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Flashings refer to thin metal pieces that are used in laying a roof to prevent leakage at seams and corners. Flashing can be made of copper, aluminum or galvanized steel. These pieces can be attached over the shingles so they are visible or underneath, where they can barely be seen. Look for flashing where one part of the roof meets another and around things that protrude from the roof, such as chimneys and vents.
Without flashings, even the best roof would likely leak, causing water to seep throughout your attic and living space. Flashings prevent rain water and melting snow from finding their way into your home through the seams that surround apertures in the roof, like chimneys, skylights and furnace vents, or at the corners of the roof. Flashings are installed in such a way so that the water is deflected from the seam rather than collecting in it.