Roof Flashings and Waterproofing
Waterproofing a roof is widely regarded as one of the most important things you can do to enhance the longevity of your roof's life. Water damage is notoriously difficult to fight against and is a well-known culprit in a wide range of very damaging roof conditions. When left unattended, dripping water escaping into the material of your roof can lead to rot, mildew and a myriad of structural concerns. With this in mind, taking the time to look at the importance of roof flashing becomes obviously important. After all, taking the time to protect yourself now can go a long way toward saving you time and money in the future.
What is Roof Flashing?
Roof flashing can best be described as a mostly impermeable cover for the joints of your roof. Most roofs are comprised of many flat panels that form to create valleys and peaks in the roof. At the very least, almost all types of roofs form one major peak at the very apex of the home. At these juncture points, very small spaces are formed by very minor imperfections in the alignment of these different panels. Even a very small space here can allow an enormous amount of water to trickle through over a long enough period of time.
Flashing is used at these points as a barrier to provide an extra level of protection against water leakage. It covers the joints and makes it difficult or impossible for water to leak through to the roof underneath. Flashing is also often designed to roll water down toward the ground or shed it away from the joints in the roof. Flashing can be made out of a number of different materials, but different materials are used for different types of flashing. It all depends on where you want to place the flashing and what you want it to do.
Interior flashing is used underneath the top-most layer of roofing materials. It is generally used as a last resort barrier before water gets through to the attic or crawlspace. Interior flashing is usually going to be a membrane that you apply as a sheet, but there are other types of interior flashing. In truth, anything from a plastic sheet to a high-density spray-on polymer could be used as interior flashing. It really depends on how waterproof the material is and how you apply it to your roof.
Exterior flashing is used as the first layer of protection when it comes to waterproofing your roof. Exterior flashing is often going to be a v-shaped fixture that goes over the joints where the roof panels connect. The idea is that it will either catch or instantly shed water away from those joints and keep the materials below dry. Most exterior flashing will be made out of high-density plastic materials and can be cut to size depending on the project. However, there are also metallic flashing materials that you can invest in. These are used around chimneys and wood stove vents to serve the dual purpose of waterproofing and heat diffusion.
Why it Matters
It has often been said that water is the most powerful force on Earth. Water carves out enormous canyons, shapes rock, cuts through mountains and is not a thing to be trifled with. The same logic applies to your home since water can have a devastating impact on your home when left unattended. Water can cause rotting inside your roof, which can be very dangerous since it significantly impacts the structural integrity of your roof. There are also other issues to keep in mind aside from the basic structural dangers as well.
You also need to remember that having substantial amounts of mold and mildew building up in your home can be disastrous for respiratory health. This is especially true with mold that grows in your roof or crawlspace. As wind and forced air are pushed through the crawlspace or through attic vents, they can bring spores with them. This can spread mold and mildew into the air you breathe. At the very least, it can lead to a moldy, mildew smell permeating your house. While this may not seem very harmful on its own, the truth is that it can have big health implications for you if it's left unattended. Many respiratory complications can arise from overexposure to molds and their spores.
Roof Flashings are Absolutely Essential
In the end, the benefits of using roof flashing to make your roof more waterproof are many. While there is a slightly larger investment that comes with using better flashing materials, the added life you get out of your roof is well worth it. Also, many areas require specific types of flashing for your roof to be up to code. Taking the time to find the right flashing for your roof is essential.