This Is Step One Of Roof Flashing. Counter Flashing Is Step Two.

Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723

This is step one of roof flashing.  Counter flashing is step two.

So, on this new house, where's step two?

This is step one.

It is called step flashing.

A piece of metal is bent at a 90 degree angle and placed under each shingle in a step fashion all the way up a roof.

It abuts the side of the house, either subsurface material or brick. The step flashing here is properly done.

This step prevents water from getting into the house between the side of the house and the roof surface.

It is an absolutely essential step.

But notice something.

It is not glued or attached to the brick in any way.

As such water will get behind it and into the house.

All roofers know this.

And all roofers know that counter flashing is the solution, AND STEP TWO.

Counter flashing is another piece of metal, solidly anchored against the side of the house or brick, that completely covers the step flashing.

Its position is indicated by the red lines to the left.

Typically counter flashing is glued to the brick with roof tar.

That glue is essential.

This second covering of flashing, or counter flashing, is the essential step two.

That counter flashing was forgotten here is an unforgivable error.

Forgetting it leaves this roof, and the rooms below, vulnerable to water damage.

Most buyers would not know this. 

The builder's supervisor knows this too, but somehow, during his hundreds of inspections, this step was skipped!  Perhaps he assumed the roofer would "take care of everything."

Good thing there was a home inspection!

My recommendation:  don't forget the home inspection with new construction!  It pays to have an objective set of eyes looking at every property!  This lack of counter flashing is an oversight that needs to be corrected immediately.



Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

Comments (33)

Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Fred - a very pugnacious supervisor wanted to hit me on the head.  He didn't believe me!  Taking him outside to show him I thought he was going to take me down.  It would have been the last time he took anyone down...

Thanks Lyn.  My binocks are great!  What you see there is about the same as my binoculars showed me.  It was high and far away!


Feb 07, 2018 01:15 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Start your day with Jay or Make your play with Jay....Its all good

Feb 07, 2018 04:52 PM
Goran Utvic
Goran Utvic Real Estate Broker/Construction Consultant - Chicago, IL
Chicago 2 Flat Specialist

Good catch Jay...that would've definitely caused damage in the future.

I like to grind a 1/4" slot on the upper red line and bend the counter flashing to hook into the slot and apply a bead of exterior caulk.

Feb 07, 2018 05:05 PM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

I sell almost all new construction to investors. I always remind them that new homes are built by humans subject to error.

Feb 07, 2018 05:16 PM
Anthony Vosilla
Tony's Appraisal Services - Centereach, NY

Good information on this issue, thanks.  On FHA appraisals I will pay a little more attention to this portion of the roof.  

Feb 07, 2018 06:17 PM
Barbara Murphy
Tartan Properties, Pensacola~Pace~Milton~Gulf Breeze~FL - Pace, FL

Excellent inspection, Jay!  What a great service you provided for the buyer!  I strongly encourage all my buyer clients, whether existing or new construction, to have a full home inspection.  If they refuse, they must sign our form saying that they refused it!  (But so far, none have!)  And my new construction buyers have found issues that the builder missed each time - none as bad as the roof issue you found, but issues that needed to be addressed *prior* to closing!  Keep up the good work, and thanks for sharing!

Feb 07, 2018 06:30 PM
John Dotson
Preferred Properties of Highlands, Inc. - Highlands, NC - Highlands, NC
The experience to get you to the other side!

Goran Utvic has it right, That second step of flashing, ideally, needs to be cut into the brick.

Your pictures are an example of poor, poor work on the part of the roofer.

Good catch!

Feb 07, 2018 06:39 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Jay

We can always count on your for some great lessons about homes and maintenance. I've witnessed some pretty poor flashing over the years, even from being on the ground!


Feb 07, 2018 09:54 PM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Richie - thanks for the poem!  Are your feet long fellows like mine?  Thanks for stopping by!

Goran - when lead was used brick layers would cut a slot into the mortar for chimney counter flashing.  That technique isn't used so much anymore, though I see it now and then.

That they are, Joe.  And sometimes I have bad news for buyers!

Anthony - there is a lot to pay attention to on every roof!


Feb 08, 2018 02:03 AM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Barbara - as with a lot of new construction I inspect, there were many issues with this house.  New construction often has more problems than old, from my experience!

John - like I said to him that technique isn't done so much anymore.  I still see it when copper flashing is used to mimic the copper on other areas of historic home restoration.

Jeff - and I've had many flashing posts!  Sometimes what I see is an absolute joke!

Feb 08, 2018 02:05 AM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Thanks Jay. This is good to know.  In fact, I'm going to take another look at my house.

Feb 08, 2018 04:22 AM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Had you no flashing, Gabe, you would have experienced the result inside the house!

Feb 08, 2018 09:04 AM
Brian Ferns
Home Inspector Albuquerque - Albuquerque, NM
Professional InterNACHI Certified Home Inspections

As a fellow home inspector I too have found "rushed" roof flashing applications in new home construction. It is imperative that buyers and sellers hire a certified professional home inspector to help in disclosing what the current conditions of a subject property may exist. It is better to know before any buyer remorse. Great job!

Home Inspector Albuquerque

Feb 08, 2018 01:52 PM
Bill Dean
Haggerty Team St. Louis, Mo. - Fenton, MO
William Dean - Broker, Salesperson

Hi   Jay Markanich 

Even worse to find this on a new home!    I have a rental property that is much older and a water stain in the middle of a kitchen ceiling was driving me nuts trying to locate the source, my tuckpointer found it in the flashing  about 10 feet to the left there was a blister and water was funneling into it and running along the beam!

Feb 08, 2018 11:27 PM
Kimo Jarrett
Cyber Properties - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Very informative post, so thank you. However, how could this occur since a building inspector for the city or county must approve the roof construction? If so, wouldn't the homeowner have recourse against the roofing contractor and the building inspector of the city or county if discovered after the construction was completed?

Feb 09, 2018 02:47 AM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Brian - they were going to get to it after lunch and, um, forgot!  My biggest beef with modern construction is the word "professionalism."  It hardly exists.  See my post today!

Bill - I see this crap on new construction all the time.  See my comment above!

Kimo - you'd think!  But sadly, no.  While I was there the county inspector looked at the house next door that I had inspected 3 days prior.  It had the same roof condition in two places!  And the county passed the house.  Oh, he was there maybe 5 minutes...

Feb 09, 2018 03:14 AM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Jay,

In new home construction, I have encountered more problems than in old houses with orange shag carpet. For that reason, I now recommend multiple inspections. Definitely before drywall, so you can catch things early for the major systems. Snooping on the progress every week (maybe on your way to get groceries on Saturday mornings) can be helpful too. Take binoculars to see things like this flashing issue. It looked wrong before I read your post about how it is done right. Thank you for pointing it out.

Feb 10, 2018 12:40 PM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Dorte - I have had clients who go by very often to check on the house.  If they see anything really odd sometimes they ask me by to evaluate it.

Feb 10, 2018 01:48 PM
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

David used to do roofng in his faming youth and while he does not quote repairs he makes sure he inspector is aware of any issyes...AND as importantly if it is our lisitng...that the Seller has a heads up that may require repair.

Feb 19, 2018 05:15 AM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

David seems very knowledgeable, if I read your posts correctly, S&D.  Roof issues should always be pointed out!

Feb 19, 2018 01:58 PM