What is flashing and what does it do?
Before we go into details about steel flashing, let us define flashing first when employed in roofing options. It refers to the installation of impervious materials that are very light. It is done to prevent the water from entering a structure through a joint. This is also done as a form of barrier system for roofing options that is water resistant. Before the innovation in flashing has been introduced, carpenters from years ago used to employ other methods to minimise the amount of water that can enter a structure – angling the shingles on the roof, chimneys positions at the ridge, creating steps on the chimney’s side to throw the water off. Once flashing products have been introduced to roofing options, it has helped reduced the water entering through the chimney, openings found in windows and doors, vent pipes as well as walls. This is the reason why structures are now more durable, and there are very minimal mould problems.
It is common for a roof to have solar panels installed. You can get custom flashing to prevent your roof from leaking by installed solar mounts. In my house, I have solar panels installed by euro solar where they took care of the flashing for mounts and prevent my roof from leaking.
Materials used in flashing
Aside from steel flashing, there are other materials used as roofing options. The most common materials used are metal, impregnated paper, plastic and rubber. For metal flashing, different materials fall under this category such as stainless steel, lead, zinc alloy, aluminium, copper as well as other forms of architectural metals. Coated metals are also employed including terne coated copper, galvanised steel, galvalume, lead-coated copper, polyvinylidene fluoride and anodised aluminium. When metal is used in flashing, there should be expansion joints because metal sheets such as steel flashing could deform over time because of expansion as well as contraction. Galvanic corrosion is also a high risk when it comes to metal flashing due to chemical reaction.
Galvanized flashing – aluminium or steel?
If you are aiming for galvanised flashing, then you have two options – aluminium and steel flashing. A plethora of factors must be considered when choosing between the two. Aluminium is considered to be a lightweight material while steel is much heavier. The decision depends on the budget that you have for the flashing, the environmental condition where the flashing will be installed and the choice of the homeowners when it comes to choosing the better quality material for their home. Aluminium flashing installed on roofs is considered as one of the three materials that have a high resistance to rust – steel and copper are the two others. Aluminium flashing is widely used by people who are into DIY because the material is flexible and it is easy to work. For unprofessional carpenters, it is simpler to bend the materials and to manipulate the aluminium compared to steel. As a flashing material, it is categorised as mid-range, and its shape is not easily deformed. Steel flashing, on the other hand, is a low-cost option when choosing materials for roof flashing. The galvanised steel that is used in flashing is obtained by covering the metal with a galvanised steel coating. It is cheaper compared to copper or aluminium.
Benefits of galvanised steel flashing
One of the most popular materials that are readily available for flashing is the galvanised steel. It helps the homeowners by providing protection to the structure as well as making sure the surface of the roof is not easily damaged due to weather conditions. Galvanised steel is considered as economical choice when picking flashing materials. This is produced by covering the steel sheets with a layer of zinc as a coating. The process of coating is accomplished with the help of hot dipping or electroplating. Either of the two processes can create the desired result. There are enormous options to choose from depending on the protection the structure needs, but roll flashing can be done with sheets as wide as 48 inches if required. Fastening of the galvanised steel flashing is achieved with the use of galvanised nails. Fasteners made out of other materials are not employed to avoid the possibility of corrosion. It is also not recommended to be used along with green lumber or treated lumber because the chemicals can trigger a reaction with the steel. Galvanised steel is known to be rigid thus after installation; it will retain the shape for a long time. This is best to be used in applications where it has to conform to certain shapes and form. This flashing system can be painted if the homeowner desires without compromising the protection it provides.
Benefits of stainless steel flashing
Another commonly available material used for metal flashing is stainless steel. Stainless steel is used by many homeowners because it is not only durable but also versatile. This material can be installed in many structures regardless of the surrounding environment because stainless steel is recognised for its high resistance to corrosion and rust. The material composition also includes chromium which is beneficial in performing better. It is also proven to withstand weather damages compared to other flashing materials thus this is meant for long term use. The fundamental thing to keep in mind is that installation must be done with the right fasteners. Despite the fact that it is durable and reliable, stainless steel is still one of the most affordable options. Aside from the low cost of installation, homeowners will be able to save in the long run because of the flashing system’s durability. Together with the fact that it is for long term use, stainless steel flashing is considered to be one of the low-cost options for roofing. Less maintenance is also required on the homeowner’s part and is perfect for those that are not used to carpentry works. Once installed, the system has to be checked at least one or twice in one year to check if there are any structural defects. After the inspection is done, homeowners are rest assured that the system is intact and will continue to provide protection. Custom work can be done with stainless steel flashing, but it will cost more.