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.
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!
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.
A few shingles or a lot – a few patches or a bunch – Fusion Roofing and Restoration can repair any type asphalt of roof! Take a look at some of the photos below to see us in action! Give us a call for info on a free estimate and how we can repair your roof quickly and correctly the first time.