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.
Ice Dams and Prevention
Blustery, icy, and frigid winter weather certainly delivers many obvious detrimental effects. Slick roads, broken tree limbs, and burst water pipes devastate people’s day-to-day lives. In the world of roofing, among other concerns that may be noticed by the naked eye such as clogged drain pipes or chimney malfunctions, a major harmful outcome of snow on the roof during this harsh season is ice dam formation. Understanding how ice dams form as well as undertaking valuable steps for their prevention will absolutely help property owners to avoid potential water damage to residences and businesses.
Snow covering a roof may be affected by heat rising from inside a dwelling or even heat emitting from exhaust stacks and chimneys placed near the roof ridges. The heat from within the building continues into the attic and warms the roof deck thus melting the snow which then runs down roofs until it drifts to an area where the heat cannot reach. If the temperature at those lower sections of the roofs remains at freezing or below (<32 degrees Fahrenheit), the water freezes and forms ice dams. As this ice disallows water to freely flow off the roof, the water instead makes its way through spaces between shingles and/or other exterior cracks before entering the attic and, eventually, the ceilings and walls of the building. Failure to recognize this condition could lead to extensive material damage as well as mold or electrical issues. However, understanding how to prevent ice dams will undeniably help protect a home from damage.
Two immediate and inexpensive methods may be considered stopgaps before property owners implement greater long-term solutions. One step is to remove the snow from the roof. Various types of sweeps or brooms exist to accommodate this process, though those undertaking this action should exercise extreme caution as the roofs may be exceedingly slippery. Another solution, though only a temporary fix, is to create channels that allow the water to continue flowing off the roof. Again, one must exercise caution as chipping the ice may damage roofing materials and the use of warm water could result in the formation of further ice dams should the temperatures go below freezing.
Other more effective long-term treatments should be executed to better avert ice dams. Fusion Roofing and Restoration reliably provides each of the proceeding services. One such remedy, whether for older buildings or new construction, is to add ice and water shields at the eaves and valleys. The purpose of the shields, which are composed of a compound of rubberized asphalt with a sticky adhesive, are to prevent both forward and backward flowing water that has gotten underneath shingles. Along with producing a more waterproof layer over the roof deck, a second step is increasing the amount of insulation, particularly insulation with an R-value between R-38 and R-60, which should result in less heat loss from inside the home into the attic space. A fourth measure is to increase attic ventilation with proper intake and exhaust, as well as venting any bathroom fans outside the roof. Proper ventilation assists in the circulation of cold air over the internal wood of the roof deck, thus keeping the entire surface at comparable temperatures to prevent ice buildup.
Preventing ice dams extends the life of the roof, the ceilings and walls, and the entire structure. While some of the procedures may be done by property owners, for the most secure and proper installation of necessary precautions, a competent and dependable company should be employed. Fusion Roofing and Restoration provides customers with supremely safe and secure roofing systems to ensure minimizing and even eradicating potential damage caused by brutal winter conditions. Fusion can be reached at the website fusionroofing.com, by calling 513-715-1306 or 859-221-8420, or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Story About Insulation
Most information available online to you, the home connoisseur, the real home gurus, is really just a billboard for the company and the services they offer. We here at Fusion, a business who truly cares about helping you to save money and live better with greater peace of mind, realize that our customers are people, first and foremost.
We understand that the business in which we live and work can be a complicated and stressful one. Home upgrades, repairs and renovations can be incredibly time-consuming and expensive.
When it comes to these topics, there is no shortage of information out there…we know this as well. So, who do you trust?
One of our most important values is your education and understanding of why we are recommending the products and services that we are to you. We feel that this is the way it should be. No one wants to be “sold,” and no one should be. True connections with our customers built upon trustworthy recommendations from qualified people.
This article on home insulation and the value it provides will be in a bit of a different format. Instead of throwing information and figures at you that may or not be understandable or relevant, let’s take a took into the process of buying a home insulation service from Fusion in the form of a story. After all, we all love stories right? So, let’s begin.
Tina has owned her home from 3 years. It’s her second home, and so she has some experience in saving energy and making improvements to increase comfort throughout the hot and cold months
“It’s really cold in here and it’s only November, I wonder how my insulation is doing? It’d be really nice to save some money this winter and also lower the heating bill.”
In the past, she’s invested in Fiberglass Expanding Blown Insulation, which is a cost-effective and simple way to protect against cold air from entering the living space, while also keeping heated air where it counts.
As with any insulative material, fiberglass compacts with time and this reduction in volume means less air space to trap passing heat or cold. While Tina knows there is some insulation in her attic, the house is upwards of 15-20 years old and was told when she bought it that it had been some time since the insulation was evaluated.
“Hello Fusion, my name is Tina and I live in Liberty Township. I’m curious to hear about your Fiberglass Insulation services. I want to stay warm this winter and save money but more importantly…I’m cold.”
“Tina thanks so much for calling, we’re happy you gave us a ring. We’d love to come out and give you a free estimate on your insulation, so we can work to making you less cold. Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
Tina got her attic insulated with AttiCat Fiberglass Insulation, and is now warm, and is also saving about %20 on her energy bills, a very welcome side benefit.If you’re curious about your homes’ “insulation situation,” reach out to us using our convenient Contact Form. We’re happy to have you!!
Location Matters: The Roof Color Series
We’re here today speaking about a topic that you may only hear about a few times before, but if you own a home in any manner and you arrived on this page, then make sure to give this a listen.
Whether you’re installing a new roof for a restoration or housing flip project, or installing a new roof on your long-term investment, some basic knowledge about the color of your roof and how it relates to a few different factors could mean saving hassle and money both.
So, what kind of factors are we talking about here? We’ll be breaking this information down into a small mini-series of posts, so be sure and check back later this month for the other parts.
It’s common knowledge that darker colors absorb heat, while lighter colors reflect. This simple fact also applies to the color of the roofing material used on your roof. This of course then opens up discussion about where you live.
If it’s Arizona or North Dakota, then the answer to this question will be easier to arrive at. I mean, some places are just hot….or cold. But, if you’re here in the Midwest, where temperatures widely vary, often times the discussion becomes more complex.
Instead of trying to wrap your head around what color of material to wrap your roof with, rely on our years of local experience here to recommend a roofing material with a color that will best suit the needs of your home….and your wallet, for many years come.
Look for the post in this series about how solar reflectance impacts your home.
The Insulation Causation
It’s finally getting cold here in the Cincinnati/Northern Ky. area….wait, did we just say “finally?”
Ok, while we can’t stop the cold from returning back to our area, we want to let you know that you do have some control over the amount of cold entering your home through the roof.
We’ve all the heard the common knowledge about how we lose 60% of body heat through our heads. While I was always the one to ask, “Well, what kind of hat am I wearing?” That sort of debate though, doesn’t exist when it comes to roofing world, as there has been plenty of reliable research on where energy-loss occurs in the home.
The roof is responsible for more than 35% of heat loss in the winter time. That sort of number should translate into plenty of dollar signs…ones that could be kept in your pocket when it comes time to pay those energy bills. Is there anything better than opening up those bills, only to see a number lower than ever after getting your insulation updated?
One of the best ways to save on energy costs in the coming months is to evaluate your “Current State of Insulation,” of your roof.
If you want to save on energy bills you do, and it’s either one of two options:
This is your cheapest option when it comes to roofing insulates. The location of the insulation matters more than you think. In this case, placing it over and between the wooden joists above the ceiling of your home’s top floor is typical of a “cold” insulation. The term “cold” comes from the fact that while insulating in general is better than no insulation at all, this method only stops heat from escaping from your home.
Warm insulation differs in that it placed directly underneath the roof, much closer to the roofing materials than in a cold insulation. This method of insulation, along with stopping heat from escaping your home, also inhibits cold air from entering your home as a sort of barrier between your loft space and the outside elements. This method also requires a need for ventilation directly underneath the roofing materials in order to prevent condensation from occurring.
With all of the available insulators out there, coupled with the varying different types of roof constructions in our area, it’s best to consult the professionals here at Fusion for what type of insulation and insulation method will best suit your needs….and your wallet too.
If you’ve been thinking that it may be time to evaluate how effective your loft space and roof is before the coldest temperatures come our way, the answer is simple….
Give us a call at 513-715-1306 or contact us through our website in order to schedule an insulation consultation at your convenience, and let’s get you and your home on the way to lower energy bills through proper home insulation.
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.