Today’s roofing system is a complex set of components that contribute to protecting your home from outdoor conditions. Flashing is a component that is not often discussed, yet is considered by roofers to be crucial in protecting certain areas of the roof. Today, we take an in-depth look at what it is, and how it contributes to your roofing system.
The Importance of Flashing
Breaks on the roofing plane are some of the most vulnerable areas of a roofing system. These breaks include valleys, the parts where exhaust pipes penetrate the roof, and the areas where dormers, walls and chimneys meet the roof. Rainwater tends to collect in these areas. Since these areas have gaps, water intrusion that leads to leaks can occur, without adequate protection.
This is where flashings come in. These strips of metal are installed between the outer roofing layer and the waterproofing layer called underlayment or felts, and help seal off these areas, the same way sealants and caulking do at areas around the windows and gutter seams. In addition to galvanized steel, roofers also use materials such as rubber and plastic, as well as aluminum and copper.
Types of Flashing
There are several types of components that are classified as flashing:
Valley Flashing – This is the most common type of flashing, which can be readily seen on roof valleys. The cross section of valley flashing looks like an inverted “T”. The vertical protrusion works like a dam and routes rainwater down instead of into the other roof plane.
Drip Edge – The drip edge is a similar type of flashing installed at the roof’s edge. Shaped like an inverted “L”, this keeps rainwater flowing straight into the gutters instead of seeping into the roof deck by capillary action.
Vent Pipe Flashing – Vent pipe flashing is installed at the base of vent pipes and other tubular protrusions. It looks like a traffic cone prior to installation, with the top cut out depending on the size of the pipe, creating a snug fit.
Step and Continuous Flashing – Both step and continuous flashing protect areas where the roof plane meets a vertical area, like a wall or chimney stack. Step flashing is installed on surfaces that are perpendicular with the roof. It forms “steps” that follow the roofing material. Surfaces that are parallel to the roof’s edge are protected with continuous flashing.
To learn more about our services as a home remodeler, call Empire Roofing and More today at (412) 618-4729. You can also fill out our contact form to request a free estimate. We serve many areas in Pittsburgh and Wexford, PA.