How Flashing Weatherproofs and Waterproofs Your Home

October 28, 2022

What is waterproofing? If we’re talking about construction, then we’re talking about how to apply flashing to the vulnerable parts of the roof. These indispensable building materials are thin strips of metal that prevent water and moisture from invading your home or structure.

Flashing for waterproofing directs water down the sides of the roof towards the shingles, preventing water and moisture from building up in the roof deck, which can lead to structural damage. Flashing also ensures that your structures are weatherproof and can resist inward or outward wind forces from tearing down your home.

Keep reading to learn more about how to waterproof your roof and how to apply flashing tape to weatherproof your home in compliance with Australian Standards.

Waterproofing and Weatherproofing Your Home

The difference between waterproofing and weatherproofing is quite simple. Waterproofing prevents water from entering a material, while weatherproofing ensures materials can withstand environmental deterioration from wind and water.

So what does weatherproof mean? It means you need flashing installed properly to prevent water ingress. When water from outside makes its way into a building, it can cause all sorts of structural issues, water damage, and even mould and mildew growth.

Roofs are one of the most common susceptible areas of the structure to water ingress. Any defective surface caused by missing or broken tiles or slates can leak water into your home. Constructing waterproof systems requires flashing to act as both a barrier and conveyor of water away from the structure of the building towards gutters and stormwater drains.

Australian Standards For Flashing

A professional must handle structural projects in adherence to the Building Code of Australia’s standards, specifically the Installation Code for Metal Roof and Wall Cladding (HB39-1997) and AS 2904-1995 for Damp-proof courses and flashings. Moreover, roofing professionals must adhere to AS 1170.2:2011 whenever roof flashing is installed in cyclonic areas.

Common Roof Flashing Materials

The best roof flashing material is typically galvanised steel, although many builders still use lead coated or lead flashing. Other flashing for waterproofing materials include aluminium, copper and bitumen.

Galvanised Steel: the most popular flashing material is galvanised steel, as it combines the best features of aluminium and copper without needing additional coatings or the risk of patina discolouration due to exposure.

Aluminium: easy to form, lightweight and when coated, extremely durable and resistant to environmental stressors.

Copper: malleable, easily soldered and durable. Copper does patina over time, which can divide some homeowners.

Bitumen: another waterproof and rugged material is modified bitumen roof flashing, often made into tape for easier installation.

Types of Roof Flashing

Continuous Flashing: also referred to as “apron flashing”, continuous flashing is an extended piece of metal that directs water to the shingles. Continuous flashing also includes built-in expansion joints to prevent warping as they shrink and expand with the rest of the structure.

Base Flashing: essentially, two flashing pieces are installed together; base flashing ensures water flows from the vertical structure, like chimneys, to the horizontal structure (the roof). These two pieces of roof flashing can expand and contract naturally with the rest of the structure.

Counter-flashing: installed either opposite or above base flashing.

Step flashing: several roof flashing pieces bent at 90 degrees are installed in layers with shingles to ensure water flows away from the wall.

Skylight flashing: for skylights.

Valley Flashing: protects open valleys between two sloping parts of the roof from water damage.

Drip Edges: a thin metal that directs water off the roof and away from the house.

Kickout Flashing: directs water from the roof flashing to the gutters.

Roof Flashing and Wind Forces

Roof flashing is one of the main components of keeping a roof over your head. Wind forces on the topside and the underside of the roof are either inward or outward forces and must be considered in the design and fixing of any roof.

  • Inward forces directly impact the windward side, which can cause the roof to collapse in on itself.
  • Outward forces impact the structure's frame and can lift the roof cladding from its framing, bringing the rest of the roof with it.

How To Apply Flashing

Builders must install roof flashing once the roof frame is in place, with any gaps sealed with glue, caulk or waterproof cement for additional waterproof protection. The most common areas where flashing is installed are walls where the roof surface meets, valleys or low points of the roof where slopes join, protrusions such as vents and skylights or edges like eaves and gutters.

Below are two of the most common roof flashing options available.

Malthoid Flashing & Waterproofing Membrane

Malthoid flashing is an organic fibre felt completely saturated in hot bitumen, then coated with further selected bitumen and finished with a dusting of fine powder to prevent sticking when rolled. This rugged yet flexible bitumen-coated felt is inert to lime and other alkalis found in cement and mortar.

Alcor Aluminium Flashing

Alcor is a bitumen coated, fully annealed, 99% pure aluminium core dampcourse with various benefits. Featuring an aluminium core coated with bitumen, Alcor Aluminium Flashing is impervious to moisture, not affected by lime or cement, edge coated, easily dressed, strong, creep-free, pliable (bent without fracturing), will not stain brickwork, non-slip, lightweight, easily handled and compliant with Australian Standards 2904: 1986.

Lead Flashing

Although many products are designed to replace lead flashing, lead is still ideal for roof flashing. The softness and flexibility of lead flashing fit closely to the roof contours without splitting or cracking, while its weight prevents lifting or shifting due to wind forces. And if you know anything about lead, you know how durable it is, capable of withstanding environmental stressors for hundreds of years.

Flashing For Waterproofing

Without proper flashing, water can infiltrate gaps between building materials in your roof, eventually finding its way into your home. Find suitable flashing materials for your next structural project by shopping online with suppliers that offer everything you need off the shelf, ready to go.

No matter what you need for your next construction project, seek out the best roof flashing by shopping online for building materials and hardware in Australia.

 

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