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What Is Roof Flashing? An Overview Of Different Types

Posted on July 20, 2023

What Is Roof Flashing? An Overview Of Different Types

Are you a homeowner wondering about the role roof flashing plays on your home? No matter the type of roofing material used on your roof, roof flashing is critical in keeping you safe and dry. From understanding the types of flashing materials to proper installation techniques and maintenance tips, this guide will provide you with the knowledge you need to protect your home.

Whether you have asphalt shingles, tile, metal, or another roofing material, this article will help you master roof flashing and ensure the longevity and resilience of your roof. Create a leak-free roofing system and safeguard your home with this expert roof flashing advice.

What If Roof Flashing

Roof flashing is a thin, waterproof material (usually metal, but sometimes copper or plastic) installed at critical points on your roof where different sections meet or protrude. Imagine it as a series of flexible barriers that channel water away from vulnerable areas and towards your drainage system.

Where is it found?

Flashing is crucial around chimneys, valleys, skylights, dormers, and wherever your roof meets walls. Each area requires specific flashing techniques to ensure a watertight seal.

Why is it important?

Without proper flashing, water can easily seep into your roof deck, leading to costly interior damage, mold growth, and structural issues. Flashing acts as a protective shield, ensuring your roof remains a reliable barrier against the elements.

Different Types of Roof Flashing

Roof flashing is crucial in protecting a building from water intrusion and ensuring the roofing system’s integrity. Let’s explore in detail some common types of roof flashing and their functions:

Continuous Flashing (Apron Flashing)

This long, single piece of metal is used where a vertical surface meets the roof plane. It directs water down to the shingles below, preventing water from seeping into the building.

Base Flashing

Specifically used around features like chimneys or walls, base flashing is installed around the base of a vertical surface to direct water away and prevent damage.

Counter Flashing

Installed opposite the base flashing, counter flashing covers the top of other flashings, such as step flashing. It acts as a protective barrier, preventing water from seeping behind the lower piece of flashing and into the building.

Step Flashing

Step flashing is installed against walls and other roof penetrations. It consists of rectangular pieces folded at a 90-degree angle and installed step-like along with the shingles. Step flashing directs water toward the gutters, ensuring proper drainage.

Skylight Flashing

Skylight flashing is designed to surround skylights, providing a watertight seal and preventing water from entering around the edges.

Valley Flashing

Valley flashing is installed in the areas where roof angles change, typically forming a valley. This flashing directs water through the valley and toward the gutters to protect them from water intrusion.

Drip Edges

Drip edge flashing is installed along the roof’s edge, extending slightly beyond the fascia. Its purpose is to direct water away from the fascia and into the gutters, preventing water damage to the roof structure and walls.

Kickout Flashing

This is installed where the step flashing and the gutter meet. It directs water into the gutter, preventing it from flowing down the wall and potentially causing water damage.

Plumbing Vent Boot Flashing

A cylindrical piece of flashing fits around the vent, with shingles installed over the base to force water to run around the vent.

Types of roof flashing
Types of roof flashing

Each type of flashing serves a specific purpose and plays a crucial role in the overall anatomy of a roof. These components work together to maintain the integrity of the roofing system and protect it from water damage. To safeguard the building and ensure its long-term durability, it is crucial proper installation and regular maintenance of the roof flashing is prioritized. By understanding the anatomy of a roof and the importance of each part, you can take proactive steps to maintain a watertight and resilient roofing system.

Essential Materials for Roof Flashing

The type of material used for roof flashing can impact its efficiency and longevity. Here are the common types of materials used for roof flashing:

  • Aluminum: Lightweight and easy to form, aluminum flashing must be coated if used with concrete or masonry roofing materials as it reacts with alkaline surfaces.
  • Copper: An aesthetically pleasing and durable option, copper flashing is malleable and has a long lifespan. However, it may change into a patina color over time.
  • Steel: Often galvanized for corrosion resistance, steel flashing is the most popular choice due to its flexibility and uniform look.

Your choice of material will depend on your specific needs, budget, and local building codes.

Roof Flashing Materials
Roof Flashing Materials

Installing Roof Flashing: Techniques to Know

There are different techniques for installing roof flashing, two of which are step flashing and counter flashing:

Step Flashing

Step flashing is a roofing technique that involves installing individual pieces of flashing in a step-like pattern along the roofline. 

Here’s the technique for installing step flashing:

a. First, an underlayment material, like roofing felt or an ice and water shield, is installed along the roof deck and up the wall adjacent to the roof.

b. Then, a single piece of step flashing is positioned on top of the underlayment and against the wall, with one leg of the L-shaped flashing lying flat on the roof deck and the other leg extending up the wall.

c. The roofing shingles or other roofing materials are then installed over the step flashing, covering it completely.

d. The process is repeated for each row of shingles or roofing material, ensuring that each piece of step flashing overlaps the one below it.

Counter Flashing

Counter flashing is used in conjunction with step flashing and is commonly applied around chimneys, but it can also be used at other vertical intersections. 

Here’s how counter flashing is installed:

a. First, a groove or recess is cut into the masonry above the step flashing to create a channel for the counter flashing.

b. The base flashing, which is the lower part of the counter flashing system, is installed by placing it over the step flashing and into the groove in the masonry.

c. The counter flashing, the upper part of the system, is then inserted into the same groove and folded down over the base flashing, creating a protective cover.

d. The counter flashing should fit tightly against the vertical surface to prevent water from getting behind it.

The Importance of Regular Roof Flashing Maintenance

Properly installed and maintained roof flashing is crucial for a roofing system. Ensure a professional installs your roof flashing correctly, as this will prevent water from seeping into vulnerable areas, preserving the roof’s structural integrity and preventing costly repairs. In addition to roofing maintenance, it’s important to consider the state of your home’s plumbing system. Services like Rohrreinigung Augsburg , a pipe cleaning service in Augsburg, can help maintain your home’s drainage system, ensuring it remains free from blockages and leaks. With its watertight seal around chimneys, skylights, and vents, flashing acts as a barrier against water intrusion and potential mold growth. Sealing gaps and openings also improves energy efficiency and reduces heating and cooling costs. 

Regularly inspecting and maintaining roof flashing is crucial to ensure its effectiveness. Flashing can lift up, or corrode over time if it’s made of metal. By prioritizing quality installation and upkeep of roof flashing you’ll be providing long-term protection and durability for your building.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the different types of roof flashing, their purpose, and how they work is crucial for every homeowner. By ensuring the correct installation of proper flashing and avoiding the top roof flashing installation mistakes, you can effectively shield your home from water damage, extend the lifespan of your roof, and avoid expensive repairs. If you require professional roofing services in Mississippi, look no further than Renova Roofing & Construction. With our expertise and experience, we can help you with all your roofing needs, including proper roof flashing installation and maintenance. So give us a call today at (601) 647-3433 to ensure your flashing is installed correctly and your home is protected.


A. Choosing flashing materials compatible with your specific roofing material is essential to ensure proper sealing. Consult a professional roofer to determine the most appropriate flashing options for your roof.

A. Roof flashing should be inspected at least once a year, ideally during routine roof maintenance. Reviewing flashing after severe weather events is also recommended to identify any potential damage.

A. Minor damage to roof flashing may be repairable, depending on the extent of the damage. However, significant damage or deterioration often requires complete replacement for optimal performance and protection.

A. The lifespan of roof flashing can vary depending on factors such as the type of material used, the quality of the installation, and environmental conditions. Generally, well-maintained flashing can last between 20 to 30 years, but checking it regularly is essential.

A. Signs of faulty roof flashing include water leaks or stains on the ceiling or walls, mold or mildew growth, damaged shingles or tiles near the flashing area, and visible corrosion or rust on the flashing itself. If you notice any of these signs, you must have your flashing inspected and repaired promptly.

A. Yes, roof flashing can be installed on existing roofs. However, the installation process may change depending on the condition of the existing roof and the specific flashing requirements. It’s advisable to consult with a professional roofer to ensure proper installation.

A. The cost of replacing roof flashing can vary depending on factors like the type of flashing material, and the complexity of the installation. Multiple quotes from reputable roofing contractors are recommended to get an accurate estimate for your specific project.