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Roof Flashing Basics (types of flashing and installation techniques)

roof flashing sloped roof

Your roof system includes many different components working together to drain water correctly and keep your property dry. One of the most important components for keeping your roof system working is roof flashing. There are several types and styles of flashing that should be installed around different areas of a typical sloped roof.

Purpose of Flashing

Metal flashing is installed around your roof’s most vulnerable areas to direct water flow away from potential hazards and into your gutter drainage system. This includes areas where roof shingles or tiles meet a vertical wall or a sloped sidewall, as well as chimneys, skylights, plumbing stack vents, bathroom or laundry vents, and more. The most common flashing material today is steel due to it’s highly effective water diversion, but there are also flashing options in aluminum and copper metals.

Types of Flashing

Step Flashing

Step flashing is used when a sloped roof meets a vertical sidewall. It is made from individual metal pieces (usually 4” x 4” x 8”) that are overlaid and woven into your roof material in a way that ensures water cannot get into the roof-to-wall joint.

step flashing
Step Flashing

Headwall Flashing

Headwall flashing is used when the upper end of a roof section meets a horizontal vertical headwall. This is sometimes also called an apron flashing, or just wall flashing. It is made from “L” shaped metal that is usually 10 feet in length and cut to custom-fit the wall section it is being installed in.

Headwall Flashing
Headwall Flashing

Counter Flashing

Counter flashing is used to secure step or headwall flashing into brick, stone, or stucco walls in which the metal cannot be tucked into the wall itself. It requires precision and skill to install counter flashing with mortar fasteners and sealants to keep the wall free of leaks.

Counter Flashing
Counter Flashing

Penetration Flashing

Your plumbing system has vent stacks with pipes coming through your roof. These roof penetrations can be vulnerable to leaks and have special flashing pieces your Denver roofer will install to make sure no water gets in.

Pipe Boot Repair
Pipe Boot Flashing

Chimney and Skylight Flashing

Chimneys and skylights are common vulnerable areas on your roof. They are flashed using headwall and step flashing as described above, and in some cases your Denver roof installation team will custom-cut sheet metal on-site for especially large or oddly shaped chimneys and/or skylights.

Chimney Flashing
Chimney Flashing

Valley Metal

On most shingle roofs, the valleys are protected by using Ice and Water shield. Sometimes, however, a 24 inch wide metal valley flashing will be installed for extra moisture protection in the valley.

Valley Metal
Valley Metal

Drip Edge

Drip edge flashing is one of the most important that should be installed on all homes. It is a roof-to-gutter flashing used to make sure water draining from your roof doesn’t trickle back under the shingles, rather it drains into your gutter system. Drip edge should be installed at all eave-and-rake edges around the entire perimeter of your roof.

Drip Edge
Drip Edge

Cap Metal

On flat roofing systems, such as most commercial roofs (and some residential), a cap metal flashing will be installed where a parapet wall is present. The cap metal covers the roof membrane attachment point, and prevents the perimeter wall from becoming leak-prone.

Cap Metal Flashing
Cap Metal Flashing

 

If your flashing is failing, it may be able to perform a spot repair to get the flashing back into working order. This may require some of the flashing to be replaced, which most Denver roof repair companies should be able to perform relatively quickly and inexpensively. If the problem is larger than just one area, however, you might need part of your roof to be replaced.

During full roof replacements, your flashing will almost always be replaced along with the underlayment and shingles or tiles. Your Denver roofing contractor will be able to determine if your existing flashing is reusable before your project begins.

Does your flashing need repair? Contact our team to discuss your question today.