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Any good thing requires some TLC now and again. When it comes to roof flashing, it may not be something you notice, but it's actually the cause for the majority of roof leaks! You don't need to maintain your roof as often as your car, but it's important to periodically inspect it for any damage so any issues can be located and repaired. Leaks originating from roof flashing may go undetected for weeks or even months, leaving you with thousands of dollars of repairs and even potential health concerns. Here's what you need to know about roof flashing…
Flashing is a flat, thin metal that is rolled out across your roof and located underneath the shingles. After this metal is applied to your roof, it is sealed where it meets angles (i.e. the chimney or where your shingles meet the side of your home). This prevents water from reaching the most vulnerable parts of your roof and minimizes the chance of water damage. The ultimate purpose of flashing is to divert water toward shingles instead of allowing it to seep into cracks between the roof and chimney. If the top of the counter flashing is not properly sealed with a long-term sealant, water can travel behind the flashing and get into the attic or house. Additionally, if a rubberized membrane is not under the flashing, water can follow a nail head and go into your attic or house. Though flashing is most often made out of galvanized steel, you can also choose copper, aluminum, or lead flashing. Many people don't even notice roof flashing, but it certainly doesn't make it any less important!
Rust. Though rusted flashing may not seem like more than an aesthetic issue, the rust will eliminate the flashing's water-repelling qualities. Without this quality, the flashing no longer serves its purpose. Typically, rust is a reaction to the air so if you're living somewhere with more salt in the air, you will notice that flashing rusts faster than that of flashing on an inland home.
Overall Damage. Especially if you've had severe thunderstorms and winds, you will want to check your flashing for any visible damage as this could cause other severe problems in the future. If damage is found, get it repaired as soon as possible!
Loose Flashing. If your flashing is loose, it probably isn't doing its job properly. If its purpose is to seal your roof and divert water away, anything that isn't secured could divert water to undesired places instead of towards your shingles. If water gets under your flashing, you have a leak!
Bending. Bent flashing can also cause diversion issues, much like loose flashing. This part of the roof is crucial and will likely push water towards vulnerable parts of the roof.
Water Damage. Water damage is an expensive problem to solve. Not only could leaks occur in your roof, but they could also go as far as your walls. Water damage isn't just the water you see appearing on your ceiling but is rather the structural damage and potential mold hazard that comes with the leak.
Blowing, tenting, and billowing. If your flashing is already bent or loose, any significant winds could cause blowing, tenting, or billowing. If not addressed, the flashing could go as far as blowing off of your home entirely.
You never know when the next storm will hit. If you suspect your roof may have some flashing damage, it should be inspected, identified, and repaired immediately.