If you are involved in the Torquay, Newton Abbot and South Devon Roofing industry you will obviously know what the flashings on a roof are. However, not many homeowners are aware of what this important part of the roof is made from and the job that flashings do.In this article, we look at the role of roof flashings and the different types to show just how important they are to keeping a secure roof over your head!
What are Roof Flashing?
In simple terms, roof flashings are used as a means of weatherproofing the roof to prevent water from entering the property through the joints or seams that occur around pipes, chimneys or adjoining roofs. If you look up to the roof of your house and observe the bottom of the chimney, you are likely to see a strip metal where it attached to the roof; this is a flashing. This type of exposed flashing (so named because it is visible to the eye) is normally made from metal such as lead, aluminium, or copper, galvanized steel, stainless steel, zinc alloy or lead-coated copper. It is important, if the flashing is to effectively deflect the moisture away from the joint between, say, the chimney and the roof, that is is not allowed to degrade as a small fault, tear or hole can result in significant water infiltration.
Types of Flashing
The most frequently used type of flashings are known as apron, chimney, continuous, skylight, valley, drip edges and vent pipe. As their names suggest, these types of flashing serve different parts of the roof’s structure. With metal flashings it is important to take account of the likelihood of expansion in warmer weather to prevent the metal from tearing, which will cause it to lose its effectiveness in preventing the ingress of water. Flashings are extremely important in the case of a flat roof, where the water is most likely to “pool”, and where it is therefore even more necessary to ensure that, where this occurs, the flashing protects the property from moisture permeating the roof void. Although this article is dedicated to roof flashings, we should also point out that other parts of the house, such as where windows and doors join the walls, also require flashing. In these cases it is likely that materials such as rubberized asphalt, rubber and compounds acrylic will be used.
Repairing and Replacing Flashings
The main cause of damage to flashings is fatigue, external damage caused by the weather or animals or where the flashing slips as a result of gravity pull. In all these events it is necessary to repair the breach, usually through the creation of a bung or, if the damage is widespread and/or the flashing is very old, by renewing it altogether. Whilst is may be relatively expensive to renew the flashings in their entirety, is is a false economy to delay doing so as the internal damage that can be caused by water infiltration can be quite significant.
Flashings have been used for hundreds of years to protect our homes from the damaging effects of water penetration. They are a key component of every roof structure and care should be taken to ensure that they are not damaged. It is a good idea to have your roof flashings checked regularly to ensure that they are provdiing an effective barrier against the elements, not least as the damage that can be caused to the interior of a property when the flashings have broken down is not always immediately apparent.
If in doubt about the condition of your flashings or if your suspect that there may already be a problem please:
Contact The Roofers SW
The Roofers SW, South Devon Roofers,
Decoy Industrial Estate,
DEVON TQ12 5NA.
Tel 07515 393231 07710 621755 0800 0322213