Flashing helps protect your roof and make it water-resistant. It covers vulnerable parts of the roof such as valleys, chimneys, and skylights.
Age and damage affect how well flashing can do its job. If your flashing fails, then your roof and its underlying structure don't have the protection they need. So, you should check your flashing for changes periodically and fix any damage as soon as you can.
What are the signs that you have flashing damage?
1. Internal Leaks
If flashing fails, then water might run under it. This water can seep through your roof and into your home.
If you can get into your attic or roof space, then you can check for signs of damage. Look for leaks and water stains under areas that have flashing on them. Painted areas might also start to bubble and peel.
Sometimes, you'll also see signs of mold in these areas. This is a sign that they have been damp for a while.
If you have metal flashing, then look out for color changes on the surface. If you can see reddish-brown marks, then your flashing might be rusty.
Rust will eventually compromise the flashing. It will eat away at the surface and create holes and gaps into which water can run.
3. Changes in Position
Flashing should sit flush and evenly on your roof. It should be relatively flat.
If your flashing suddenly looks different, then it might have a problem. Bumps, curling edges, and obvious gaps between the material and the roof are a sign that the flashing is failing.
4. Gaps and Holes
To do its job, flashing needs to fit snugly over its surface. However, if it gets damaged, then you might start to see some cracks, holes, or tears in the material. Parts of the material might also fall off the roof, especially after high winds or storms.
Any of these breaches are a problem. They tell you that the flashing isn't fully protecting your roof.
5. Pooled Water
Flashing should help rain run down off your roof into your gutters. If you can see small pools of water on your flashing after it rains, then the material doesn't have a straight run. It might have moved out of position. Or, it might have been incorrectly installed.
6. Roof Damage
Damaged flashing can go on to damage roofing materials. For example, if the flashing comes loose, then water can get under it and damage the shingles. If you can see damage to parts of your roof next to your flashing, then you likely need to repair your flashing and some of your roof.
Contact a roofing contractor to learn more.