What is Roof Flashing?

You can spot roof flashing on any roof that has been properly installed. Sometimes known as leadwork, flashing can be found anywhere that something protrudes through the roof or where the plane of a roof meets a barrier. The former includes chimney stacks, skylights, heating vents, dormer lofts, and more. The latter includes L-shaped roofs and adjoining properties where one roof is lower than the other. If you look at any of these points on a roof, you will see evidence of flashing – a thin, grey metal – marking the area.

But what, exactly, is flashing? In this article, we hope to answer that question for you:

What is the purpose of roof flashing?

Roof flashing is used to create a watertight seal and prevent your roof from leaking during wet weather. Each of those points we mentioned above are potential weak spots in your roof, forming tiny gaps at each join. Roof flashing is a malleable substance as well as being watertight and can be used to fill those gaps. Not only that, it is often slanted to direct and channel the water towards the eaves and gutters.

What material is used for flashing?

Roof flashing is made of a thin, malleable metal. Back in the day, it would likely have been lead (hence the alternative name for roof flashing – leadwork). These days, your roof flashing will probably be made from some other metal, such as zinc, copper, aluminium, or galvanised steel.

What problems can occur with roof flashing?

There are two key problems with roof flashing, both of which can result in a leaking roof. First of all, the flashing itself can deteriorate over time. While most flashing materials are durable and corrosion-resistant, they are exposed to the elements 24 hours a day. The constant shifts in temperatures cause it to expand and contract, weakening it over time and resulting in cracks or holes in the flashing.

The other main problem is the flashing coming loose from the gap and falling out. This can be caused by expansion and contraction too, inadvertently shifting its way out of the join over the years.

How do you know if your flashing needs replacing?

If you check your roof every year (as you should as part of your general house maintenance), you should always inspect the flashing while you are up there. If you spot any of the following symptoms, you should contact your local, reliable roofer to get the flashing replaced.

These symptoms include:

  • Loose or missing flashing
  • Missing or flaking sealant
  • Missing or loose nails
  • Signs of rust or corrosion
  • Evidence of damage (including holes or cracks)

Roof flashing guide: final thoughts

At LMC Roofing & Building Ltd, we provide full roof repair and installation services for customers across Birmingham, which includes fitting and repairing roof flashing. If you’re having issues with your flashing or have any other roofing concerns, contact the team today. Call us on 0121 325 1306 or 07508 731661 or send an email to info@lmcroofingltd.co.uk to arrange a free consultation with one of our roofing experts.



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