Roofs are supposed to protect the home and its occupants from rain, snow, wind and other elements. Shingles, shakes and other roofing material is put on roofs to accomplish this, but they can't do it alone. Flashing is an important and needed part of roofing that can help keep water out of a house and prevent damage. Flashing is placed in vulnerable areas and there are different types of flashing for each area of the roof.
Continuous & Drip Edge
Continuous flashing is placed in the joint between a sloped roof and a vertical wall. Drip edge flashing keeps water from getting in at the edges of the roof along the eaves and rakes. The flashing is attached along the eaves underneath roofing felt. It is also placed on top of roofing felt along rakes.
Step flashing is shaped in right angles and is worked into shingles to form an overlapping layer of protection. It is applied where the roof intersects with chimneys, skylights and dormers. To keep water for getting in, the vertical edge of step flashing is placed under siding or covered with another piece of flashing, which is secured to a chimney or skylight with caulk or mortar.
Valley & Vent
Where two sections of a roof meet it is called a valley. These areas can be vulnerable to damage or leaks. Valley flashing adds a layer of protection. Made in the shape of a V or W, valley flashing is put in place on top of roofing felt before shingles or other roofing material is installed. Vent pipe flashing is cylinder or cone-shaped and has a flange rim at the bottom. While roofing is being put on, the vent pipe flashing is worked into the shingles, going over pipes and flues.
Chimneys & Skylights
Chimneys and skylights need flashing but there isn't a particular type of flashing designated for these areas. That is because the shape of chimneys and skylights requires several different types of flashing. For both skylights and chimneys, continuous flashing is used on the base, step flashing on the sides and saddle flashing on top. Chimneys also need cap flashing on its top edges.
Flashing is important to keep water off your roof and to limit damage, but flashing must be maintained for it to be effective. Routinely check for loose nails, rusty metal and be sure to caulk where it is loose or peeling. Flashing, like other roofing material, can be affected by rain, snow and other weather. Any flashing that is loose, damaged or corroded should be replaced immediately.
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