Humanity has been in a battle to keep rain out of living spaces forever. How humans go about that has progressed over the years, but the core reason for the battle remains the same. One area that is always a challenge are weak points that are prone to leaks; for those areas, we have flashing. Here’s how flashing works, and why it is such an essential part of your roofing.
No matter who you hire as roofing contractors in Conroe, TX, they will emphasize the importance of flashing and installing flashing correctly. The best roof has a serious drawback if its flashing does not block the rain from permeating weak points. Those weak points are numerous on your standard roof.
Most people think of weak spots as just areas where a chimney might protrude or a vent sticks up. Those are certainly trouble spots for leaks and need some extra attention from a residential roofing service, but they are only a little fraction of the story. In addition to these obvious weak points, there are a few more:
· Joints: This is where the slopes on a roof meet. The most obvious one is the pinnacle, but most roofs have valleys and protrusions where roof slopes meet. Dormers are one great example of several types of joints meeting the central roof at differing angles. This includes where the dormer wall meets the roofing materials.
· Penetrations: These cover bathroom vents and chimneys, but also any skylights or specialty items like solar panels, satellite dishes, gutters, rain directors, or anything else that penetrates through your residential roofing into your house. Any place there is penetration is an opportunity for water to seep through; flashing helps prevent that, usually used in tandem with sealants.
Flashing is any material that is not easily penetrated by water and can be set up to redirect water away from a penetration or joint to keep it from getting in the house. Without flashing, those vulnerable places would eventually develop leaks, sometimes immediately. This is because water can get into almost anything and always looks for the path of least resistance, as dictated by gravity. If you have, for example, a slight gap between your chimney and roof, or the roof above is directing water over that gap, water will seep into your house. That can lead to a host of issues.
Over time, flashing has consisted of anything that could repel or redirect water. Tree bark, slate, and sealant have all been used as flashing. The most common flashing today is sheet metal that is molded to fit the penetration or joint. Another popular technique is for residential roofing services to use shingles to redirect water flow from joints.
This approach is not usually used for penetrations, unless the shingle can cover the penetration entirely. Other flashing materials commonly used are copper, steel, zinc, or aluminum. In some cases, flashing is still made out of lead because it is so durable. It should be noted that copper is expensive and, thus, any residential roofing repair needed for copper flashing will cost quite a bit. Other, less common, flashing materials include both rubber and plastic, but both rot and degrade much faster than metal.
Without flashing, it is likely your house would leak every time it rained, even if you did not see any evidence of a leak. With flashing, the weak spots on your roof will not be penetrated by rain or melting snow or ice. For more information on roofing flashing, check out AM Commercial / Residential Roofing.