23 October 2020

All About Roof Flashing and Why It Is So Important

Flashing, which is a common thing to do on any construction of a house, is the thin pieces of sheet material, that are installed onto different areas of any house to prevent any water from getting through into the inside, or staying in puddles. They are mounted on the rooftops either onto a joint or at an angle created by a water barrier system, it helps to minimise or completely stop any water penetrating into aspects of the home such as the chimneys, doors, windows, skylights, and walls. 

It helps to reduce any of the problems, related to dampness, such as mold, bacteria, weakening of the internal structure due to the plaster getting wet, as a result of there being either no flashing or a worn out one. This website can tell you more about the advent of wet plaster. 

The materials that flashing is made out of is usually different types of metal, including copper, aluminium, zinc, alloy and stainless steel. When flashing was not an option back in the day, roof shingles were angled in a way as to keep any water away from the joints in roofs that would lead to the chimneys, and mortar flaunching was used. But now that we have this as a more desirable option, it has significantly decreased any water penetrating through openings and vulnerable parts of the top cover of buildings.

The Different Types of Flashing

There are numerous types available for any property, besides the roofing one, and these include specific ones for walls, used to prevent entry of water into the walls. The sill types, which are commonly placed under the windows of houses and are concealed, the channel ones shaped like a “U” which help to catch water almost like the gutters, and are installed on the edges of the tiles where the roof and walls meet. 

Then there is the drip edge, chimney flashing, kickout, through wall, more of which can be found here: https://carsaconstruction.com/replace-flashing-when-replacing-roof/ and are usually  also replaced alongside the replacement of any roofs or shingles. Especially if someone owns a very old house, and the roof has been around for decades, it is an important thing to upgrade these things before placing a new roof on top of it in case they begin to fail before the new roof does. 

In any construction site, there are local building regulations that can allow the re-use of the flashing if it is still in good condition, although this is not preferred. Because these are normally nailed into the coverings of the houses; re-using the same old ones may not be as stable when re-nailed into the same holes as before. 

The 4 Key Types of Designs

There are 4 key types of flashing designs, namely, Step, Counter, Continuous and Base. Which we will discuss briefly below. 

Counter-flashing. These are commonly placed above or opposite the base flashes to complete the application.

Base. This is the bottom piece of two parts. Chimneys, for instance, require a two-part flash. This ensures that the rain water is directed downwards away from the structure. In any case, because it is notoriously difficult to install this around something like a chimney, when done in two-parts it is guaranteed to be installed the right way.

The other reason for using two parts is due to the expanding and contraction of roofing materials as a result of weather changes. When the two pieces move with it, they can stay more secure, thereby keeping the whole system in place. 

Step. This one is designed into a rectangular piece that is bent to a 90-degree angle so it can be used between the roof and the wall. When they are installed, they are usually placed in multiple layers along side the shingles, so the water can flow away from the walls. 

Continuous or Apron flashing. This is named appropriately because it acts like an apron. This is the long piece of metal that is very visible on tops of houses or buildings, and they carry any rain water down to any shingles below. These are cleverly made with built-in expansion joints due to the house shifting, as mentioned above, because of weather conditions. If they did not have these joint in them, they would either break or warp and lose their ability to divert water away from the walls. 

The importance of these cannot be emphasized enough. If it weren’t for these utilities built on top of your homes, they would be susceptible to leaking and flooding from puddles of water being left on the tops, thereby weakening the structure and causing a lot on invisible internal damage to your property. These are a saving grace that every home must have. 

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