The Importance of Properly-Functioning Flashing During the Winter

How Faulty or Ineffective Roof Flashing Can Lead to Serious Structural Damage

Copper Roofing On Toronto HomeToronto and area homeowners are well aware of the damage that can result when water penetrates the roof of their home. Unfortunately, many local property owners can speak first-hand to these experiences, while others have been prompted by such stories to take preventative steps i.e., a professional roof inspection and/or roof replacement, especially if they had an older roof of asphalt shingle construction.

In fact, whenever homeowners have occasion to think about a leaky roof, they will often assume the cause to be a problem with the shingles; however, there are several possible sources for water entry into the home, with flashing providing a frequent point of origin.

The term flashing is used to describe the thin layer of impervious or waterproof material that is installed to prevent the passage/entry of water into a structure through a joint; it may be constructed from various types of materials, including:

  • Copper
  • Aluminum
  • Stainless steel
  • Galvanized steel
  • Zinc alloy or coated metals

There are several places where flashing is/should be installed within a roof system, most commonly around or along the following:

  • Chimneys
  • Pipes and vents
  • Skylight installations
  • Roof eaves (often called a drip edge)
  • Valleys (intersections of two roof planes)

Copper Siding On ChimneyIf flashing is improperly installed or loses its effectiveness due to damage or exposure to the elements over time, it can pave the way, so to speak, to substantial and very costly structural repairs to the roof or the home in general; this would be a concern at any time of the year but particularly in the winter, when snow/ice accumulation on the roof begins to thaw.

During the winter, snow and ice can collect against the flashing, in valleys, and/or along the roof edge. When temperatures rise and melting takes place, the water produced will need to travel; if the flashing is loose, damaged, or has lost its seal, that water can then gain access to the home, either under the roof line or through the chimney masonry.

It will therefore be important to keep all flashing in optimal condition and proper working order to avert any water penetration and its potential to cause structural damage to the home. This can be done via a thorough roof inspection and by the regular maintenance, repair, or replacement of any flashing by a certified contractor like Avenue Road Roofing.

Chimney and Flashing Inspection and Repair Services for Toronto Homeowners

Copper Siding Being CraftedOf all the areas of a roof where flashing should be installed and well-maintained, perhaps the most vital would be around the base of the chimney where it meets the roof surface. This heightened importance is due to the fact that water penetration at this junction can have the dual effect of causing structural damage to the roof and to the masonry of the chimney; in the latter case, water can be absorbed through the bricks/mortar, resulting in a crumbling/weakening of the masonry and the possible collapse of the chimney itself.

Once again, this can be a particular concern during the freeze-and-thaw cycles of winter. When water absorbed by the masonry refreezes, it will expand and likely cause cracks in the mortar, the bricks, or both; the severity of the resulting damage will then depend on the overall structural strength of the chimney and how often the freeze-and-thaw cycle is repeated over the winter months.

Therefore, any roof inspection should include assessments of the chimney, as well as the flashing along its base, relative to integrity/condition. In the event that such inspections uncover the need for professional repair services, Toronto homeowners can count on the knowledge and expertise of the masonry team from Avenue Road Roofing.

The masonry division of Avenue Road Roofing can capably address any issues pertaining to chimney masonry, including:

  • Inspections
  • New installations
  • Full rebuilds/repairs
  • Exterior waterproofing
  • Flashing repair/replacement
  • Brick removal and replacement
  • Mortar replacement (tuck-pointing)
  • Efflorescence (salt deposit) removal

Chimney inspections, chimney repairs, and flashing repair/replacement are just some of comprehensive exterior masonry services provided by the experienced professionals at Avenue Road Roofing. For additional information on the full scope of these services, visit our Masonry Work page.

If there are signs of water penetration in your ceilings or fireplace after freeze-and-thaw cycles this winter, there could be an issue with faulty or ineffective flashing on your roof. Call the masonry division at Avenue Road Roofing in Toronto today at 647-360-7743 or Contact us to schedule a complete roof and chimney inspection as soon as possible in order to prevent extensive and costly structural damage to your home.