Counter Flashing Material Options: Pros and Cons
While one can safely assume that building materials such as brick, stone, and vinyl provide protection against water seepage that can fatally damage exterior and interior wood structures, another precaution that extends the life of wood structures is flashing. Flashing, a stripping usually formed from metal, is utilized oftentimes at joints or seam points where a crease occurs or where two objects intersect, such as a vent pipe protruding from a roof, in order to divert water away from the weak spot or opening. In the case of brick walls and in particular brick chimneys, counter flashing, using two pieces of flashing wherein one piece overlaps the other to bolster sealing, is introduced.
When attached to brick walls or brick chimneys, counter flashing’s role is to force water downwards to a roof, gutter, or other surface below. This entails that the flashing material come into constant contact with wind, precipitation, or fallen objects and debris that collect. Due to its position, the material to be used as flashing must be considered as such materials are not completely impervious to weathering as well. Three common metals formed into counter flashing are aluminum, copper, and galvanized steel. Though all three have value, each must be evaluated by their respective positives and negatives by homeowners and contractors.
The most commonly used material for counter flashing is aluminum. Aluminum holds a great deal of value for multiple reasons. First, aluminum, when taken care of, has a long life expectancy—upwards of 20 or more years. Next, the metal can be custom fitted and pieces easily slide together. Third, as it is often painted, which produces a nice weatherproofing layer, it can be relatively corrosion resistant. Finally, and most important for many homeowners, aluminum is the least expensive material. However, with these benefits come some detractions. While aluminum is highly rust-resistant, if improperly cared for or if damaged and neglected, oxidation or corrosion may occur from unpainted aluminum being in direct contact with mortar, and rust can ensue. As aluminum is lightweight and often thin, it is weaker and more easily damaged by fallen limbs or ladders placed against it. Another issue is that the material cannot be soldered. Although the pieces can be placed together easily, the joints can be weaker even when nailed together.
(Aluminum Chimney Counter Flashing, top, and Galvanized Steel Soldered Chimney Counter Flashing, left)
Galvanized steel is a second metal used for counter flashing. Steel blends strength and durability, especially when galvanized. When protected and properly maintained, galvanized steel has a life expectancy of around 40 years. The galvanization process results in rust resistance, extending its life. Adding to its strength, the joints between steel pieces can be soldered, thus creating in essence a single unit. The negatives for galvanized steel include a propensity to rust if not maintained. Worse, rust formations eventually lead to small holes in the metal, which then leads to water intrusion. Noticing a deterioration of the galvanized layer is not simple, which can make maintaining or repairing weak areas difficult. Another con is that the material is heavy. While the thickness and weight make steel strong, those same attributes make it unwieldy and tough to custom fit and install.
A third metal that can be used is copper. Copper is extremely durable, often lasting for decades. It is the most aesthetically beautiful of the metals, both in its early years when a burnished brown and when the green oxidation patina often sets in. Like galvanized steel, the joints can be soldered to create a strong piece, but unlike steel, copper is light and exceedingly malleable. These features make it easy to shape, mold, and install. While likely the best choice for flashing, copper is also the costliest of the three metals. The value placed on the metal also makes it a target for thievery, so homeowners with copper flashing or gutters must be vigilant. Another problem, like aluminum, is that copper can be damaged by fallen limbs or ladders.
Counter flashing delivers an indisputable protection for roofs and walls. With various options available, homeowners and builders should consider cost, durability, maintenance, and strength of materials before making a choice. The life of the home and the bank accounts of owners often depend heavily on such details and decisions.
For Four Big Factors That Determine A Roof’s Lifespan
Most think that the roof of your home will last as long as the house – you buy a home and the roof sits on top and it caps off the biggest investment you will ever make. In reality, your roof takes the brunt of all the damage that can happen to a home. Wind, rain, sleet, ice, snow, blazing sun, tree branches and leaf debris can all cause damage to your home’s roof and lessen the lifespan of the first barrier to your house. There are many factors that can affect your roof’s lifespan, and no matter how hard you try to avoid it, even the most durable and well-maintained roof will have to be replaced at some point. Here are some considerations to help you better understand the various factors that can impact the lifespan of your roof. Knowing what makes up a solid and dependable roof sets Fusion Roofing and Restoration apart from other Cincinnati area roofers. Experts in the industry, we know what it takes to keep your home in tip top shape!
- Roofing materials. Asphalt shingles provide an excellent combination of style, affordability, durability and energy efficiency, which is why they are the most popular choice among Cincinnati homeowners. If longevity is more important to you, metal or tile roofs are a better option. Recently, metal roofs have become a trendy and solid option for replacing your home’s roof.
- Installation methods. Installation mistakes are the leading cause of early roof failures. This is why choosing a proven, experienced roofing company like Fusion Roofing and Restoration is so important. No matter how good the quality of materials you use on your roof, if the roofing team you hire doesn’t know what they’re doing, you could end up with a failing roof that has to be replaced long before its time, regardless of the guarantee or warranty.
- Weather conditions. This is one factor that you simply can’t control. Well-installed roofing systems can take a beating from Mother Nature and still maintain their integrity, but over time the repeated barrage of wind, rain, hail and sun will wear down your roof. We all know Cincinnati is notorious for wild swings in the climate – one day it is 90 degrees and sunny and the next the night get into the 40’s and rain pounds for days. Having the best materials installed by the best professionals at Fusion is your #1 defense to all that nature can throw at your home.
- Ventilation. If the temperature in the attic is not well-regulated, your shingles could end up baking from the inside out in the sweltering summer sun. This effect is caused by inadequate ventilation and can lead to out-of-control utility bills. An under ventilated attic can also encourage moisture damage and mold growth. A free inspection from Fusion can determine if the attic or crawl space is properly ventilated. If it isn’t, Fusion’s roofing experts will walk you through how properly ventilating the space will cut utility bills, eliminate mold, and make your home a safe and secure space for your family to enjoy.
At Fusion Roofing and Restoration, our skilled installers have the experience necessary to ensure that your roof (and home!) will have a long, happy life. Get the most from your investment. Give us a call or fill out the form below for your FREE consultation and roofing estimate today!
Don’t Do It Yourself! Why DIY is not the best option for roof repairs.
If you enjoy working with your hands and doing weekend DIY projects, it can be tempting to try to save money by doing roof repairs on your own. But even if you consider yourself an accomplished DIY-er, roof repair takes skill and knowledge that only comes with years of experience. That is why repairing your roof is one project that should be left to professional roofing contractors like like Fusion Roofing and Restoration!
While we always encourage homeowners to be educated and involved in the replacement and repair of their home’s roofing and gutters, we always want homeowners to remain safe, avoiding additional repairs needed after the initial repairs we completed. Here are a few points to remember when mulling over a DIY roof repair of your own:
Roofing isn’t as straightforward as some other lines of work. The materials, tools, and installation techniques required in any given situation vary depending on what the problem is and where on the roof it is located. If you are trying to do a repair yourself and don’t get it exactly right, you’ll end up with leaks in the future that will cost you more to fix than if you had just hired a professional in the first place. Also, an experienced roofer will be able to identify weak spots and signs of leaks and other damage on your roof that your untrained eye can miss. Knowing what to look for up front will save you hundreds to thousands in the long run – and nobody likes spending more money than they need to on large projects!
When it comes down to it, roofing is just plain dangerous. roofs have slopes and turns that unless you’ve done it a thousand times like the trained specialists at Fusion have, it can be a exhausting and scary project. What is meant to be a quick roof patch can quickly turn into a serious or even fatal injury when an inexperienced homeowner falls off of a ladder or the roof itself. An experienced roofing company knows all the precautions to take and has the safety equipment necessary to keep their roofers safe – and even then, accidents can still happen. Other dangers of working on roofs include stings from wasps or hornets, whose nests can be hidden in chimneys, nearby trees, and various points on your roof. The weather can affect safety too, with moisture from dew or storms making the roof slick and gusts of wind that can cause you to lose your balance.
If you’re not yet convinced that a roof repair should be left to the professionals, consider that by doing it on your own, you could be voiding the warranty on your roof. Manufacturers of roofing material know that if their product isn’t installed correctly, problems can happen down the road that have nothing to do with the quality of their materials. This is why many manufacturers require their products to be installed and repaired by a professional roofing company. Fusion Roofing and Restoration is Cincinnati’s best local roofing company, proudly serving the tristate with expert roofing installations, repairs, estimates and more. We love our customers and want to see them safe – give Fusion a call today to schedule a free inspection and let us do the dirty work!
How do I know if my house has box gutters?
Whether you live in Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky, the changing leaves in the fall here in our region is something to get excited about. The season is changing, the year is winding down, and the summer projects are coming to an end.
Those red and yellow leaves go somewhere when they fall, and if your luck is anything like the Reds and Bengals, they’ll end up on your roof, and in your outdated gutters! Clogged gutters are a pain to clean every year, and if not maintained can ruin the integrity of your home’s roof. Water backs up, overflows, and collects in areas of your home’s roof causing damage to the structure underneath. Left unattended, the cost to replace and repair your roof can be far more expensive than cleaning and maintaining!
That being said, should you be concerned as a homeowner as we head into fall? Are your current gutters up to par and ready to handle the impending foliage?
The answer to that question is inspecting and maintaining your current system or upgrading to an effective box gutter system to deal with the coming change in seasons and long term health of your home. Fusion Roofing and Restoration is Cincinnati’s expert box gutter professionals. With decades of experience in inspecting, maintaining, and upgrading box gutters all over the tristate, you can trust Fusion to do a great job right the first time!
So, just what are box gutters and what are the benefits? How do you know if box gutters are the right choice for your home? How do I get an inspection to find out?
Box gutters differ from normal gutters in their rectangular look and how they’re mounted onto your structure. They are joined to the roof with brackets and joints and instead of being bracketed to the outside of the structure, are more concealed by being boxed in by the roof and walls. This results in a beautiful, streamlined look and feel that most homeowners prefer! A staple in older homes, this updated version of a box gutter will last longer, work more efficiently at moving water off your roof, and keep your gutters clean of debris and falling leaves. Upgrading the look and functionality of your home’s gutter system will not only improve the curb appeal of your property, it will ensure worry free maintenance for years to come.
Fusion Roofing and Restoration is the area’s leader in box gutter installation. Our knowledgeable and experienced installers are the best gutter contractors you can contact for installations and inspections! We know how well box gutters can improve the water management system of the roof to your house – and we understand just how important it is to have an expert inspect and install high quality gutters. We guarantee our work and use only the best materials and brands when updating your gutters to box gutters. Fusion has been providing excellent roofing and gutter installations for homes all across Cincinnati for years – Contact us today for a free inspection! See how box gutters on your home can increase curb appeal and provide longevity to your home’s roof!
Five Phrases to Decide if Your Gutters Need Inspection
Problems due to gutters not doing their job are something we don’t want you to have to think about, because when they come along, that’s all you’ll be thinking about. Awareness of the signs of early gutter problems is key to avoiding bigger and more complicated problems.
Here are 5 simple ways to remember signs that your gutters need professional inspection:
“If the water is showing, then it ain’t properly flowing!”
Seeing visible water due to overflowing gutters or damage to the flow path is an easily recognizable sign that inspection is needed. While this may seem like something not worth addressing, taking care of initial blockages is crucial to avoiding larger problems that can begin sooner than you may think. Calling a professional is the safest way to handle these smaller issues while ensuring no other issues are present.
“A Downspout that Dumps is a Downspout in Need”
The amount of water that flows through your gutters during a rainstorm is often enough to fill 10 bathtubs. That’s a lot of water, and if your downspouts are not properly equipped to move water away from the house (minimum of 5 feet), the increased pressure on the foundation walls due to concentrated runoff can mean costly repairs. Proper downspout flow direction is something every homeowner needs to consider.
“If Walls are Flaking, then problems it’s Making”
Always first consider the cause of flaking basement walls to be water-related. Flaking is a telltale sign of an improper drainage problem, and one that can be solved through examination of roof and gutter drainage systems. If water seeps too far into the masonry of a foundation (greater than ½”), structural issues can arise. Avoid any further damage by paying attention to early warning signs of this flaking, called “spalling.”
“If You See the Crust, Inspection’s A Must”
Areas of white or gray crust on basement walls are a common sign of “efflorescence,” which are mineral deposits left behind by evaporating water. While this is not as serious as flaking, it is almost always a sign of improper drainage. Essentially, this is the end result of moisture evaporating where water has continually collected around the foundational wall. While not an immediate concern to structural integrity, if left unaddressed it can lead to spalling.
“If the mulch is flowing, the problems are showing”
Yard mulch that shows evidence of water pooling, flooding or forming into channels that carry it into grass or onto concrete is a good sign that drainage is an issue. This is caused by an ineffective gutter and downspout setup that could result in foundational or other issues with walkways and patios. Continual repairs to landscaping and refilling of mulched areas could mean an underlying issue with roof and drainage systems.
Contact the professionals at Fusion Roofing if you need any assistance identifying potential problems or to schedule a free consultation and estimate.
Is Your Roof Winter Ready? How To Tell And How To Winterize Your Roof This Year!
Preventing Potential Problems By Inspections With Integrity
After the whirlwind summer we had in the Cincinnati area, many tri-state homes took quite a beating. This spring gave us high velocity winds that ripped shingles from roofs all over town. Hail the size of golf balls pummeled siding and gutters, and left craters in some homeowners roofing. Couple that with blistering heat that weakens the strength of your roofing materials, and you have the perfect combination for roof repairs and replacements before winter.
Even though you may not have a noticeable leak or visible missing shingles, your roof may not be ready for autumn and the frigid cold winter. Ohio, Northern Kentucky, and Eastern Indiana is known for wide swings in weather as the seasons change. One day you’re in shorts and the next in a parka – this temperature change will exacerbate any existing problems with your roof.
Cracks in asphalt roofing, nail pops, and missing shingles will all give themselves away and you’ll be left with materials that are not meant to be exposed to the elements. Leaving this vulnerable will create more damage and potentially make larger issues if left untreated. But how do you know you have issues before it’s too late?
During our roof inspection, our trained roofing specialists will identify small issues that can lead to much costlier problems. Eliminate these costly repairs with preventative inspections from Fusion. We provide a full report on any issues, the potential long term damage they may cause, and a price quote to mend any needed weaknesses.
Winter is right around the corner – don’t get caught out in the cold! Call Fusion at 513-715-1306 to schedule your inspection and get ready for the impending winter months. You can also fill out our contact form and Jessy will be in touch with you soon.
Winter Attic Insulation
Does your heat continually run in December, January, and February? Winter is an excellent time to insulate your home. The greatest loss of heat you desperately want to conserve in Winter is lost through the attic space of your home, due to low insulation levels. If you are able to visually inspect your insulation levels in the attic, then take note of the depth. Anything less than 14″ is below the recommended R-Value for the Cincinnati region put forth by the US Department of Energy. Give us a call and one of our estimators will be happy to provide recommendations – free of charge.