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How Does Flashing Work on a Roof?

Flashing plays a vital role in protecting the roof from water, and it can fail within a few years if it is not installed correctly. There are many causes of failure, including acid rain and salt air exposure. Heavy snow and scouring winds can also change the shape of flashing. Stainless steel is typically recommended for coastal environments. Regardless of the cause of failure, proper flashing installation will extend the roof’s lifespan.

Step flashing

You can install step flashing on your roof when installing roofing shingles. If you do not install step flashing, water will find its way through the shingles and down through the step flashing. Installing step flashing properly will ensure that water will drain away from the roof, as it will only catch the water that has rolled over the shingle below it. To install step flashing correctly, make sure to work in dry conditions and use a fall arrest system. You should also work with a partner if possible.

The first step is to lay down the first piece of step flashing on the seam between the roof and the side wall. The lower flap should extend below the nail line. Nail this piece of step flashing onto the sidewall. Continue to overlap the first row of shingles, then install the next piece of step flashing and nail it in place. Repeat this process until the entire roof is covered. Make sure that you place the nails high enough so that they cover the next course of step flashing, and work your way up to the top of the roof.

If you install step flashing from klauer.com/flashing, measure and purchase the proper size. Most step flashing measures 10 inches long by two inches wide. The shingle manufacturer determines the length and width of the step flashing. Once you have determined the size of your step flashing, lay it on the first shingle. Lay the flashing above the nail line of the shingle. Use nails to secure the step flashing to the roof deck. Never nail step flashing into the sidewall of the roof.

Kickout flashing

There are several ways to install kickout flashing on a roof. The kickout is the flashing that slips under the first shingle of the roof. It is typically installed with nails or staples, but this technique can be complex if the roof is made of stone or brick. The kickouts are then hemmed to prevent sharp edges from causing damage to workers. 

To install a kickout flashing, ensure that the step flashing is covered with a layer of waterproofing that does not show through the shingles. Once the flashing is finished, you should install the peel-and-stick membrane to cover it. Make sure to overlap the upper and lower courses of housewrap. To install kickout flashing, slide it as high as possible under the transition strip membrane. Afterward, install shingles on top of the shingles.

While gutter contractors are usually responsible for installing full gutters, they do not install kickout flashing on roofs. Kickout flashing is a task for a roofer. If not installed, a roof will eventually suffer water damage due to leaking gutters. Although kickout flashing is relatively easy to install, it is best left to a roofing contractor. If you are unsure about your skills, seek professional help.

Continuous flashing

Continuous flashing on a roof protects the joints where a sloped roof meets a vertical wall. It also prevents water from seeping underneath the roofing. It is applied under the roofing felt along the eaves and rakes. Skylights are also usually flashed. Curbs have continuous flashing at the base and step flashing up the sides. Then, a saddle flashing is installed across the top of the dormer.

Continuous flashing is one of the essential parts of a roof. It protects critical areas of the roof from water damage and leaks. Continuous flashing around walls, dormers, and other critical areas of the roof should be installed properly. Otherwise, these features may experience leaks and collapse. Whether you’re renovating or building a new home, proper installation of continuous flashing is essential to protect your home.

Also read: Top tips for keeping your indoor air quality under control

Lead flashing

A significant advantage of using lead as flashing is that it is highly malleable and flexible, allowing it to be bent and shaped to fit most roof angles. This quality has made lead the flashing material of choice for centuries. Lead is available in a wide range of thicknesses, from thin to thick, and they have specific ‘codes’ identifying which ones are the most appropriate for a particular roof job. 

As lead is a naturally occurring metal, lead flashing is a durable solution. Due to its finite supply and high cost, lead prices have risen in recent years, but if you install lead flashing correctly, it will pay for itself over the long run. The cost depends on the size of the project, the material used, and your budget. So, lead flashing is a solid investment in any roofing project.

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