If you're like most homeowners, roofing terms like kickout may seem confusing and intimidating. However, learning the basics of roof construction can help you determine if your roof was installed or repaired correctly. A kickout is simply any area where a roof edge meets with an existing wall. Find out how these specific junctions should be installed for the fewest chances of rot and leaking due to excess moisture splashing onto the wall.

Extend Flashing Properly

The flashing that bridges over the joint between the roofing and the wall is the primary protection against water penetration and leaks. It must extend four inches up onto the side of the wall and four inches out over the surface of the roof. For even better water protection, consider extending this flashing coverage even further to six or eight inches over each surface. Don't include the self-adhesive underlayment or other sealing methods you use underneath the flashing in this extension. Only a wider piece of flashing will increase the water tightness of a seam between the roof and wall.

Use a Pre-Made Kickout

The kickout itself is the final piece of flashing that protrudes from the roof and wall joint to direct water into a gutter or onto the ground rather than allowing it to hit the wall as it falls. While it is possible for a roofing contractor to make their own kickout just by cutting and bending a piece of metal flashing to fit the situation, this isn't the best way to finish out the area. Pre-made kickouts feature a reinforced bend seam so that the kickout doesn't rust out or break at that point after only a few years of use. Plastic kickouts are also available that work seamlessly with metal flashing while offering more rust resistance.

Consider Liquid Membranes

Since it's essential to cover the walls around a kickout area with multiple layers of underlayment and house wrap, you can end up with a lot of layers to manage at the edges of where the wall and roof meet. Using a liquid underlayment membrane that is spread on like paint can speed up installation, ensure every nook and cranny is properly covered, and reduce the thickness of the materials around the seam. Most of these paint-on membranes also work well with self-adhesive membranes so you can use both on the same kickout project.

Run Membranes Lower

Aside from the use of underlayment membranes directly around the kickout area, you'll also need to run a layer of waterproofing membrane across the section of the wall directly below the bottom of the fascia. Leaving this coverage too short could allow the wall to rot out underneath the siding due to water hitting the wall or bouncing off of the kickout. The waterproof membrane you run under the fascia should extend past the edge of the roof by at least 10 inches to ensure a tight seam. Make sure the housewrap overlaps this piece of membrane so that it's not directly exposed to water.

Weave the Flashing

Finally, make sure that the step flashing used to cover the kickout seam is woven into the shingles that butt the wall. This means that each piece of step flashing sits on top of the underlying row of shingles, creating a seamless transition from the top of the roof to the bottom. If the flashing is run underneath all of the layers of shingles that run to the wall, water can easily soak underneath the flashing and must be caught by the waterproof barrier at that point. It's far safer to stop the water while it's still on the surface with proper shingle weaving techniques.

Contact a local roof installation expert for more information.