Everything to Know About Roof Flashing


By: Heather Coker | March 2022 @ 6:18 am


Everything to know about roof flashing from James Russell Roofing. Your roof flashing is the portion of your roof that was installed on top of your shingles. It’s one of the most important parts of your roof, and it only has one job: to protect all the other parts of your roof.

Thing is that many people are not sure exactly what a roof flashing does or what it looks like. So, we’re here to explain everything you need to know about this important piece of your home’s roof.

James Russell - Roof Repairs - Roof Flashing

What is Roof Flashing

Roof flashing is also referred to as roofing felt or roof underlayment is a thin layer of metal or plastic installed between the roof sheathing and the roofing system that helps keep water away from the home. It prevents water from seeping through seams caused by differences in roof shingle texture, and it protects corners and joints where two pieces of shingle meet.

What is the Purpose of Flashing on a Roof?

Roof flashing is a very important part of a home’s construction and maintenance. Flashing helps protect your home from the elements: dampness, wind, rain, and snow. The purpose of flashing is to keep water from entering the areas where different roofing materials meet on a home’s exterior. It’s placed at the intersection of a material that isn’t waterproof, such as wood or metal, and one that is waterproof, like shingles or tile.

Roof flashing protects both the water-resistant material and the object beneath it from damage caused by water penetration. It also keeps an area underneath waterproof by directing water away from where it shouldn’t be. This allows you to maintain your home’s curb appeal year after year with little additional maintenance.

What Materials are Used for Roof Flashing?

Flashing is a major component of your roof, and it’s something that all the materials for your roof—from asphalt shingles to metal—need. Since flashings are an important part of your roof’s protection, they should be made from materials that are durable, long-lasting, and corrosion-resistant. It’s important to know the different options for flashing materials because each has its own qualities. Here’s a quick rundown of the most common flashing material options:


Copper flashing is one of the most expensive options, but it’s also the most durable and eye-catching. It holds up well to extreme weather conditions like high winds and heavy rains, so if you live in an area where these conditions are likely, copper maybe your best option for flashing.


Galvanized steel is also a more affordable option than copper flashing and can be easily cut using metal shears. However, because galvanized steel is more prone to corrosion than copper, it’s often coated with a protective finish made with zinc, which creates a corrosion-resistant barrier that protects against rusting. The zinc itself wears away over time, so the roof must be recoated periodically using the same process that was used initially.


Lead is actually a very durable material for flashings, and many prefer it right behind copper. It naturally has long-lasting resistance to water damage and since it is a softer metal, it’s able to expand and contract with the outside temperatures easier than many other materials. Lead flashings are believed to last for more than 200 years, so they should be fine to last the entire lifespan of your roof.


Aluminum roof flashing is very affordable and comes in a variety of thicknesses depending on your needs. It is lightweight, making it easy to install without assistance, and provides great resistance against corrosion. Aluminum typically has a long lifespan if properly maintained and could last up to 50 years or more under normal conditions.


This metal flashing is typically used in areas where there is frequent contact with rainwater, like around chimneys or skylights. It’s not as strong as copper, but it’s less expensive than other metals.

Need help replacing a worn-down flashing on your roof?

Although it might seem like a negligible detail, replacing a worn-down flashing is vitally important to the long-term health of your roof. A worn-down flashing can cause your roof to leak, and that can lead to major destruction in your home.

If you notice any leaks in your ceiling or walls, contact James Russell Roofing today. We can help you get the flashing around your roof replaced right away so you don’t have to worry about any further damage. You can reach us at 901-444-1231. If you live near Brighton, Germantown, Lakeland, Bartlett, Memphis, or Collierville, TN, don’t hesitate to give us a call!