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Atlanta Roofing: Article About Common Roof Flashing Issues

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All roofs have relative weak spots and strong spots. For example, a break in the roofing, such as a chimney or a dormer, increases risks of leaking. To add an extra level of protection to these areas, roof flashing is used. Flashing typically consists of sheets of metal that are cut to fit along seams and other exposed areas of the roof. However, should the flashing weather over time, or, more frequently, should it be improperly installed, serious roofing damage can occur. When a homeowner finds issues with his or her roof flashing, reliable Atlanta roofing contractors can usually offer advice on the best course of action.

Perhaps the greatest problem related to roof flashing is leakage and water damage. Flashing is made of highly resilient metal, but even the flashing itself can degrade with time. In some cases, the metal may rust, and, in other cases, the flashing itself may simply lose its seal with the rest of the roofing material. In either situation, the issue may quickly cause water to begin seeping into the roof. The roofing cement or caulking that surrounds the flashing may also degrade over time, leaving the roof susceptible to water damage.

Regular roof inspections are a key step towards maintaining a solid, reliable roof that lasts many years. As part of any professional roof inspection, homeowners should expect the roofers to carefully check the condition of the roof flashing.

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Any visible spots of cracked or crumbling caulking around the flashing is a bad sign.

Leaking isn't the only potential problem that can result from damaged flashing. Poorly installed or weathered flashing can also cause roof blow offs. Particularly on hot bituminous roofs, it's fairly common for subpar contractors to install flashing imperfectly. When the flashing is not securely attached to the roof, the open seams may allow wind to blow under and up against the roofing. If this happens and the roof is not securely installed, there is a very real risk of a blow off.

In addition to flashing problems on hot bituminous roofs, some of the most common flashing installation problems involve torch applied modified bitumen roofs and cold applied bitumen roofs. Built up roofs, also called BURs, are also particularly susceptible to leaking around improperly installed flashing.

In essence, the primary purpose of flashing is to fortify a relative weakness in the roof structure, whether around a chimney, along a roof valley or around a dormer. Therefore, as soon as flashing fails, the most structurally vulnerable areas of the roof are exposed. It should come as no surprise, then, that flashing problems are among the most common causes of leaking roofs.

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