Step Flashing Repair

The causes and cures for step flashing leaks

Step flashing is used on the side of the shingle when it meets a vertical termination such as a wall. They are pieces of metal, usually steel, that prevent water from entering between the shingle and the wall.

Step flashing is bent at almost a 90 degree angle and placed underneath each course of shingle and then up against the wall. It is a good practice to allow a bit of space between the wall and the end of the shingle to prevent buckling and allow the free flow of water down the roof.

There are several causes of a leaking step flashing or wall. The most common is that the steps were clearly installed improperly. We find obvious gaps in the flashing that would allow water to get in. Sometimes the roofers forgot to install a step or sometimes they didn't fasten it and over time it slides down enough to create a gap.

Oftentimes we find the nail used to secure the flashing is placed too low on the step allowing water to leak in. The nail needs to be placed on the upper side of the step, so it covered by the subsequent piece. The roofer may not realize the importance of this step since it probably won't leak for several years. This is our most common step flashing repair.

If the roof is leaking at the step flashing the water may be coming in at the wall and not the roof. When this occurs it is usually for one of two reasons. One is that the wall is made of stucco and had a particular type of channel installed at the base of the stucco. The step flashing slides under this channel. A small percentage of these will leak due to a poorly designed or installed channel. We repair this by cutting the lip off the channel and cutting in and installing a new counter flashing along with new step flashing.

The other cause of step flashing leakage is when the shingles are installed underneath the L or J channel of the siding on the wall. Sometimes this will push the channel tightly against the siding allowing water to get behind the siding where it can easily enter the interior. The fix in this case varies but always includes trimming the shingle back from underneath the channel. Sometimes we have to remove the channel and either repair or replace it.

Whenever we replace the step flashing, either on a repair or a roof replacement, we install a strip of ice and water shield ( a self adhering rubberized asphalt membrane material) underneath the step flashing to insure it won't leak ever again. It requires very little time and expense and it ensures that the wall never leak. We guarantee our work, but our goal is to fix it once.

If you have a leak, give us a call to schedule an estimate.



Call for an Step Flashing Repair Estimate


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