Roof flashing, while it may not be a widely known concept to the general public, is a vital part of the roofing process. Roof flashing seals areas of the roof that are prone to leaking when it rains or snows. Typically composed of a thin metal material, you should place flashing in areas where water runs off or does not have a solid seal. 

Types of Roof Flashing

The best material for roof flashing is any thin metal material such as galvanized steel, aluminum, copper, or stainless steel. These materials give the flashing a clean look and provide the durability needed to withstand natural elements. From that list, the most common material used for roof flashing installation is steel. It offers a finished look and protects against corrosion. 

The most common types of roof flashing include:

  1. Base Flashing
  2. Step Flashing
  3. Valley Flashing
  4. Drip Edge Flashing
  5. Chimney Flashing
  6. Skylight Flashing
  7. Continuous Flashing
  8. Kickout Flashing

Base and step flashing stops vertical falling from seeping into cracks where the walls meet the roofs’ surface. As the water drips down the wall and onto the base or step flashing, the flashing directs the water off the top so it does not build up or find a poor seal and cause water damage. 

Valley flashing happens in the “valley” of the roof where two slopes meet and water drains. Drip edge flashing is similar to valley flashing. It directs water away from and off the edge of your roof so that it does not sit on the roofing materials and cause damage.

Chimney and skylight flashing are prominent around the area where the chimney or skylight meets the roof. This provides a better seal against outside elements. Flashing for chimneys and skylights is essential during the installation process.

Continuous flashing, while not particularly recommended, can provide some protection to your roof. It involves placing a single flashing piece over the shingles of the roof. This provides very minimal leak prevention to your roof and therefore may not be the best protection. 

Lastly, kick-out flashing keeps water away from the shingles or other cladding on your home and directs it into the gutter system.

Step By Step Instructions to Install Roof Flashing

Trainee roofer learning how to tile a roof properly

The roof flashing installation process varies depending on the style of flashing chosen for a specific project. Although the process differs, the basics remain the same. We will focus on installing the most common types of flashing; step and kick-out flashing.

Step 1: Install Underlayment

The roofing underlayment is a material used to create an extra layer of protection for your roof. You should install this underneath your shingles and on top of your underlayment. If you have a shingled roof, this means that you must remove the shingles to install the underlayment and flashing.

Step 2: Install Kickout Flashing

To install kick-out flashing you must first place it at the base of the roof, attaching it to both the wall and the bottom of the roof. Then, you will be able to begin to working your way up.

Step 3: Secure Flashing

Once you have installed the underlayment and the flashing, you must secure it by installing the first shingle. Using nails and roofing cement, secure the shingle over the base of the flashing to ensure a proper seal.

Step 4: Begin Reshingling

After you have secured the flashing with the first shingle, begin the roof shingling or reshingling process by repeating the previous step for areas that contact the flashing.

Step 5: Customize Flashing to Fit Roof

Once you reach the peak of the roof, you will have to custom cut the flashing and shingles to ensure they fit right. Customization is a must for flashing installation around chimneys, vents, skylights, and any other features on your roof that stick out. 

It is highly recommended that you hire a professional for the more complex roof flashing. That way, you can ensure that your roof flashing installation goes smoothly to prevent any damages or needed repairs. 

Conclusion

No matter the type of roof flashing installed, it is a vital resource to ensure your home does not encounter water damage due to heavy rain or snow. Keeping moisture out of your home and preventing roof leaks will help keep your home mold-free and prevent costly repairs. 

While the roof flashing installation process is time-consuming, it is a relatively simple process. Do make sure to follow all necessary steps to prevent early damage or replacement due to poor installation.