The function of flashings is to provide a watertight junction between roofing materials and roof projections or other parts of the structure, and between roof sections. Flashings should be designed to furnish service for at least as long as the materials used in the field of the roof. Flashings are the most vulnerable part of any roof. Their importance and the importance of maintaining them properly cannot be overemphasized.
Many early roof problems are actually flashing problems. Often, repairing the flashings or providing new flashings is all that is needed to make the roof watertight again. Most flashing problems result from inadequate flashing design or faulty construction. Many flashing problems can be reduced or eliminated by careful examination by competent inspectors during roof installation, and by regularly scheduled inspection and maintenance.
In many instances, leaks occur at flashings where there are no flashing defects. These leaks may be the result of open joints in a masonry wall or coping cap, which permits water to enter behind the flashings and into the building. This problem may be eliminated by “through-wall” flashings.