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Step and Kick-Out Flashing at Roof-Wall Intersections

Scope

Step and kickout flashing should be installed at all roof-wall intersections to protect the wall and divert rainwater runoff into a gutter.
Step and kickout flashing should be installed at all roof-wall intersections to protect the wall and divert rainwater runoff into a gutter.

Install step and kick-out flashing at all roof-wall intersections to protect walls from water intrusion and install boot or collar flashing at all roof penetrations to protect roofs from leaks.

  • Install corrosion-resistant flashing pieces that are overlapped shingle fashion.
  • Extend step flashing at least 4 inches up the wall from the roof deck and at least four inches out along the roof deck (IRC 2015) and integrate the flashing with the drainage plane above (for example, overlap house wrap over it). 
  • If metal, the flashing should be made of galvanized steel at least 0.019-inches thick (IRC 2015).
  • Install roof felt prior to installing the step and kick-out flashing.
  • Install house siding over the step flashing, ending at least one inch above the roof surface.
  • Install shingles over the portion of step flashing on the roof.
  • When installing metal or rubber membrane roofs, use continuous flashing rather than pieces of step flashing.
  • Install kick-out flashing at the end of a roof-wall intersection to divert water away from the wall and into gutters. Ensure that the kick-out flashing is large enough to handle expected storm water flows. 
  • Install boot or collar flashings around all roof penetrations and properly integrate with roof membranes and shingles above and below the penetration. 

See the Compliance Tab for related codes and standards requirements, and criteria to meet national programs such as DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home program, ENERGY STAR Certified Homes, and Indoor airPLUS.

Description

Deluging rains can pour thousands of gallons of water onto a home’s roof in a single storm. In multi-level house designs where roofs intersect walls, much of this water is channeled along the wall to a gutter. If sidewall flashing is lacking or inadequate, water runoff can get inside the wall and cause serious damage. In big storm events, rainwater can often overflow the gutter and stream down the walls. Diverters are sometime fashioned onsite in an attempt to direct this water into the gutters. If undersized, these diverters are not very helpful. If not properly integrated with the existing housewrap and cladding, they can do more harm than good by allowing water inside the wall cavities. The result can be significant damage to wall sheathing, framing, and insulation, and mold inside the wall cavities. While older wood siding would show evidence of this water intrusion by peeling paint, new wall claddings like fiber cement, vinyl siding, and brick veneer can mask the evidence for years.

Anywhere roof sections adjoin wall sections, step flashing should be used to keep water from entering the walls, and kick-out diverters should be used to direct the rainwater into rain gutters where it can be carried away from the structure. Proper flashing that is correctly integrated with housewrap and cladding along roof-wall intersections and kick-out diverters that are seamless and adequately sized to direct flowing water into the rain gutters are important tools to keep the wall cladding from being saturated by flowing water. Kick-out diverters can be formed on site from sheet metal but these are often inadequately sized and have unsealed seams that fail over time. Large, seamless, plastic kick-out diverters are commercially available.

These materials would be installed by roofers in coordination with housewrap and siding installers. This task should be included in the contract for the appropriate trade depending on the workflow at the specific job site.

Wall flashing and kick-out diverters are required in the 2009 and 2012 IRC (R703.8) and 2015 IRC (R703.4). See the Compliance tab.

Improper flashing can allow rain water into walls, causing significant damage

 

Figure 1 - Improper flashing can allow rain water into walls, causing significant damage  Reference

How to Install Sidewall Flashing and Kick-Out Diverters — On Homes with Rigid Foam Insulation Sheathing

  1. Apply drip edge and roof underlayment over the roof deck and continue lapping up the sidewall and over the water-resistive barrier (in this case rigid foam insulation) a minimum of 7 inches (Figure 2).

  2. Install the shingle starter strip at the roof eave in accordance with the roofing manufacturer’s instructions (Figure 3).       

  3.        a. Place the seamless, one-piece, non-corrosive kick-out diverter as the first piece of step flashing.
           b. Slide the kick-out diverter up the roof plane until the starter trough stops at the shingle starter strip. The diverter must be flat on the roof and flush to the sidewall (Figure 3).
           c. Fasten and seal the diverter to the roof deck and starter strip. (Do not fasten it to the sidewall.)

  4. Place the first row of shingles and next section of sidewall flashing over the up-slope edge of the diverter, lapping a minimum of 4 inches over the diverter (Figure 4). Sidewall flashing height requirement should be determined by a design professional and local building codes.)

  5. Install the remaining sidewall flashing, appropriate counter flashing, and shingles in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions (Figure 5).

  6. Apply self-adhesive flashing over the top edge of the wall flashing, diverter, and rigid foam insulation (Figure 6).

  7. Apply construction tape over the self-adhered flashing (Figure 7).

  8. Apply siding over the rigid foam insulation.

Step 1: apply roof underlayment

FIgure 2. Apply roof underlayment over roof deck and up sidewall over the rigid foam insulation. Reference

Step 2. Install shingle starter strip then kick-out diverter as first piece of step flashing.

Figure 3. Install shingle starter strip then kick-out diverter as first piece of step flashing. Reference

Step 3. Place the first shingle and the next section of sidewall flashing over upper edge of diverter

Figure 4. Place the first row of shingles and the first piece of flashing over the upper edge of the diverter. Reference

Step 4. Install remaining sidewall flashing, appropriate counter flashing, and shingles

Figure 5. Install remaining sidewall flashing and roof shingles. Reference

Step 5. Apply self-adhesive flashing over top edge of the wall flashing, diverter, and rigid foam insulation

Figure 6. Apply self-adhesive flashing over the top edge of the wall flashing, the diverter, and the rigid foam insulation. Reference 

Step 6. Apply construction tape over the self-adhered flashing

Figure 7. Apply construction tape over the self-adhered flashing. Reference

How to Install Sidewall Flashing and Kick-Out Diverters — On Homes with Housewrap over OSB or Plywood Sheathing

  1. Apply drip edge and roof underlayment over the roof deck (Figure 8). Continue lapping up the sidewall and over the weather-resistive barrier (in this case housewrap) a minimum of 6 inches.

  2. Install the shingle starter strip at the roof eave in accordance with the roofing manufacturer’s instructions (Figure 9).
           a. Place the seamless one-piece non-corrosive kick-out diverter as the first piece of step flashing.
           b. Slide the kick-out diverter up the roof plane until the starter trough stops at the shingle starter strip. The diverter must be flat on the roof and flush to the sidewall.
           c. Fasten and seal the diverter to the roof deck and starter strip. (Do not fasten it to the sidewall.)

  3. Place the first shingle and next section of sidewall flashing over the up-slope edge of the diverter, lapping a minimum of 4 inches over the diverter as shown in Figure 10. (The sidewall flashing height requirement should be determined by a design professional and local building codes.)

  4. Install the remaining sidewall flashing, appropriate counter flashing, and shingles in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions (Figure 11).

  5. Apply self-adhesive flashing over the top edge of the wall flashing, diverter, and housewrap (Figure 12).

  6. Install the housewrap. Cut the housewrap to fit over the self-adhesive flashing and sidewall flashing (Figure 13).

  7. Apply siding over the housewrap.

Apply roof underlayment over roof deck and up the sidewall over housewrap

Figure 8. Apply roof underlayment over roof deck and up the sidewall over housewrap. Reference

Install shingle starter strip then kick-out diverter; attach to roof deck but not sidewall

Figure 9. Install shingle starter strip then kick-out diverter; attach to roof deck but not sidewall. Reference

Place first shingle and next section of sidewall flashing over upper edge of diverter

Figure 10. Place first shingle and next section of sidewall flashing over upper edge of diverter. Reference

Install remaining sidewall flashing, counter flashing, and shingles

Figure 11. Install remaining sidewall flashing, counter flashing, and shingles. Reference

Apply self-adhesive flashing over top edge of the wall flashing, diverter, and housewrap

Figure 12. Apply self-adhesive flashing over top edge of the wall flashing, diverter, and housewrap. Reference

Install the housewrap. Cut housewrap to fit over diverter and tape top of cut

Figure 13. Install the housewrap. Cut housewrap to fit over diverter and tape top of cut. Reference

 

Ensuring Success

The site supervisor should visually inspect the step flashing and kickout diverter during installation by trades to ensure that it is properly integrated with other wall and roof elements.

Climate

Verify that the kickout diverter is sized appropriately for expected local storm events.

Training

Right and Wrong Images

Presentations

None Available

Videos

  1. Direct Water into Gutters with a Kickout Flashing Diverter
    Publication Date: April, 2009
    Author(s): Fine Homebuilding
    Organization(s): Fine Homebuilding

    When flashing one of a house’s biggest potential leaks — where the eave overhang meets a vertical wall — editorial advisor Mike Guertin chooses to err on the side of caution to control water flow and not rely solely on step flashing.

  2. Water Moisture Issues: Flashing Windows, Water Leaks, and Kick-Out Flashings
    Publication Date: August, 2016
    Author(s): MW Alliance
    Organization(s): MW Alliance

    Steve Easley details the 2009 IECC residential requirements regarding Water and Moisture issues. Flashing, windows, water leaks and kick out flashings are all discussed.

CAD Images

Compliance

The Compliance tab contains both program and code information. Code language is excerpted and summarized below. For exact code language, refer to the applicable code, which may require purchase from the publisher. While we continually update our database, links may have changed since posting. Please contact our webmaster if you find broken links.

ENERGY STAR Certified Homes

ENERGY STAR Certified Homes (Version 3/3.1, Revision 08), Water Management System Builder Requirements:

3. Water-Managed Building Materials:

3.1 Step and kick-out flashing at all roof-wall intersections, extending ≥ 4” on wall surface above roof deck and integrated shingle-style with drainage plane above; boot / collar flashing at all roof penetrations.12

Footnotes:

(12) Intersecting wall siding shall terminate 1 in. above the roof or higher, per manufacturer's recommendations. Continuous flashing shall be installed in place of step flashing for metal and rubber membrane roofs. 

Builders Responsibilities:  It is the exclusive responsibility of builders to ensure that each certified home is constructed to meet these requirements. While builders are not required to maintain documentation demonstrating compliance for each individual certified home, builders are required to develop a process to ensure compliance for each certified home (e.g., incorporate these requirements into the Scope of Work for relevant sub-contractors, require the site supervisor to inspect each home for these requirements, and / or sub-contract the verification of these requirements to a Rater). In the event that the EPA determines that a certified home was constructed without meeting these requirements, the home may be decertified. 

ENERGY STAR Revision 08 requirements are required for homes permitted starting 07/01/2016.

DOE Zero Energy Ready Home

Exhibit 1: Mandatory Requirements. Certified under ENERGY STAR Qualified Homes Version 3.

AAMA 711-13

AAMA 711-13. Voluntary Specification for Self Adhering Flashing Used for Installation of Exterior Wall Fenestration Products. Available from AAMA’s online store from the link above. The specification establishes the test methods and minimum performance requirements for self adhering flashing products used around the perimeter of exterior fenestration products.  It also provides a method to determine the minimum width of the flashing products and to evaluate the influence of the environmental factors on the installation of self adhering flashing products applied under typical field conditions. 

2009 IRC

Section R703.8 Flashing. Approved corrosion-resistant flashing to be applied shingle-fashion to prevent water from entering into wall cavities or from penetrating into building structural framing components. Self-adhered flashing must comply with AAMA 711. Flashing at exterior window and door openings must extend to the surface of the exterior wall finish or to the water-resistive barrier.  Corrosion-resistant flashings should be installed:

  • Exterior and window door openings and extend to the exterior wall finish surface or water-resistive barrier
  • At intersection of chimneys or other masonry construction with frame or stucco walls, with projecting lips on both sides under stucco copings
  • Under and at ends of masonry, wood, or metal copings and sills
  • Continuously above all projecting wood trim
  • Where exterior porches, decks, or stairs attach to a wall or floor assembly (wood-frame construction)
  • At wall and roof intersections
  • At built-in gutters.*

2012 IRC

Section R703.8 Flashing. Approved corrosion-resistant flashing to be applied shingle-fashion to prevent water from entering into wall cavities or from penetrating into building structural framing components. Self-adhered flashing must comply with AAMA 711. Flashing at exterior window and door openings must extend to the surface of the exterior wall finish or to the water-resistive barrier. Flashing must be installed at the following locations:

  • Exterior window and door openings
  • In accordance with fenestration manufacturer’s installation and flashing instructions or in accordance with the flashing manufacturer’s instructions. Where instructions or details aren’t provided, pan flashing is to be installed at the sill of exterior window and door openings and must be sealed or sloped to direct water to the surface of the exterior wall finish or water-resistive barrier. Openings using pan flashing must also incorporate flashing or protection at the head and sides.
  • Per the flashing design or method of a registered design professional.
  • Under other approved methods.
  • Exterior and window door openings and extend to the exterior wall finish surface or water-resistive barrier
  • At intersection of chimneys or other masonry construction with frame or stucco walls, with projecting lips on both sides under stucco copings
  • Under and at ends of masonry, wood, or metal copings and sills
  • Continuously above all projecting wood trim
  • Where exterior porches, decks, or stairs attach to a wall or floor assembly (wood-frame construction.
  • At wall and roof intersections
  • At built-in gutters.*

*Due to copyright restrictions, exact code text is not provided.  For specific code text, refer to the applicable code.

IRC 2015

Section R703.4 Flashing. Approved corrosion-resistant flashing to be applied shingle-fashion to prevent water from entering into wall cavities or from penetrating into building structural framing components. Self-adhered flashing must comply with AAMA 711. Flashing must be installed at …wall and roof intersections and at built-in gutters.*

This Retrofit tab provides information that helps installers apply this “new home” guide to improvement projects for existing homes. This tab is organized with headings that mirror the new home tabs, such as “Scope,” “Description,” “Success,” etc. If there is no retrofit-specific information for a section, that heading is not included.

Scope

Before starting any retrofit project, consult the pre-retrofit assessment guides in the existing homes tool.

Install step and kick-out flashing at roof-wall intersections

  • Remove existing siding and shingles at roof-wall intersection.
  • Remove and repair any damaged siding and sheathing next to or beneath the roof-wall intersection.
  • Install liquid water proofing or peel and stick membrane on walls next to and beneath the end of the roof-wall intersection.
  • Install kick-out and step flashing and lap correctly to direct water out from wall; integrate it properly with existing house wrap.
  • Replace siding over step flashing.

Description

Missing kick-out and step flashing has been responsible for thousands of dollars worth of damage for homeowners. Signs of potential trouble include streaks of discoloration, mold or algae along walls below wall-roof intersections, rotting wood, or peeling paint. However with newer siding surfaces such as fiber cement and vinyl siding, there may be no visible exterior signs of damage even when water is pouring into the wall during every storm event and causing interior rot and mold inside the wall cavity.

The first step is to inspect the outside of the home and note all roof-wall intersections. Look for step flashing and kick-out flashing at those roof-wall intersections.

The step flashing should extend along the whole length of the roof-wall juncture. The individual pieces of metal flashing should be set so that each piece overlaps the piece beneath it; underlapped pieces can inject water into the wall rather than deflecting water from the wall. The step flashing should be visible below the siding because siding installers should leave a .75- to 1.5-inch gap between the siding and the roof below. This gap can get covered over if the home has been roofed over since the siding was installed, thus building up the roof height. When reroofing, it is best to remove and replace the step flashing to ensure it lays flat and is correctly aligned. If you are not reroofing, alternate the flashing with the existing shingles. Start from the bottom with kick-out flashing, as described in the Description tab. Along the wall, remove or cut away siding a few inches up the wall. Fold back any intact existing house wrap and install peel and stick membrane on the wall and roof surface. Install metal flashing that has been bent to a right angle with 5 or more inches extending up the wall and 5 inches extending out along the roof. Install with one nail placed at the top corner of the flashing on the roof or the house wall, but not both, to allow for movement. Install a strip of house wrap along the step flashing that extends up under the house wrap above and down to an inch above the roof, as shown in the Description tab.

On older homes, if kick-out flashing exists at all, it is often fabricated on site from pieces of flat metal flashing. Inspect existing kick-out flashing to determine if the size and angle are adequate for directing water into the gutter and to see if there are any holes, even pinholes, in the kick-out flashing. Inspect the walls around the kick-out flashing for holes and for rot. If the kick-out flashing is missing or inadequate, remove and replace it. Prefabricated plastic and metal kick-out diverters are commercially available. Install as described in the Description tab. Some installers will recommend just cutting a vertical slit into the wall above the end of the gutter and lifting the bottom course of shingles, then sliding the kick-out flashing into that slot and under the shingle. This is a less-than-adequate fix as the flashing will not be properly integrated with the side flashing or house wrap so the potential for future failure is higher and the ability to see and repair current damage is limited.

The end of the gutter should not touch the intersecting wall; there should be a small gap to allow free drainage down the wall.

More Info.

Access to some references may require purchase from the publisher. While we continually update our database, links may have changed since posting. Please contact our webmaster if you find broken links.

Case Studies

  1. Author(s): PNNL
    Organization(s): PNNL
    Publication Date: April, 2012

    Case study about a new home builder that strives to address health, safety, and durability issues in a hot and humid climate.

References and Resources*

  1. Author(s): Baechler, Gilbride, Hefty, Cole, Adams, Noonan, Love
    Organization(s): PNNL, ORNL
    Publication Date: September, 2011
    Report describing measures that builders in mixed-humid climates can use to build homes that have whole-house energy savings of 40% over the Building America benchmark with no added overall costs for consumers.
  2. Author(s): Hammer & Hand
    Organization(s): Hammer & Hand
    Publication Date: February, 2018

    This Best Practices Manual is the product of Hammer & Hand’s ongoing work to document and internally codify our standard operating procedures for construction practice.

  3. Author(s): Baechler, Gilbride, Hefty, Cole, Williamson, Love
    Organization(s): PNNL, ORNL
    Publication Date: September, 2010
    Report providing builders in marine climates with guidance for building homes that have whole-house energy savings of 40% over the Building America benchmark with no added overall costs for consumers.
  4. Author(s): DOE
    Organization(s): DOE
    Publication Date: April, 2017

    Standard requirements for DOE's Zero Energy Ready Home national program certification.

  5. Author(s): EPA
    Organization(s): EPA
    Publication Date: December, 2015

    Webpage with links to Document outlining the program requirements for ENERGY STAR Certified Homes, Version 3 and 3.1  (Rev. 08).

  6. Author(s): BSC
    Organization(s): BSC
    Publication Date: November, 2007
    Document providing guidance on water management concepts and applications.
  7. Author(s): EPA
    Organization(s): EPA
    Publication Date: February, 2011
    Guide describing details that serve as a visual reference for each of the line items in the Water Management System Builder Checklist.

Contributors to this Guide

The following authors and organizations contributed to the content in this Guide.

Last Updated: 03/15/2017