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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What is a Roof Flashing?

It's a verb, a pain, no it's Goopyman.
Yes Virginia, their is , or was Bird Pookie, a roofing flashing cement made by Bird, an old roofing manufacture whose claim to fame was that they printed the first dollar bills for the United States. Now they're out of business. No, the roofing manufacture. The US is still printing money from what I hear.
This black, oozing glop is plastic roof cement, and is used in commercial and residential roofing from Dallas to Fort Worth and everywhere in between. Good roofers rarely need it on pitched roof replacement. The best professionals use gravity and not sealants. When your boss says go flash something he is not referring to disrobing, although you'll need to after you ruin your clothes, car seat, and, well, let's just say everything, including the roof, if you're not careful.
Your el patrĂ³n might have meant to "cut in" a pipe or a chimney on a roof. That means to roof under and around any roof penetration with shingles so that the flashing turns water. You integrate a pipe jack (boot, cover, stack, 3n1, sewer vent, auto caulk...) with the roof du jour in a waterproof manner. This may be enhanced with a leak barrier such as StormGuard or Ice and Water Shield. These help flash against ice dams and torrential rain.
Metal edging is a flashing but nobody says "go flash the perimeter with metal edge" or "flash the eave."
You can flash about anything on a roof with any number of flashing that range from rubber, plastic, different kinds of metal, to glop.
if I were to type "go get all the flashings" would Google leave me alone? No it didn't. In Googlespeak the word flashing only comes in singulars but as we now know their are many types of flashing.
In the mid 1970's when I was a young whippersnapper whipping my snaps I began my career in roofing. The first time I heard "go flash that pipe" I was a little concerned. I calmly waited to see what would happen and it did. Somebody opened the Bird Flashing Cement and spread it all over the roof and himself.
My best story, and I don't tell many here, was when I was in college and we were going to flash a long parapet on a flat built up gravel surface roof. We carefully broomed back the gravel, got out our spud bars and looked to remove all the gravel and potatoes. More sweeping followed. We carefully place rolls of membrane every seven feet and a five gallon bucket of plastic flashing cement every ten feet. Our trowels and clothes were ready.
Carefully we open the buckets with our screwdrivers so as not to be contaminated with the tar. But one hero with few teeth, despite his tender age of about 23, stomped on his lid, reached into the bucket with his bare hands and let out the laugh of a madman in a 1957 "B" rated sci-fi.
We all laughed at his moronic behavior but later realized that we all looked the same. He was the wise fool.
Years later such behavior was banned. Most roofers never have smelled pooky. I have ingested it.They are the not so unlucky ones. They still suffer up on those roofs. In my youth I enjoyed it but since then I have become somewhat sane.
Later, after we cleaned our hands with charcoal lighter fluid or kerosene, we went to eat Churches chicken to get our cuticles clean. I know, it's not healthy to eat greasy chicken.
I hoped you to understand that flashing is a broad word that is thrown about like a wrestler when specifics allude you or time restraints do not allow for a discourse on roofing.
Reporting form Dallas, Jon Wright