Are you about to get a roof replacement? If so, you’re probably hearing new terms thrown at you. One of those terms you should have heard by now is roof flashing.

Roof flashing is an important roofing material that every roof needs. However, not many homeowners even know what it is or what purpose it serves. 

We here at Bill Ragan Roofing take pride in educating homeowners on all aspects of roofing, including the materials that make up their roof. That's why we're going to help you understand what roof flashing is and why it's important.  

By the end of this article, you'll learn what roof flashing is and the 3 things you need to know about it. And if you want to know how to find a great roofing contractor, grab the checklist at the very end to help. 

What is roof flashing?

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 a crucial roofing material that every roof needs to have. 

things to know about roof flashing

You’ll have different metal options to choose from for your roof flashing. These common types of metals are aluminum, steel, or copper.

The most common type of metal used for roof flashing today is steel. It gives you a clean look that fits most budgets. If you want an upgraded look, copper looks great aesthetically and will live longer but is going to cost you more upfront. 

Talk to your local roofing contractor about which of these types of metals will give you the look you want while staying in your budget. 

3 things you need to know about roof flashing

Now you know what roof flashing is and the type of metal it’s made out of. However, there are still a few things you need to know about roof flashing.

1. Roof flashing protects crucial areas of your roof 

Remember, roof flashing is used to direct water away from certain areas of your roof. These areas are the most vulnerable to leaks if they’re not properly protected. 

Installing flashing anywhere your shingles butt up against something, such as a wall, chimney, or in open roof valleys is crucial to the life of your roof investment. As long as your flashing is properly installed, these problem areas will stay leak-free for the life of the flashing material.

Be aware, flashing isn’t the only part of your roof that needs to be installed using correct roofing techniques to protect your roof’s lifespan. To learn more about how proper installation affects all aspects of your new roof, read this article on why proper roof installation is important

2. Your old roof flashing might not be replaced when you get a new roof  

If your roof flashing is so important, does that mean you should replace your old flashing when you get your new roof? That answer is different for every situation and will depend on the condition of the metal. 

Your local roofing contractor inspects your roof flashing when they come out to give you a quote for your roof replacement. They’ll check your flashing for rusting and if the integrity of the metal is still strong.

If your contractor doesn’t see rusting and the metal’s integrity is still holding up, then your flashing won’t need to be replaced during your roof replacement.  On the other hand, if it’s damaged, rusted, or if you’re upgrading from a 3-tab to dimensional asphalt shingle, it will need to be replaced. 

Ultimately it’ll be up to what your contractor finds during your roof inspection if they have to replace your roof’s current flashing during your roof replacement. 

3. Your roof flashing needs to be checked annually 

Remember, you won’t always have to replace your roof flashing when you get a roof replacement. No matter what kind of metal it’s made of, your flashing should outlive the original roof it was installed on. 

With it living longer than the roof, it’s crucial that your roof flashing is inspected as part of annual roof maintenance. This allows your roofing contractor to ensure the flashing is doing its job and the metal’s integrity is holding strong. 

This can save you from costly roof repairs and help catch future flashing problems before they start. Inspecting your roof flashing’s integrity is just one thing your contractor will check during an annual maintenance inspection. 

checklist of questions to ask a roofing contractor

The other roofing materials every homeowner needs to know 

You just learned what roof flashing is and 3 things you need to know about it. Flashing is a critical part of your roof that should always be checked out during annual roof maintenance. 

But roof flashing is just one roofing material that you need to know about. That's why we have another article breaking down the 9 crucial roofing materials that make up your roof. 

Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has been repair and replacing roof systems in Nashville and surrounding areas. Our workmanship ensures you get a new roof that lasts for decades.

Check out 9 Materials Included in Your Roof Replacement to learn the other crucial roofing materials.