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Commercial roof flashing can prevent water leaks and damages from occurring on a building and leading to more complex and costly issues. Repairing or observing roof flashing has a lot smaller price tag than paying for an entirely new roof. Looking at the difference price-wise between the two, “The cost of roof flashing repairs is also subject to the total cost of the roofing repair as a whole, and if the whole roof requires replacement due to flashing system failure, technically the flashing repair becomes an $8,000+ cost for a flat roof or around $7,000 for shingled roofs. It’s all subject to the type of roof on the commercial building and how extensive the commercial roof flashing system failure is,” explains Forbes. Keeping tabs on the roof flashing system can be difficult to remember, but handling the outcome of not keeping a close eye on the flashings is even worse. Not noticing the damages and failures in roof flashings can lead to water leaks, water damages, and potentially the need for a new building structure.
Flashing is a material installed to direct rainwater and other precipitation away from the roof and into the gutter to prevent water from causing issues. Some roof areas have a higher chance of causing a leak, especially where the water collects and sits, like valleys where two roof slopes meet. Due to the potentially extreme damage water can cause, flashings get installed at every point where the roof joins another structure—including chimneys, dormers, skylights, and vents. Commercial roof flashing can protect the roof from forming a leak, leading to needing a new structure on a house if left untreated.
Installing commercial roof flashing can be quite time-consuming due to the many different steps required. Usually, experts install flashing during the construction of a building and complete it before the siding goes up, so the flashing will usually not be noticeable. Additionally, that means for a repair job to be done on the flashing, the siding must get removed to reach the actual flashing. Proper flashing installation requires a professional, and before starting, they will see if the wall receiving flashing has a corner on the roof face. This will alter the installation process due to different pieces being made to fit the edges of the corner. Depending on what aspect the flashing will be against, for example, a plumbing vent, chimney, or if there is a wall corner or not, can alter the installation process and the materials used.
Using the wrong material for commercial roof flashing can lead to failure and water leaks through the roof. Usually, determining which material to use for flashing comes down to a material that will not degrade from contact with another incompatible material and flashing material for roof flashing that is impermeable to water.
Done properly, installing flashing can provide protection (and a sense of relief) against water damage and other serious issues. Rather than wondering what is roof flashing, educate yourself on flashing and the serious risks of ignoring flashing issues. That knowledge could save a lot of money and a building from needing a new structure.
To properly avoid roof leaks, damaged or improperly installed roof flashing must be accounted for and thoroughly examined. There are various flashes used and they will vary on the material used and when to use them. The roof flashing types include:
When flashing failure occurs, the root cause is either loose or wrinkled flashing. Failures of this nature can occur due to extreme fluctuations in temperature, poor installation, and if the roofing plans were unavailable. If the flashing shows obvious signs of damage or deterioration, this can cause issues with the inner roofing structure and make it more prone to water leaks. Depending on where the leak leads to, a moisture buildup can occur and potentially affect the roof’s wooden structure to rot. If a leak goes unnoticed, this can weaken or compromise the entire roof structure of the building and potentially need replacing.
A dramatic change in the temperature can cause the roofing to expand and contract. Due to this, the flashing may pull away from the roof, making it ineffective. This problem usually occurs around vertical dormers, parapet walls, story walls, and other vertical roofing surfaces.
The most common cause of roof flashing failure is improper installation. Installing components such as gutters, flashing, and roofing should always be done by a professional. Hiring a professional, experienced contractor can save the time and money otherwise spent to replace the flashing from poor installation.
The flashing can also fail because the original specifications of the roof were not available during the replacement or repair. This can result in the wrong material, technique, or type of flashing used. A reliable roofer should be able to provide you with plans to help avoid flashing issues.
When commercial roof flashing has been attached to the foundation of a building, failure almost always occurs. With foundation issues in a building, the cracks and problems do not always show up automatically. The most common places to notice cracks in the foundation are within the door frames and near the roof. Cracks can happen when the house’s foundation and structure finally settle into place. Additionally, the flashing may become loose once settling occurs. If the building has a fireplace or chimney, the signs will be most noticeable in those areas.
If a leak goes unnoticed or worse, untreated, this can affect the entire building by impacting the drywall inside the building. Moisture can seep in, saturate the building, and cause waterlogging. Serious health hazards could develop, including the formation and spread of mold and fungi. Additionally, due to the drywall losing durability and the added weight of the leak, the drywall will potentially collapse. To avoid replacing the entire building structure or just the roof, fix issues as soon as they arise.
To ensure the commercial roof flashing is up to standard and working as designed, regular inspections and maintenance can help spot the signs of needed repair. Some companies can perform inspections on the roof to check further to see if signs of damage have started. To fix a flashing failure, first look for the signs that the flashing is not working or needs replacing. Check the flashing for damages or bending, corrosion or rusting, loose or missing nails, dried out or missing sealant, or loose flashing. If any of those problems are present, it might be time to replace the flashing to prevent water leaks and protect the structural integrity of the building.
Flashing will commonly have issues attaching to the foundation of a structure, resulting inthe flashing becoming loose quickly. Loose flashing can occur due to faulty installation or, more so, from problems with the foundation. Having a contractor look at the flashing can bring issues with the foundation to light, such as cracks or stress fractures.
If the flashing shows apparent signs of wrinkles, this usually is from the weather. If the area receives extreme temperatures, this can cause warping from constant contraction and expansion of the roofing materials. High temperatures and excessive heat cause the roofing to expand, and lower temps a bitter cold cause contraction. When wrinkling occurs, the flashing will shorten in length and expose areas of the roof that should have coverage. Once the exposure occurs, the water will have full access to the roofing system and quickly affect the building.
Some may not have the opportunity to check the roof or roof flashings as often as they should. Rather than having to climb on the roof and look at the flashings, there are a few ways to tell if flashing failure occurs. Here are a few other signs to watch for that can signal the issue with flashing:
Flashing can protect a building from water damage and other significant issues through proper installation and care. Commercial roof flashing can provide peace of mind against water damages or the need for a new structure on a building. Proper installation and upkeep of roof flashings are vital to maintaining the waterproofing properties for longevity. Staying on top of the proper maintenance and inspection of buildings and flashing needs can be difficult to prioritize. Rather than falling woefully behind on essential tasks while trying to manage your building, choose a partner that can help. Contact Valcourt today to save your roof flashing and building.