When metal flashing fails, it creates a leaky spot in the roof. That’s why it’s important to perform regular roof inspections and know when the flashing needs repair.
Flashing is thin pieces of impervious material, typically copper or galvanized steel, that are installed at junctures where the roof meets other structures. These include chimneys, vent pipes, valleys where two roof planes meet, and over windows. Basically, any place where the roof intersects with another structure — and these junctures tend to expand and contract as the weather changes — the flashing helps keep water out.
The most common type of roof flashing is known as valley flashing and consists of a narrow strip of metal with a vertical fin that prevents rainwater from flowing from one roof to the other. In addition, valley flashing provides a watertight seal for the soffit where the roof meets the fascia board. A small amount of caulk can be added to the joint to further protect it from moisture.
During a roof inspection, you should check the flashing roof flashing repair for signs of damage, including missing or damaged shingles. You should also look for rust, corrosion, or dents in the flashing. If you see these, it’s a good idea to call a professional roofing contractor.
A skilled roofing contractor can inspect the roof flashing and determine if it needs repair. If the flashing is corroded or badly bent, it may need to be replaced altogether. It’s a job best left to the professionals, as it involves removing several rows of shingles in order to gain access to the flashing. That’s a job that can easily go wrong if you’re not careful, so it’s always a good idea to call in the pros.
Leaks caused by damaged or corroded flashing are often difficult to detect. It’s not uncommon for the water to trickle in through other areas of the building envelope rather than directly through the shingles, and this can be quite destructive to the structure.
If you see any signs of water damage in the attic or basement, it’s a good idea to check your roof flashing. If you notice that the shingles are lifting around the flashing, this indicates that the flashing is no longer doing its job and that moisture is seeping in behind the shingle. It’s important to fix this problem right away to avoid severe water damage in the future.
Besides repairing the flashing, you should also inspect the soffit/main roof joint and the gutter downspouts. If you find that the soffit/main roof joints are not properly sealed, you can remedy this by applying a strip of an adhesive ice-and-water barrier (available where roofing repair products are sold) to the soffit/main roof joint. The barrier should be at least 2 in. wide, and it should overlap a piece of flashing that runs along the ridge line, or at least over the main roof flashing.
You should also inspect the area around window and door frames, as well as cracks and knotholes in siding and dormer walls. If the caulk in these areas is old and cracked, it needs to be replaced with a high-quality product that will provide an effective seal against water penetration.