Roof flashing is a thin metal material that roofers install to direct water away from certain areas (walls, chimneys, roof valleys) of your roof. It’s one of the most crucial roofing materials that your roof absolutely needs.
Because it’s so important, does it mean roof flashing needs to be replaced when getting a new roof? The answer might surprise you.
For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners understand all aspects of their upcoming roof replacement. Now we’ll do the same for you by breaking down if flashing needs to be replaced during a roof replacement.
I start this article by diving right into if you’ll have to replace your roof flashing. After that, I’ll give you the 3 things homeowners need to know about roof flashing.
Do you have to replace roof flashing during a roof replacement?
So, will you have to replace your roof flashing when getting a new roof? That answer is different for every situation and depends on the condition of the metal.
If the metal isn’t rusted and your roofing contractor determines the metal’s integrity is holding up, you may be able to get by without replacing the roof flashing during your roof replacement. However, I always recommend replacing your roof flashing when getting a new roof.
(Roof flashing that needs to be replaced)
This comes down to the simple fact that you won’t have to worry about leaks down the road if the older metal starts to have problems. Because you’ll end up paying for new flashing anyway down the road, you may as well get it done when replacing the rest of your roofing components and materials.
(Rusted roof flashing)
Just know, some roofing contractors leave off flashing on your roof replacement estimate on purpose to lower their price. To be safe and to protect your investment, always expect your roof flashing to be replaced when getting a new roof.
3 things you need to know about roof flashing
Now you know that replacing your roof flashing when getting a new roof is recommended. But that’s not the only thing you need to know about this crucial roofing component.
Let’s get to the 3 things you need to know about roof flashing.
1. The common types of roof flashing
The first thing you need to know about roof flashing is the different types. Each type goes into certain areas to prevent leaks in problem areas.
The 3 most common types of roof flashing are apron flashing, counter flashing, and step flashing.
Apron flashing is an L-shaped piece of metal used at the base of a wall or penetration. It can be up to 14 feet in length to fit the base of a penetration.
Apron flashing is also used around dormers to prevent water from getting into your windows.
Step flashing is primarily used where shingles bump up against the sides of walls and chimneys. It works by placing a piece of metal (flashing) under every shingle installed right up against the side of a wall to block the water from running down into it.
Step flashing is installed step by step, by installing a shingle, then a piece of flashing, then another shingle, then a piece of flashing until the wall is completely protected. That’s why the term “step” is used for step flashing.
Counter flashing is also used on walls and chimneys. Counter flashing is sawed into an existing mortar joint, and then the metal comes over the top of the brick.
Counter flashing is sometimes installed in a step-by-step method like step flashing. But if you can actually see the metal, it’s counter flashing.
2. The types of metal used for roof flashing
Just like there are different types of roof flashing, there are different types of metals. The big difference is that the type of metal is completely up to you.
You'll have a few different metal options to choose from. The most common types of metals used for roof flashing are aluminum, steel, or copper.
As I said, it’s completely up to you which metal you choose for roof flashing. If you’re looking for affordability, go with the most common type of metal used for roof flashing today, steel.
(Copper counter flashing)
If you want an upgraded look, copper has a huge impact on the curb appeal and will live longer but will cost more than steel. Before making a metal decision, talk to your local roofing contractor about which type will give you the look you want while staying within your budget.
3. It’s important to have your roof flashing maintained
Your roof flashing should outlive the original roof it was installed on, no matter what kind of metal is used. And you already know my recommendation to replace the roof flashing during your roof replacement.
But whether it’s replaced or not, it’s crucial to have your roof flashing inspected as part of annual roof maintenance. This is the best way to ensure the flashing is doing its job and the metal’s integrity remains strong.
What else needs to be replaced during a roof replacement?
Now you know 3 things about roof flashing. Like I’ve said throughout, I recommend replacing your roof flashing when getting a new roof.
If you’re trying to save money and your roof flashing is in good shape, you may be able to get by without replacing it. But to be safe, prepare to replace roof flashing from the beginning when the time comes for a roof replacement.
Remember, roof flashing is a crucial roofing component that every roof needs. But there are even more components and materials that are replaced during a roof replacement.
Because of this, we wrote another article that breaks this down for you.
Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided high-quality roof replacements to homeowners in Nashville and surrounding Middle Tennessee areas. We take pride in our workmanship and back it up with a lifetime warranty.