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You may have heard the term “flashing” if you’ve recently had your roof inspected. Most homeowners already know about shingles, downspouts, and gutters, but flashing may be less familiar to you. Nonetheless, flashing is one of the most critical roof components, so keeping it in top condition is paramount.

Read below to learn everything you should know about roof flashing. You’ll come away with a solid understanding of how flashing works and its role in protecting your roof. You’ll also learn why you should have your roof flashing inspected—and how often.

Our professionals at Polaris Roofing Systems expertly inspect, repair, and install roof flashing and other roofing features. To learn more about our roofing services, call us at (928) 699-4840. We proudly serve Flagstaff, AZ and the surrounding area, and look forward to assisting you with your roofing needs.

What Is Roof Flashing?

what is roof flashing

Flashing consists of thin, water-resistant sheets, strips, or rolls that roofers strategically place over certain areas of a roof. These areas are where shingles run into a vertical structure protruding from the roof’s surface. Flashing can also cover the “valley” where two slopes on a roof overlap.

Roof contractors typically install flashing under or around these structures:

  • Dormer windows
  • Chimneys
  • Skylights
  • Bathroom or kitchen vents
  • Edges such as eaves or rakes

What Does Flashing Do?


roof valley flashing

Shingles are not enough to protect the vertical or uneven areas of a roof. These junctures create a thinner surface on the roof that makes it more vulnerable to pooling water. Flashing is what seals those thinner areas and waterproofs them.

Flashing works by directing water away from the roof deck to travel down the siding and toward the gutters. Flashing’s flat shape helps water slide away from vertical structures. This function is why flashing is so essential for waterproofing a roof and preventing leaks.

What Are the Types of Flashing?

We have four main types of roof flashing that may or may not work together to build a larger flashing barrier:

  • Base flashing. Base flashing is the membrane-like flashing installed below the shingles that merge with a vertical structure.
  • Step flashing. Typically consisting of L-shaped sheet metal, step flashing often covers the space where the roof meets a wall or chimney.
  • Counter flashing. Installed as a strip that usually covers the step flashing, counter flashing may consist of aluminum, galvanized steel, tin, copper, or metal roofing.
  • Continuous flashing. Using a long, apron-like metal sheet, roofers often install continuous flashing where the roof meets a sidewall.

Besides these main types of flashing, many other flashing varieties exist that can custom-fit a roof structure. For instance, you can choose skylight-specific flashing if your roof has a skylight.

How Do I Know If I Have Damaged or Defective Flashing?

You can detect damaged flashing if you hear rattling or banging on your roof during inclement weather. This noise indicates loosened or otherwise faulty flashing. Roofing leaks are another major sign of damaged flashing that requires immediate repair.

Why Should I Get My Flashing Inspected?

Flashing is crucial to maintaining the structural integrity of your roof. Not having it inspected drastically raises the risk of roof leaks. You want to avoid leaks at all costs since they can rapidly weaken your roof.

It’s also wise to get your flashing inspected regularly since repairing it as needed can save you stress. First, you’ll only need to get minor repairs versus having to repair a large section of your roof. These minor repairs will also save considerable money as you won’t have to shell out thousands of dollars for roof replacement down the road.

How Often Should I Get Flashing Inspected?

You should get your flashing inspected twice a year along with the rest of your roofing structure. Scheduling inspections in spring and fall tends to work best for homeowners due to the milder weather.

Besides getting regular inspections, you should also schedule an inspection after a severe weather event. Many homeowners in the Huntington area take this preventative measure following a severe winter or summer storm.

Schedule a Flashing Inspection, Repair, or Replacement Today

Are you a property owner in the Flagstaff area? Contact Polaris Roofing Systems to learn more about roof flashing and our roofing services. Call today at (928) 699-4840 to schedule an inspection.

Justin Young

Justin Young

Justin young has been in the construction trade for nearly 25 years, focusing on insurance restoration and roofing. While attending Arizona State he worked in new construction custom homes until the opportunity came to get back into restoration and roofing. Roofing came full circle and Justin was promoted to General Manager of a local roofing company. As that progressed he ventured out on his own to start his own company, Polaris Roofing Systems. He prides himself on being on the cutting edge of roofing materials, applications and roof quality. Justin enjoys spending time with his 2 young children and wife. Justin prides himself, his company and continued growth on the people around him and the integrity for which it stands for.

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