How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
What is the average life expectancy of roof flashings?
Tuesday, June 9, 2020
How long do roof flashings last?
You can expect roof flashings to last 20 to 35 years, with an average of 25 years. A flashing is any material that is used as a transition between roofing and another surface or at a roof penetration, or at a change in plane of the roofing itself. If a roof is leaking, it is likely at a flashing.
The material is often aluminum or galvanized steel, but can be lead, terne metal, or copper. When used at the edge of a roof it is called a drip edge flashing, but flashing is also used where a roof meets an adjacent wall, at the intersection of two different roof planes—a valley, for example—and at roof penetrations like a chimney, skylight, or roof vents.
Check out our article What is roof flashing? for photos of different types of flashings. Also see Why is it a mistake to replace a roof and not replace its flashings? and The inspector says that a missing kickout flashing caused water damage inside the wall. What's kickout flashing?
Here’s a bar graph that compares estimated life of roof flashing with other roof components.
Go to our blog post What is the average lifespan of the parts of a house? for rating of other house components. To understand the basis, potential use, and limitations of lifespan ratings, see How accurate are the average life expectancy ratings of home components? Are they actually useful?
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Field Guide for Home Inspectors, a quick reference for finding the age of 154 brands of HVAC systems, water heaters, and electrical panels, plus 210 code standards for site-built and manufactured homes, and the life expectancy rating of 195 home components. Available at amazon.com for $19.95.
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To learn more about roofs and attics, see these other blog posts:
NOTE: These life expectancies are based on data provided by InterNACHI, NAHB, FannieMae, and our own professional experience. Because of the numerous variables that can affect a lifespan, they should be used as rough guidelines only, and not relied upon as a warranty or guarantee of future performance.
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