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Did you know the average roof lasts about 30 years? It’s difficult to gauge when you need a roof inspection, but proper maintenance and protection are vital. To that end, many find themselves wondering, “What is roof flashing and why should I bother with it?”

If you’re dealing with a leaky roof and need to maintain it, we’re happy to help! Read on to learn more about roof flashing and its many benefits.

What Is Roof Flashing?

To begin, what is roof flashing? While it’s common in most houses, it’s a minor component that many homeowners and renters aren’t aware of.

Roof flashing is a thin material that can seal roof joints and seams. The material is impermeable so that water and other contaminants can’t get through.

Most often, this flashing is made of thin metal. However, there are some flashing styles that won’t use metal.

Flashing helps to stop water from leaking through and will create a seal against such hazards. Rain or other sources of water are often negated by the flashing entirely!

However, it’s difficult to install as a DIY. Roof contractors will often offer flashing in many styles.

Types of Roof Flashing

Now that we know more about roof flashing, we can look at the many types. Since it’s often made of metal, you may believe that there’s only one type, but it’s heavily customizable.

Here are some of the many types of roof flashing;


Base flashing is arguably the most common type of flashing. There’s a high chance your roof has base flashing without you knowing about it!

Base flashing goes on just before the shingles are laid down. As a result, the thin material helps your shingles stay waterproof.

Combined with the watershed design of most shingles, this helps prevent water from building up on your roof. It’s a great way to protect your roof and everything below it from water damage at little extra cost.


Step flashing is also called “apron” flashing. Best used as a secondary style of flashing, step flashing is installed around the edges of your roofing features.

Chimneys and skylights often have roof flashing around the sides. The flashing helps stop any water from getting into these intersections. These gaps are often more vulnerable than other areas, so it’s a critical spot to install flashing.

Drip Edge

Drip edge flashing’s name gives a hint as to where you’d want to install it! Drip edge flashing is installed on the edges of your roof.

Many times, this flashing goes over or into a gutter to help direct water into them. It’s an effective way to keep water away from your roof, but can strain your gutters in heavy rain!

Ridge Cap

Ridge cap flashing is installed at the top of your roof. Toward the top of the roof, shingles are the most vulnerable.

Installing ridge cap flashing will help this vulnerable spot more easily shed water. It helps to prevent any water from getting beneath your shingles, which can then flow down under your roof system. Your ridge cap flashing is one of the most critical parts of your roof.

Counter Flashing

Counter flashing is a protective flashing for your flashing. As such, you may feel it’s redundant, but it plays a vital role in your roof’s safety.

Counter flashing is installed into masonry walls such as brick or concrete. These protectors defend your step flashing to ensure that it can function properly.

Vent Pipe Flashing

Vent pipe flashing is self-explanatory. Your roofers will install this flashing around the vent pipes of your home to create a watertight seal.

Without this flashing, these intersections are exceptionally vulnerable. Make sure you’re defending your roof from infiltration!

Valley Flashing

Finally, valley flashing is installed at the intersection of your roof slopes. Where these intersections occur, water is often focused and can rush under shingles. Valley flashing helps to force the water out of this valley and into your gutters.

Benefits of Roof Flashing

With a better understanding of the surprisingly high amount of types of flashing, we can look at the benefits! Why should you worry about installing flashing in your home?

Protect Your Roof

The first and most dominant reason to install roof flashing is to protect your roof. Water infiltration can damage even the most high-quality roof.

When water damage occurs, it’s often difficult to fix. In severe cases, your shingles letting water in can force you to replace entire sections of your roof.

In the meantime, you’ll have to deal with pests, mold and mildew, and a leaky roof!

Easier Inspections

Another great benefit is that roof flashing makes a future roof inspection easier. Your inspectors will have a much quicker time of checking for damage.

For many inspectors, the first thing they’ll check is the flashing. If the flashing is undamaged, they can often rule out some types of damage or hazards.

They’ll also quickly deduce issues if you have a leak. It’s quicker to diagnose a leak if they can safely guess that your roof flashing has an issue!

Cheaper Investment

Finally, roof flashing is a cheaper investment. Some find this to sound backward, as it’s more expensive to install flashing than to skip it!

However, in the long term, skipping out on flashing can cause more damage. You’ll spend significantly more money repairing your roof than if you had installed flashing.

Replacing shingles that corroded from beneath them due to water damage is a minor fix. Replacing an entire section of your roof due to wood rot is a much more severe and expensive situation.

Flashing Your Roof

What is roof flashing? Roof flashing is a great way to defend your roof and property from rain during stormy seasons or inclement weather. Professional roof contractors can install this easy-to-understand barrier into your roof to keep your property safe.

For more information on taking care of your property, be sure to contact us at Hammerhead Roofing.

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