drip Edge Flashing
Drip edge flashing is installed along the edges of the roof to guide water into the gutters and prevent it from running down the fascia boards. It’s especially important for preventing water damage to the roof deck and underlying structure.
6) Skylight Flashing
Skylights are potential sources of leaks, but properly installed skylight flashing can prevent water infiltration. Skylight flashing kits are often designed to fit specific skylight models.
Z-flashing is used in vertical applications, such as siding, to protect against water penetration where two surfaces meet at an angle. It’s crucial for safeguarding the integrity of your roof-to-wall connections.
Now that we’ve covered the various types of roof flashing let’s shift our focus to recognizing signs of flashing damage.
Signs of Flashing Damage
Maintaining your roof flashing is essential to ensure your roofing system’s longevity and to prevent costly leaks. Here are some common signs that your flashing may be compromised:
Visible Rust or Corrosion: If you notice rust or corrosion on your metal flashing, it’s a clear sign that it needs attention. Rust can weaken the flashing, making it less effective at keeping water out.
Cracked Sealant: The sealant used in conjunction with flashing can degrade over time. Cracks or gaps in the sealant are an invitation for water to infiltrate your roof.
Loose or Missing Flashing: High winds or other external forces can cause flashing to become dislodged or even blown away. Loose or missing flashing should be repaired or replaced promptly.
Water Stains on Ceilings or Walls: Water stains inside your home are often a telltale sign of flashing problems. If you notice water damage on your ceilings or walls near roof penetrations, it’s a good indicator that the flashing needs inspection.
Moss or Algae Growth: Moss and algae can grow on flashing, particularly if it’s been compromised and is holding moisture. This growth can further weaken the flashing and reduce its effectiveness.
Now that we’ve covered the importance of maintaining your roof flashing, let’s address the question that often comes to mind—how much does roof flashing cost?
How Much Does Roof Flashing Cost?
The cost of roof flashing varies depending on several factors, including the type of flashing, the material used, the complexity of the installation, and your location. Here’s a general cost breakdown for different types of roof flashing:
Step Flashing: On average, step flashing can cost anywhere from $5 to $15 per piece, and you’ll need multiple pieces for a standard installation.
Continuous Flashing: Continuous flashing is usually sold in rolls, and the cost per linear foot ranges from $1 to $5. The total cost depends on the length needed for your project.
Valley Flashing: Valley flashing is typically sold in rolls or sheets and can cost between $15 and $50 per linear foot.
Vent Pipe Flashing: A basic vent pipe flashing boot costs between $10 and $20, while more specialized options or larger sizes may cost more.
Drip Edge Flashing: Drip edge flashing is generally affordable, with prices ranging from $1 to $3 per linear foot.
Skylight Flashing: Skylight flashing kits are designed for specific skylight models and can vary widely in cost, typically ranging from $50 to $200 or more.
Z-Flashing: Z-flashing is typically sold in rolls, with prices ranging from $2 to $6 per linear foot.
It’s important to note that these are approximate costs, and labor charges for installation are not included. The complexity of your roofing system, the need for repair or replacement, and your location can all influence the total cost of your flashing project. For the most accurate estimate, it’s advisable to consult with a roofing professional who can assess your specific needs.
Keep Your Roof Water Free!
The best way to protect against a roof flashing leak? Hire a professional roofer to install roof flashing on your home! At Highroad Roofing, we bring years of industry experience and impeccable workmanship to every property we work on. When you need a roofing contractor that you can trust to help combat your roof damage, we’re the ones to call. Contact us today to get started!