What are Flashings and How are They Helpful in Re-Roofing?

A common concern that most homeowners need to address is to keep their house in good condition – and their roof more so. Damaged or leaking roofs not only leads to structural damage of a house but also burns a hole in a homeowners’ pocket. 

If it is a common problem across the country, then why should you as a Texan resident worry more?  

The answer is inclement Texan weather. 

Almost all types of weather conditions prevail in Texas. Be it high humidity or cold winters, blistering heat to torrential rainfall – you name it! And to top it off, add tornadoes, thunderstorms, hurricanes. No wonder the first casualty of your home is almost always its roof.

In such a scenario, what could be the remedy? 

Among other measures, you can consider re-roofing your house, depending on the damage caused. 

With re-roofing, new shingles are placed over old ones. This process can be carried out only if your house had a single layer of roofing previously. 

Further, the option to re-roof your house is restricted to certain kinds of damages. When the overall condition of a roof has not deteriorated, you may opt for re-roofing, given that it is a lesser expensive option compared to roof replacement. 

However, keep this in mind that re-roofing should be done to the entire roof and not only to a part of it. A few points to note here include –

  • Factor in the number of floors, age of your house and condition of the current roof.
  • Search for rotting or sagging beneath shingles.

If there has been no major damage to your roof, opting for re-roofing should suffice. Apart from shingles, tiles, asphalt, plastic coating and other materials, flashing may also be required for re-roofing. 

Roof flashing is a metal sheeting of a thin layer that diverts water from the joints and seams, to prevent moisture penetrating a roof. Even though flashings are quite underrated in the roofing process, it serves a crucial function, no less!

There is a wide variety of flashings available. These include –

  1. Valley flashing – These flashings are installed at the joining of two sections of a roof where an angled dip is formed.
  2. Drip edge flashing – These are put up along the edges of the roof.
  3. Step flashing – It is used usually around skylights and the area around the chimney.
  4. Vent pipe flashing – These kinds of flashing encase the round pipes which pass through the rooftop. 

Flashings are mostly made from metals such as copper, aluminum, and galvanized or stainless steel. Roof flashing is installed by way of underlayment and keeps water from seeping underneath the shingles. 

While re-roofing, installing flashings become highly critical in certain parts of the roof. Mostly along the joints where the roof surface touches the wall. This includes areas where the –

  • Roof surface touches front walls or sidewalls.
  • Roof protrusions found in skylights, kitchen vents or bathroom vents. 
  • Edges of the roof. 
  • Low points where slopes of a roof meet (also known as valleys)

The ultimate function of roof flashing is to secure the joints of the roof having higher propensity to accumulate water. 

With proper flashing in place, the accumulated water is re-directed from such areas and eventually drained out. If there is no proper roof flashing, leaks would most certainly develop in the vulnerable areas. It is of utmost importance that installation of roof flashing is done by expert hands, and also maintained in good condition. Experts also advise to conduct checks at regular intervals to detect any possibility of a sudden leak.  

Installation of roof flashing involves three major techniques –

  • Step flashing 

This installation is for areas where the roof face joins the wall. It is likely that water could seep down the wall and get absorbed in the building below. This flashing is installed within the layers of different shingles so that the water is diverted from flowing down the wall.  

  • Plumbing vent flashing 

These flashings are cylindrical in shape and installed encircling the vent. The installation is done over the boot or base. The boot’s height pushes water down to flow around the vent. 

  • Counter flashing 

This is the most popular form of flashing for chimneys. The flashing includes two pieces – one around the bottom and a second (also called counter flashing) embedded within chimney’s masonry. Casing over the base ensures that water does not seep behind the base flashing. 

Flashing is, thus, an integral part when it comes to re-roofing your house. Also, note that roof flashing should necessarily be installed by professional roofers. They are the ones adept in standard practices, safety protocols as well as relevant laws and building codes of a particular area. Anyone looking to undertake the task without adequate knowledge and practice can damage the roof further. 

However, sometimes installing flashings or re-roofing your house might not be sufficient to deal with the ensuing damages. You might need to opt for a roof replacement. 

While re-roofing and roof replacement may appear to be the same thing, there are quite a few differences between the two. 

To replace a roof, old shingles are stripped off from it entirely, and new felt or underlayment is installed. This way, the protection of roof deck is enhanced. Next, this deck is covered entirely with new shingles. 

Even by a conservative estimate, this replaced roof should hold good for another 20 years.

Coming to the cost of roof replacement – yes, it is rather expensive. However, the advantages of undertaking this process more than make up for its high cost. If there are seepages, leaks or sagging, all those are repaired, which saves greater expenditure in the long run.

So, if your damages are particularly severe, make sure you choose roof replacement, instead of re-roofing.