Would you spend $10 to save yourself hundreds if not thousands of dollars in repairs? That is what a little piece of flashing installed called kick-out or diverter flashing could do for you. This special piece of flashing diverts water away from your cladding (siding) and into a gutter system. Of the houses that should have a kick-out flashing only an estimated 1 in 10 actually have it installed*. Homeowners recognize where this flashing should be installed and understand the proper procedures of installation in order to protect their homes.
What Is Kick-out Flashing?
Kick-out flashing should be installed anywhere a wall extends past an intersecting roof line. This piece of flashing will divert the water away from the wall and into a gutter system. It should also be installed where a gutter system intersects a chimney. Without the flashing installed the water will run down the cladding and enter the building envelope. The damage that can be caused by not installing kick-out flashing can be sever and sometimes cost thousands of dollars to repair.
Kick-out flashing should be used with all types of cladding including vinyl siding, brick, stone veneer, wood, cement board, aluminum, and steel. No matter the type of siding the basic installation is the same.
Why Is Kick-out Flashing Not Installed?
As important as kick-out flashing is, it is a fairly new development. The International
Residential Code just added kick-out flashings in 2009 under the label of "sidewall flashing". It is also labeled "diverter flashing". So if your home was built before 2009 it is very unlikely your home will have kick-out flashing installed. This doesn't mean it shouldn't be added retroactively. If you roof or siding was remodeled or your home built after 2009 it should have been installed but there are many contractors who just don't know or don't understand the importance of this little piece of flashing. In 2012 the IRC updated the description of "sidewall flashing" and then in 2015 and 2018 made minor changes to the description.
How Is Kick-Out Flashing Installed
Kick-out flashing must be installed and sized properly to prevent water from infiltrating the wall envelope. It is a simple process, however it is usually completed as one of the first steps in the roofing or siding process which means you must peel back layers of siding, roofing, and flashing in order to install it. The kick-out flashing under the ice and water shield, step flashing, counter flashing, and house wrap but over the drip edge. This way the water will run off the roof and not behind the flashing and into the structure.
The sizing of the flashing is also important in order to be able to handle the shear amount of rain water, without allowing it to pour overtop to flashing. The flashing should be a minimum of 4" wide and 4" tall. Most times even if I see the kick-out flashing is installed it is not large enough to handle the rainfall which will allow the water to flow over the flashing. This is usually because the flashings are made onsite by contractors who do not understand all the requirements for kick-out flashings. These hand made flashings also have seams which can allow water to enter the structure even if they are properly installed and sized. To prevent these issues there are some commercial options available which are properly sized and produced without seams.
PBZ Manufacturing "Kickout Flashing"- A heavy duty aluminum flashing that comes in a powder coated finish or unfinished. The joint is welded to create a watertight seal. It fits all roof pitches and installed quickly.
DryFlekt Water Management System- A thermosplastic PolyOlefin (TPO) flashing that comes in 7 standard colors. This flashing is moldable and will not rust, corrode, or conduct electricity. It also fits all roof pitches and installed quickly.
Kick-Out Flashing Matters To You
It is important for homeowners to make sure their home is "up to snuff". Keep up with codes, even ones as simple as this kick-out flashing can save thousands of dollars in repair. This can be a difficult task for most homeowners but there is an easy way to make sure your home is functioning properly. Hiring a home inspector when buying a home and having them return annually for a complete home inspection is important. The dollars that are spend can easily be saved. Home inspectors will not only look for repairs such as missing kick-out flashing but also life safety issues with the home. Keeping your home safe and sound is our top priority. To schedule your next home inspection see our website www.CardInspectionServices.com. For more information about roofing and your home see our other blogs including "Roofing System- An Overview".
Card Inspection Services, LLC is a full service home inspection company that covers the majority of mid and west Michigan. They have provided home and commercial inspections, radon testing, mold and air quality testing, and wood destroying organism inspections for over 7 years.
*Figure from performed home inspections by Card Inspection Services