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What Is Flashing And Why Is It Essential To Help Protect Your Roof?

What Is Flashing And Why Is It Essential To Help Protect Your Roof?

Roofs are typically designed to allow rainwater to run off efficiently, but you will often find various features or structures that obstruct this flow. These protrusions include chimneys, skylights, vent pipes, dormers, parapet walls, and so on, providing spaces or crevices for water to pool. Such situations allow for water leaks or seepages into your roofing system or home that could lead to more extensive damage. To guard against this possibility, professional residential roofers will install what’s referred to as roof flashing to divert any rain or melt water and keep it from pooling and stagnating.

Let’s explore this material and its importance to your roofing system’s integrity, longevity, and effectiveness.

What Is Flashing?

The materials used for roof flashing are generally thin, rust-resistant metals such as copper, aluminum, galvanized steel, zinc alloy, or lead. This roofing material effectively covers the seams or joints between roof features and the roof itself, protecting your home from potential leaks, seepage, rot, and other damage.

Depending on the type of roof in question and the parameters of the flashing requirements, different metals will be chosen to meet your roofs requirements. Copper, aluminum, and steel are the most popular thanks to their superior malleability, durability, and affordability.

Types of Roof Flashing

The types of flashing used in residential homes are classified depending on their design, shape, and positioning. They include:


This is a relatively rare type of flashing to see in use but is generally placed at the edge of a roof meeting a vertical wall. Kickout may either come as a prefabricated piece all on its own or be soldered onto existing step flashing.

It’s designed to ‘throw’ water further from the edge of your roof, preventing it from trickling down the side of your home. 


As its name suggests, drip-edge is placed on the roof’s edge to direct water away from the wood below your shingles if your roof does not have gutters. There are three basic types of drip-edge: Type F, Type D, and Type C. The differences between them are their respective shapes, which will vary depending on your roof type.


The point where the two slopes of a roof meet will typically form a dip, which we call the roof’s valley. As you might imagine, this constitutes what most professionals consider a roof’s most vulnerable points because most runoff water will have to pass along it before leaving the roof.

Valley flashing lines this valley and is usually designed in a ‘V’ or ‘W’ shape. 

Shingle erosion and roof leaks are almost guaranteed to occur without valley flashing. While some roofing systems use woven valley or closed valley systems that will not require any flashing, open valley systems with metal flashing are far more durable, reliable, and easy to maintain. 


Also known as apron flashing, this type consists of long, thin, continuous pieces of metal that run along the joint between walls and sloped roofs, guiding water down toward the roof shingles. 


Often used with base flashing, counter flashing will usually be placed alongside chimneys during new constructions or roof replacement projects. If the project is roof re-flashing, this will be placed after step and base flashing have already been applied. 


This type is rectangular and set at a 90-degree angle. A roofer typically places it at the angle between the roof and a dormer or wall. It is called step flashing because it is placed in an ascending series that looks very much like steps, with each piece of lying between consecutive shingles.


This kind is located at the joint linking the roof and vertical surfaces such as roofs, chimneys, parapets, and front walls. 

Where shingles meld into front-wall siding, the metal strip will be bent into an L-shape extending at least 2 inches vertically and 3 inches horizontally along the shingles.

Vent Pipe 

This type is designed to fit snugly over rounded pipes, redirecting water away from exposed seams between the piping and the roof. Flues and chutes create unique vulnerabilities in roofing systems due to their relatively unique shapes, meaning it needs to be given close attention when installed.

Final Thoughts

If you’re currently constructing a new residential property and are considering whether or not to install flashing on your roof, consider that alternatives such as synthetic sealants and tar will not be long-lasting solutions.

When professional roofing specialists correctly install roof flashing, it will give you decades of effective use. Should you happen to be in North Port, Florida, don’t take any chances; make Mark Kaufman Roofing your first choice. 

Our dedicated technicians are ever-ready to give you a helping hand you need in a friendly, timely, and cost-effective way. Call us today!



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