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Silver Spring Roofing: Article About Roof Flashing Science

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When contractors use the term "flashing," they're referencing the metal pieces installed with shingles to cover an entire rooftop effectively. Shingles can only be installed on the roof's flat surfaces, not on 90-degree corners or around penetrations. A Silver Spring roofing professional applies flashing in specific areas to create a leak-free installation.

If homeowners look at a rooftop closely, they will notice a mixture of flashing and shingles. Although the shingles are the most prevalent material, flashing is mainly found around penetrations. Pipes, vents, chimneys and skylights all require flashing around them. Because temperatures are extremely hot or cold on the rooftop, the metal flashing can expand and contract with surrounding materials. The metal doesn't crack or warp, giving it slight flexibility around penetrations. No leaks should emanate around those rooftop items with proper flashing installations.

Homeowners will also notice flashing along roof eaves or drip edges. Although shingles do extend slightly past the roof's edge, there is installed flashing at that point to prevent rot along fascia boards and soffits. Stainless steel flashing doesn't rust, allowing water to flow into the roof's gutter system with no harm done to the edge itself.

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Any rot or decay at the drip edge is often caused by poor flashing installation.

Experienced contractors usually install flashing based on customized cuts performed at the job site. Although there are preformed flashing pieces available, metal sections conforming to a particular structure are more watertight than mass-produced pieces. The homeowner's cost may even be reduced with customized flashing. Contractors purchase stainless steel in bulk, making individual pieces less expensive.

Homeowners should know that flashing works directly with gutter systems to direct rainwater. Shingles are simply flat sections protecting the roof, but flashing is formed into bent sections. These curves become water thoroughfares to direct water off the roof. Shingles cannot direct water in any direction except in a downward motion. Because metal can last hundreds of years, water doesn't damage the curves as it moves to the gutter system. Only if water remains stagnant on metal can it begin to produce some damage.

Many materials can be called flashing, but the most common choice is stainless steel. Homeowners can verify flashing as stainless steel by asking the on-site contractor. The material must be listed in detail within the roofing contract to avoid mistakes caused by using improper items. The stainless steel description should be on the first page with all materials involved with roof replacement or repair.

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