The Crucial Role of Flashing on Your Flat Commercial Roof

Crucial role of flashing - commercial roof

Flashing is one of the most essential components of your roofing system. It plays one of the most crucial roles in maintaining a watertight barrier between your building and the weather outside. To do this, it has to be installed correctly.

Flashing Review

For any roofing system – whether private or commercial, sloped or flat – flashing is the component used to protect the most vulnerable or weak points in your roof. It helps to maintain water flow to the appropriate channels and keep water from getting into and damaging places where your roof is most prone to leaks.

Any edges, walls or valleys in your roof must be applied with flashing, as well as any protrusions such as chimneys or skylights.

Flashing can be made of several materials: aluminum, copper, steel, rubber or roofing felt. Sometimes, a combination of two of these will be used for extra protection.

How Does Flashing Protect?

The goal of flashing is to be waterproof. It will collect any water seeping through and redirect that water back out onto the roof where it can be siphoned to the proper drainage point.

In addition, flashing reduces the risk of leaking and moisture buildup from ruining your roof’s structure with mold or wood rot. The potential for insect infiltration can also be addressed by your flashing. It seals up the small cracks where roofing components join together.

Flat Roofs and Flashing

Flashing isn’t only crucial for a sloped roof. The potential for pooling or ponding on a flat roof is much higher – even though flat roofs generally have a low slope.

Because of the potential for water pooling, the risk of water seeping through the roof’s main membrane is greater. Your roofing materials must be protected as much as possible.

Storm damage is just as much of a threat to a flat roof as to a sloped roof. Strong winds have the potential to lift your roofing membrane or weaken it. Storm winds can also drive rain under tiles or into gaps where water would not usually penetrate.

A flat roofing system is one place where two types of flashing can be used: one of metal and another of rubber.

The metal flashing is susceptible to thermal expansion and contraction in a way that rubber isn’t. Using the two together can provide double protection from the elements over time. If your metal flashing were to fail or need to be replaced, the rubber flashing could protect your roof until you make the necessary repairs.


In conclusion, flashing is a necessary component for every type of roof. It is essential that it gets installed correctly to stand up to all the weather that comes your way.

If you are experiencing leaks in your commercial flat roof, it may be a failure in the flashing. You need the opinion of an experienced commercial roofer.

Is your building located in Southeast Michigan? We would be happy to answer any questions you may have about your commercial roof.

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