If you're not familiar with the parts of your roof, you may think of something else when you hear the word "flashing." However, now that you're a homeowner, you're going to need to add flashing to the list of words that come to mind when you think of your roof.

Flashing is the metal stripping portion of your roofing that creates a watertight seal between your roof joints, particularly where the roofing material meets the edges of your home. Without proper maintenance, your flashings can deteriorate, which can cause your roof to leak at the seams. Here are some easy-to-follow cleaning instructions to help keep your flashing in good condition. Before you begin, you're going to need to gather your supplies.

Supplies You'll Need

  • Slip-resistant shoes

  • Tri-sodium phosphate

  • Bucket

  • Water

  • Sponges

  • Sandpaper

  • Wire brush

  • Whisk broom

  • Latex paint (the same color as your roofing material)

  • Paint stirrer

  • Paint brush

  • Flathead screwdriver (to open your paint can)

  • Ladder

Wash the Flashings

The first thing you'll need to do is thoroughly wash your flashings. This will remove dirt and oils that will make it difficult to get rid of the rust.


  1. Use the bucket to mix your tri-sodium phosphate and water according to the instructions on the label.

  2. Put your slip-resistant shoes on and use your ladder to climb up on the roof.

  3. Bring all of your supplies with you, including the bucket of cleaning solution.

  4. Wash your flashings using the tri-sodium phosphate solution and sponges.

  5. Allow the flashings to air dry.

Remove the Rust

Once the flashings have been cleaned, you'll be ready to remove all the rust that might have built up on them. You'll use your sand paper, wire brush, and whisk broom for this portion of the project.


  1. Use your sandpaper and wire brush to scrape away the rust.

  2. Be sure to scrape along the seams to get the hidden rust deposits.

  3. Use the whisk broom to sweep away the dust and rust particles that are left behind.

  4. Repeat the process on all of the flashings.

Apply the Protective Coating

Now that the flashings are clean, you're ready for the final step in the process. You're going to apply a layer of latex paint to protect the flashings. For this portion of the project, you're going to use the latex paint, paintbrushes and flathead screwdriver.


  1. Use your screwdriver to open the can of paint.

  2. Stir the paint using the paint stirrer.

  3. Apply a thin generous layer of latex paint to all the flashings.

  4. Allow them to dry for several hours.

  5. If you live in an area that has significant rainfall, you should apply a second coat of paint.

Now that you know what a flashing is, you can use these steps to keep them in good condition. You should inspect your roof and clean your roof flashings at least once a year. For assistance, talk to a professional like Roof Renewal Systems, LLC.