When one constructs the roof on a building, it is always something of a milestone as it signals that the structure is nearing completion. However, once the roof sheeting, tiles or shingles have been secured to the trusses, there’s one task that is crucial to the longevity of the building, namely the manufacture and professional installation of leak-proof flashing.
In South Africa, building standards are not as tightly regulated as they are overseas. This means that, sometimes, some contractors may not apply quite the same attention to detail when finishing a roofing job. In South Africa, building standards are not as tightly regulated as they are overseas. This means that, sometimes, some contractors may not apply quite the same attention to detail when finishing a roofing job. Flashing is often one of the final jobs at the end of a long contract and, for this reason, with informal builders, the fitting of flashing might not always get the attention that is required.
“If you hire a professional roofing company, this contractor will understand the importance of fitting both sheeting and flashing to the highest professional standards,” says Terry Thorp, general manager of the Johannesburg-based roofing company Roofline.
A professionally installed flashing will prevent water wicking back under the roof sheeting and will protect the fascia boards, and ultimately the roof structure. Rain leaking past poorly fitted or incorrect flashings will allow the ingress of water under the sheeting. If the roof trusses are timber, water leaks and seepage can, in a relatively short time, give rise to dry rot which is invariably expensive to repair. Conversely, if the roof trusses are steel, corrosion will weaken the overall roof structure, particularly if the building is near the coast. And then water leaking onto ceilings and walls will create unsightly damp damage which will require yet more repairs.
A serious problem with an incorrectly fitted flashing is the damage is often happening out of plain sight. By the time the property owner realises that something is amiss, substantial damage may already have been done. Many property owners tend not to look upwards and scrutinise flashing and gutters with any frequency. However, by the time that parts of the roof start failing and breaking away, the incorrectly installed flashings will have already given rise to substantial repair bills.
Regarding flashings, what is absolutely vital is to choose the correct profile to suit the type of roof that is in place. “At Roofline, we have the specific equipment needed to manufacture any type of flashing profile in lengths to suit particular applications. Flashings have a number of different profiles depending on whether the flashing is intended for an apex, ridge, gable, side- or a head-wall. Then there are quite specialised fittings where one flashing intersects another – for example, valley-to-ridge flashings or where you have an apex flashing joining a sidewall flashing. With each of these due attention has to be paid to the careful fitting to ensure the jointing is leak-proof,” Thorp continues.
Thorp emphasises the importance of using the services of a professional roofing company particularly when fitting or repairing flashing. “In addition, if you have any doubts about the state of your roof, it is worth the relatively minor expense of calling in a professional roofing inspector as a precaution which might save you the expense of re-roofing your entire building,” explains Thorp. Roofline has been operating successfully for 35 years and has a vast reservoir of experience and expertise in all aspects of roofing. It is fully capable of tackling the very largest roofing jobs such as factories and shopping malls, but is sufficiently flexible to tackle much smaller contracts in the domestic residential sector with the same level of professionalism.
“Should anyone have a question or issue regarding roofing or flashing, we at Roofline would be happy to consult in order to derive an optimal solution,” Thorp concludes.