The most common source of leaky roofs is the flashing put in place around protruding items such as chimneys and vent stacks. For this reason, it is essential that flashing by installed correctly. Whether you are building a new home or simply replacing your roof, if you would like to learn more about flashing, read on. This article will present three valuable tips for correct installation.

1. Choose a flashing material that can be soldered or brazed.

Most flashing is made of metal. The flashing around any given protrusion on your roof is made up of a number of small metal panels, which are bent and joined to form a continuous whole. What many people fail to realize is that the method by which these panels are joined plays a huge factor in how long the flashing will remain effective.

Soldering and brazing are the longest lasting ways to join pieces of metal flashing. But this method does not work for all types of metals. Only the following materials are capable of being soldered or brazed together:

  • copper
  • tin-coated steel
  • lead
  • galvanized steel

Other types of flashing are usually joined using some type of adhesive substance. The problem with this is that such substances are more likely to break down as the years--and decades--go on. Exposed to constant temperatures changes and UV radiation, these adhesives often become cracked and brittle, thus causing leaks to form.

2. Avoid aluminum flashing.

Many roofing companies will suggest using aluminum flashing because of its relatively low price point, compared to other metals. Yet aluminum presents a number of qualities which make it less desirable for long term use.

First of all, aluminum is one of the metals that cannot be fastened through brazing or soldering. It must be mechanically fastened, and then sealed using special caulk. This method makes it less reliable over time.

Furthermore, aluminum is highly susceptible to corrosion when used as a flashing material. The chemical makeup of the concrete, mortar, and/or cement used in chimneys and brick walls possesses a high degree of alkalinity. This alkaline will quickly eat away at bare aluminum, and you will find yourself having to replace the flashing again before long.  

3. Paint any flashing material susceptible to rust.

Certain flashing materials, such as tin-coated and galvanized steel, are susceptible to rust. In order to prevent this, they must be painted. This is a three step process. First, they must be washed with either soap and water or with paint thinner, in order to remove the thin coating of oil applied during their production process.

Second, a coat of special metal primer must be applied. Without this, this paint will fail to adhere properly. Finally, once the primer has dried, two topcoats of paint should be applied. Only by correctly following this process can you ensure that your flashing will remain free of damaging and unsightly corrosion.

Talk to places like Aerial Roofing for more information