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How To Fix Roof Flashing

Water damage is one of the biggest, most insidious threats not only to your roof but to the rest of your home as well. Of course, that’s what your roof is for in the first place: keeping water out while keeping a comfortable temperature inside. To this end, a roof is actually a fairly complex system, with many parts that need to be in good condition in order to guard the home optimally.

The shingles—the top layer—usually get the most attention, but the roof flashing is just as important, and when it becomes damaged, catastrophic problems can follow. Fortunately, we’re here to tell you what you need to know about how to fix roof flashing.

What Is Roof Flashing?

Roof flashing is a thin sheet of metal that connects various parts of the roof, and it’s placed where it is in order to prevent leaks through vulnerable areas. These might be the joints and valleys of the roof or around the chimney or to protect drainage pipes. The metal flashing must extend underneath the shingles and other parts of the roof so that it can prevent water seepage even if damage occurs to the upper layers.

Flashing can be made of several kinds of metals or other materials, although aluminum and stainless steel are the most common due to their ability to resist corrosion as well as their relative inexpensiveness. Occasionally, copper is used because of its ability to provide a decorative element, although it is much more expensive. Roof flashing is very durable, being more resistant to weather and temperature than other elements of the roof. However, heavy winds and other severe conditions can still damage it.

Types of Flashing

There are several types of flashing utilized, depending on which element of the roof needs to be protected. Continuous flashing is one single piece of metal that extends down the entire roof. While base flashing, also known as two-part flashing, is made of multiple pieces that connect to each other, usually in the form of a membrane with metal flashing on top.

If the flashing needs to go in multiple directions, counter flashing or step flashing might be used. In either case, caulk or sealant is used to prevent leaks from forming around the seams of the flashing.

Repairing Small Damage

Often, the damage that occurs to flashing is very small. For example, repeated dripping water may cause a small hole to form as a result of corrosion. This type of damage is relatively easy to fix. In most cases, you can simply use a small amount of roofing cement to plug the hole. If it’s a little larger—up to around three-quarters of an inch—you will first need to sand away the corroded part. You can do this with a wire brush or heavy-duty sandpaper.

You’ll then need to cut a small piece of aluminum (or steel or whatever material the flashing is made from) and then use roofing cement to use that piece as a patch over the damaged area. This patch should then be covered with another layer of roofing cement to seal it against further damage.

If the Damage Is More Extensive

Roof flashing is extremely durable and can last for many years with proper care. However, proper care is the key term here. Your flashing, as well as the rest of your roof, should be checked periodically by a professional roofer. They will catch problems before they become worse.

If, despite your best efforts, a larger area becomes damaged, you will need to replace the flashing entirely. Make sure that you take safety into consideration before you do this. Wear the proper attire, including gloves, closed-toe shoes, and a safety harness. Have a sturdy roofing ladder and don’t stand anywhere if you are not totally sure it is safe. Also, have at least one other person to serve as your spotter, assisting you as an extra set of eyes and hands.

You will need to start by removing the old flashing, which should begin by ripping away the old caulking that lines the flashing. You’ll then need to pry away the old flashing, using a hammer or other tool to remove the roofing nails.

You will then be able to replace the flashing with the new material, which can be a tedious task, especially with continuous flashing. As you go along, seal the flashing with caulking that is designed for use on roofs. You will also want to cover the nail heads with the same roofing cement you’ve been using for patching the smaller holes.

Similar methods can be used for replacing the flashing that surrounds chimneys and vent pipes. Bit by bit, you’ll pry them away and replace them with new flashing. As always, ensure that there’s plenty of sealant because any weak areas can allow water in, which can then shorten the life span of your roof as well as creep into your home and cause water damage.

Don’t Be Afraid to Call a Professional

Learning how to repair roof flashing is a big job and one that’s quite labor-intensive. That’s in addition to it potentially being dangerous if done improperly. So if you are uncertain about your ability to perform the task, contact a professional and ask them to do it instead.

Often, people attempt to DIY jobs to save money on a task, but if the task is done incorrectly, it may end up costing you more money in the long run. The fortunate thing about roof flashing is it likely won’t have to be replaced all that often—especially if it’s well cared for—because it can usually outlive the other elements of your roof.

Contact a reliable contractor who has been in the business for years, such as Interstate Roofing. They will be able to perform regular maintenance as well as larger tasks and even emergency tasks if necessary.

How to Choose a Contractor for Commercial Roof Repair

If installed and maintained properly, a commercial roof should last you decades. But to ensure that it does, you must select your roofing contractor carefully. Given that a commercial roof is a relatively large investment, it’s best to spend your time and energy researching which contractors are right for the job. We promise it will save you from a costly headache later on.

Interstate Roofing has been helping clients with their roof repair needs for more than three decades. We know what it takes to get and keep a satisfied customer. We also know what to look for in a qualified contractor. Here are a few of our top tips for selecting a contractor for your commercial roof repair needs.

Get Feedback

A good place to start when looking to hire someone for just about anything is with your friends and family. Do you have any relatives or know any fellow business owners who recently had roof repair work done? If so, ask them who they used and how satisfied they were with the contractor’s work.

Can’t think of anyone who has hired someone for commercial roof repair recently? You can always turn to social media and post the question there. If you’re unable to find someone you personally know to make a recommendation, you can still solicit feedback about contractors in your area through online reviews.

Some of Interstate Roofing’s reviews and testimonials are posted directly on our site. These testimonials come from customers and companies we have worked with in the past and provide good insight into how our client base feels about our work. You can also go to sites like Facebook, Google, and Yelp to see what others have to say about us and any other contractors you are considering.

Verify Credentials

Once you find some roofing contractors with solid reviews, you should check each company’s credentials to make sure that it is properly licensed. There are many people who pose as experienced contractors when they don’t actually have valid credentials. So always be cautious when someone approaches you offering to perform work you haven’t requested. Instead, do your own research and make sure you are selecting the best person for the job.

Any legitimate roofing contractor in the Portland area will be properly licensed because Oregon law requires it. Anyone can say a company is licensed so never simply take someone’s word for it. Instead, be sure to look into it for yourself.

The Oregon Construction Contractors Board (Oregon CCB) and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries provide online resources for you to verify licensing information. Most states do, so if you reside outside the Pacific Northwest, find an equivalent resource in your state to check for this information.

You can find Interstate Roofing’s license number at the bottom of our webpage, but any licensed contractor should be able to provide this for you upon request. Using the search option on the Oregon CCB website, we can plug in a license number and hit search to confirm the company’s license is active. Once you get to the result page, you can hit Choose Option on the left-hand side to pull up more detailed information about the company. You can also confirm this information using the verify tool on the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries webpage.

Check for Consumer Complaints

Once you have verified that the contractor is properly licensed, you should look into the company’s background to find out if there has been a history of consumer complaints. To do this, start with the resource used to verify the contractor’s licensing information. Once you pull up a more detailed company history on the Oregon CCB website, you can check for the company’s complaint and disciplinary history for the last 10 years. If a company does have consumer complaints, you want to see that the contractor has taken action to address them appropriately.

In addition to checking with the board that maintains licensing information, you can also check resources like your State Attorney General Office, State Department of Justice, or the Better Business Bureau to find out whether the company is in good standing. A search of Interstate Roofing on the Better Business Bureau webpage, for example, shows that we have an A+ rating with the BBB, a five-star customer rating, and zero consumer complaints.

Compare Costs

Although it can be tempting to go with the contractor who offers you the lowest bid, you should compare costs in other respects as well. For instance, if a contractor is coming in with a bid much lower than other contractors you have spoken with, ask yourself why. It could be a red flag that something isn’t quite right.

You want to look for a company that’s offering a competitive price while also having the know-how and experience to deliver quality work. So compare prices and be wary about anyone who offers a bid that’s way under what other contractors are offering. To request a free estimate from Interstate Roofing, follow the link here.

Once you have checked credentials, researched customer reviews and complaints, and compared prices, prepare a list of your top contractor choices. Meet them in person to discuss your commercial roof repair project. First impressions and your gut feeling can also go a long way in helping you make the right decision.

If you’re based in the Pacific Northwest and have a commercial roof repair need that you would like us to help you out with, give us a call. Interstate Roofing has been in business for more than 30 years because we know how to deliver quality work and customer service. Allow us to show you exactly how we’ve built our name and reputation.

 

Will My Business Be Interrupted During Commercial Flat Roof Repair?

There’s only one thing that matters most to your business: customers. Without them, your business would fail.

That means your business has to be open during your scheduled hours.

It also means having a safe place for your customers and employees.

What happens when you’re in need of commercial flat roof repair?

As a business owner, you probably spend a lot of time fixated on the bottom line. It’s a natural part of doing business. Budgets are everything. And when an emergency happens that threatens to throw that budget out of whack, what’s a property manager to do?

Thanks to technology, the internet is only a click away. In just a few seconds, you can have a world of advice right at your fingertips. You can find millions of results telling you how to do the project yourself. You can find just as many results offering helpful solutions from supposedly reputable companies.

What advice do you trust?

And how will it impact your business during the process?

Do You Need a Repair or Replacement?

When you first discover you are in need of commercial flat roof repair, it’s usually something big. Maybe a leak is dripping through your ceiling and into an office. Or there’s an overflow from the roof down below and the damage is starting to build up.

Once the initial shock wears off, the next question that runs through your mind is the one we hear the most: repair or replace? And honestly, it’s impossible to answer that question without an evaluation of the current condition. Anyone who tells you otherwise isn’t giving you the best advice.

An experienced low slope roof contractor will tell you that the decision can only be made after a thorough inspection of all aspects of your flat roof. The following needs to be assessed:

  • Roofing Materials – Roofing Seams – Are they all sealed properly to not let moisture move down underneath
  • Roofing Flashings – Are they still connected to the membrane?

An investigation will show where the weaknesses are, what condition the materials are in, and your best options.

Fixing Leaks is Best for Business

The sooner you identify leaks and problem areas, the quicker commercial flat roof repair will have you back up and running to normal capacity. Typically we find that flat roofs have problems due to:

  • Damage caused by storms, and people/contractors accessing the roof
  • Failed flashing around the perimeter of your commercial building
  • Poor drainage
  • Bad workmanship in the original installation or in past repairs
  • A roof that has reached the end of its life

At the first sign of a leak, if you fix it the right way, it won’t cause problems in the short term. Those promises of “spraying” something on for a quick fix? Anytime you hear the term “quick fix” you should think twice.

The most cost-effective way to maintain a commercial flat roof is to handle each situation as quickly as it appears. That means never taking the current condition for granted. Regularly maintaining it will ensure the biggest of problems don’t happen unannounced.

What are the Biggest Risks?

The three biggest threats to commercial flat roofs here in the Pacific Northwest are moisture, biological growth, and wind.

Moisture
There’s no denying your roof has to be designed to drain away water. Just when you think the rains have moved on, it starts raining a little bit more. If your roof isn’t designed to carry away the moisture as it comes down and settles, problems will quickly arise.

Biological growth
There’s also the potential of biological growth when cold moisture from the winter months meets the warmth of a well-insulated building. This is the perfect breeding ground for mold, mildew, and other damage to the roof structure or building materials. Proper installation and a regular maintenance cycle are key to ensuring a long life.

Wind
High winds can cause damage in a variety of ways. One good burst of energy can send loose fasteners flying, destroy weak flashing, or rip apart imperfect seals in seconds. And depending on where your commercial property is located, tree damage can increase the likelihood of further damage.

The Commercial Flat Roof Repair Process

Sometimes a simple repair is enough. If flashing is missing, securing new flashing in place may be all it takes.

In other cases, an entirely new roof is needed to protect your investment.

Once you know your options, together with your trusted commercial flat roof technician you can decide the right option for you.

Restoring your roof involves making whatever repairs necessary to bring it back to working condition. Sometimes that involves a protective flat roof coating applied directly to all roofing materials. This is an extremely effective way to give your roof its full-service life.

Other times it involves replacing a roof; tearing off the old one and installing a new. Consider this your last resort.

If you work with a commercial flat roof specialist, they can create a maintenance plan that works for you to keep your roof in good condition, to give your flat roof as full of a life as possible. Restorations are the best choice whenever possible because they are:

  • More cost effective – they cost much less than full roof replacement
  • Easier to complete – sometimes work can be finished in just a day or two
  • Energy efficient – if you haven’t had work done in a while, the newest coating may increase your energy efficiency, saving you money over time

What to Expect During the Process

With a reputable commercial flat roof repair company, you can expect:

An honest quote with no hidden charges. Be sure to ask about extra charges that aren’t in a quote, and how they are applied. If you don’t feel comfortable before you sign a contract, you’ll never be comfortable during the process.

A professional company from beginning to end. A reputable company cares about the business and works hard to keep customers happy. It’s licensed and insured to protect both you and the crew. The owners care about safety and work hard for your approval.

Full disclosure of the process. You’ll have an estimated timeline before the work starts. You’ll understand how it will impact your business from beginning to end.

Bottom line: if damage to your roof is a threat to anyone at your commercial location – employees, tenants, customers – your best course is to take action immediately.

A reputable commercial flat roof repair specialist will always think safety first and provide you with a job well done.