Have you ever really looked at your roof? We all know the color of the tiles and the roof pitch, but have you ever wondered what directs the water flow off the roof and into the gutters? Roof flashing sits quietly in the corners and junctions, playing a vital role that is only appreciated when it is not functioning as it should. Will you know if you need a flashing repair for your roof?
What Is Roof Flashing?
Roof flashing is placed on roof edges, valleys, and junctions and between roofing and any obstructions such as chimneys, dormers, vent pipes and skylight perimeters. Its primary function is to direct heavy water flow into the gutters protecting the parts of the roof and external walls that are prone to leaks. Some examples of flashing are:
- Chimney flashing
- Continuous flashing – between vertical walls and sloped roof
- Skylight flashing
- Step flashing – where the roof meets dormers side walls
- Valley flashing – where two roof planes meet
- Vent pipe flashing – fits over pipes and flues
Usually made out of galvanized steel or copper, they can sometimes also be made of plastic, rubber, or heavy duty roofing felt. Over time, the flashing succumbs to water and other elements and will need to be repaired.
How Will I Know The Flashing Needs Repairing?
If your roof is leaking then there is a good chance that the flashing is damaged and needs repair. Flashing can deteriorate over time, rust, or even work loose and then not function as it should. Always call a professional roofing contractor to assess your leaks.
What Will The Roofing Contractors Do?
Using all the safety equipment they need, the roofing contractors will be able to safely examine your whole roof. They will start by removing and debris from the flashing, gutters, and drains and then do any repair work necessary. They can repair any small signs of corrosion but will replace the flashing if corrosion is severe. Depending on the degree of damage and the area it is found, there are various methods they will use to repair the damage.
- Small holes or corroded spots can be patched with the same material as the flashing or plugged with flashing cement.
- Step Flashing – new flashing is placed over the damaged area and adhered with flashing cement.
- Flashing will be completely removed and replaced if the damage is found to be severe.
- The areas that need to be resealed will be cleaned and then resealed.
- Chimney Flashing – If minor damage, it will be replaced like step flashing. If the mortar joint is deteriorating, the joint will be repointed.
- If necessary, flashing around dormers will be removed and old caulking compound scraped out. It will then be scrubbed with a wire brush and reapplied using urethane cement. All obvious seams will then be resealed.
Why DIY Flashing Repair Is A Bad Idea
Any roof repairs, especially vital structures like flashing, is best left to the professionals in the field. Most people who attempt DIY make the following mistakes:
- They procrastinate and the result is rotten wood, mold, and mildew in ceilings and walls.
- They don’t have the necessary safety equipment and harnesses and could injure themselves or expose themselves to harmful fumes and solvents.
- They don’t know how to navigate roofs or stand correctly to prevent slipping and falling.
- They have limited spare time and may only be able to work in bad weather conditions or when the roof is wet or slippery.
- They may use the wrong materials or rush the job and be left with a sloppy, unsatisfactory, end product.
Do you have damp water spots on your ceiling? There is a very good chance that your roof flashing needs some attention. Call Aabco Roofing and allow us to assess and repair the problem before the next rains cause more unnecessary, costly damage.