Often overlooked, the proper maintenance of flashings – located at chimneys, walls, dormers, vents, hips, ridges and valleys – can prevent leaks and extend the life of a slate or tile roof.
Flashings are essentially pieces of metal used to prevent water seepage into a building, said Mark Sherby, quality control expert for The Durable Slate Company.
“Flashings are a building’s primary defense against water.” Sherby said. “Too often, people tear off a slate roof when a simpler, more affordable option is just replacing or maintaining the flashings.”
Durable Slate specializes in the installation of either steel or copper flashings.
“While copper requires little to no maintenance, steel flashings require frequent repainting,” Sherby said. “Without a good coat of paint, that steel is going to rust and can lead to eventual leaks.”
Using industrial rust-inhibitive products, steel flashings should be repainted approximately every seven to ten years.
“A homeowner should be very cautious allowing painters unfamiliar with slate or tile roofs to access their roof,” Sherby said. “They could potentially do hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in damage.”
Due to its resistance to corrosion, copper flashings generally last 60-90 years, Sherby said. For that reason, copper flashings can be replaced as needed to match the life expectancy of slate or tile, which, depending on the type, can endure 75 to 300 years or more.
Copper flashings should be inspected at least every five years. The reglets adjacent to the metal flashings should also be inspected at regular intervals.
“Durable Slate offers free roof inspections,” Sherby said. “Many of our current customers take advantage of this service and have them inspected annually.”
Whether it is wind, rain, hail or snow, slate/tile roofs and metal flashings can often incur minor damage. Because of our expertise, we can prioritize any needed repairs to ensure financial flexibility, Sherby said.
“We can develop a maintenance plan from a free inspection,” Sherby said. “All it can do is help prolong the life of the roof.”
Mark Sherby works out of The Durable Slate Company’s Columbus branch. Working in the Quality Control Division, Mark has more than 15 years of experience on slate and tile roofs.