Why does the Home Inspector always write up missing kickout flashings on the roof?

What is kickout flashings on a roof and why is this inexpensive device so important to your home and your wallet?  Read on to learn how you can save yourself major repair bills!

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I recently read and answered a post on a bulletin board where a seller asked why the Home Inspector wrote up the lack of kickout flashings on the home they are trying to sell.  The poster also wanted to know if they have a chance of not having to do this if the buyer asks for it.  The poster also said “my roofer” stated that the roof does not need them and might cause other problems.  It is amazing how such a simple and inexpensive device is so misunderstood!

Proper kickout flashing detail

The kickout flashing is circled in yellow. Click for a larger view.

A kickout flashing is nothing more than a flashing piece where a roof ends at a vertical wall of the house.  This flashing is angled to divert the roof run off water away from the roof and side wall joint point.  The image here shows the kickout flashing circled by yellow.  In this example the kickout is installed with a stucco sided home, but kickouts are needed with any vertical wall cladding type (siding, brick, etc.).  Also many people think kickout flashings are only needed if gutters are installed which is far from the truth!  Kickouts should be installed on all roofs regardless of the whether gutters are installed or not!

Without the kickout flashing the potential for damage is significant if water penetrates at that roof to wall joint or if the water is allowed to flow off the roof and down the wall where it can find other wall openings to enter.  If there is a wall penetration below such as a window or door the chances of unchecked openings in brick, siding, stucco, etc., can lead to significant and hidden water penetration damage issues.  If you want to see the types of hidden damage that can occur all you have to do is use the following Google search and select the images option  “kickout & flashing & damage” .  Or you can go to the site of one manufacturer that manufactures kickout flashing pieces Dryflekt (click their name) and they have some graphic pictures of hidden damage that can occur.

So why don’t roofers install kickout flashings on all homes they roof?  There are three main reasons.  One is that they do not know how to create them on site with existing flashing materials used for the rest of the sidewall flashings.  Even if they do know how to then creating these properly takes a little effort and time to properly do and they just do not want to take the additional time as time is money.  The last reason is simply cost and bidding the job as cheaply as possible.  Even if they do not know how to make them or do not want to take the time to make them they can easily buy these flashing pieces from one of the many manufacturers out there that make them.  These manufactured pieces are so cheap costing from $10 – $15 each depending on where they get them and if they buy in bulk.  But that of course means they would have to increase their roofing bid and lose the job over even just the cost of a few of these.

So why don’t builders have these installed on brand new homes?  For builders they are really no different than roofers.  Many builders have no clue that kickout flashings are actually required by the building codes and must be added on the roof to protect against water penetration problems.  Another reason they don’t goes back to the basic idea of shaving costs!  After all the hidden damage can take awhile to be found and by then the builder already has an excuse for why it wasn’t their fault.  And the most ignorant reason is they just do not like the looks of them and want their homes to sell which means aesthetics (appearance) is everything to them and quality really is second.

So if you are a homeowner, whether or not you are selling, a buyer who does not see these on their roof, whether it is an existing home or brand new home, you need to make sure these simple and inexpensive devices are installed on the home.  The longer a home sits without these very important flashing pieces the more chance for potential hidden damage!

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PS Inspection & Property Services LLC is a full service home inspection and light commercial inspection company servicing the entire Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas metroplex as well as all areas around them.  If you are located outside of these areas we can still help service your needs so call us to see how we can help.  We strive to for the satisfaction of our customers in everything we do.  Our services offerings include:

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