Kick Out (Kickout, Kick-Out) Flashing FAQ for Home Inspectors, Installers and Homeowners

If your have reached this page it's likely either because your home inspector or your home inspection report has mentioned problems with kick out flashings (also known as "kickout" and "kick-out" flashings) or because you have water damage and someone has mentioned a "kick out flashing" (or lack of one) as contributing to your problem. This FAQ is intended to help you understand kick out flashings and their function.
Kick out flashing FAQ
What is the function of a kick out flashing?
Damage caused by missing kickout flashing - Paragon Home Inspections Chicago Buffalo Grove Des Plaines Evanston Glenview Highland Park Morton Grove Mount Prospect Niles Northbrook Park Ridge Skokie Wheeling Wilmette Winnetka  Ill This leak were the roof met the bay wall - which caused damage to the siding and the wall sheathing and structural members behind it and also damaged the triangular bottom portion of the bay and the interior finished surfaces above the window - could have been avoided or minimized by the use of a kick out flashing.

The function of a kick out flashing is to prevent what you see at the left: a type of "roof" leak which occurs in a location where it has the potential to create extensive  damage. To understand what happened to this house, visualize the path of water flowing down the roof alongside the vertical wall above it.

When it reached the bottom of the roof, water was able to penetrate behind the siding and/or overshoot down past the gutter and onto the wall below - the wall-roof junction acted as a funnel to concentrate water runoff down the roof into a stream being directed against the siding at the roof's edge and beyond.

As you can see, over time that water can do a lot of damage. This page is about the role of kick out flashings in  preventing or at least minimizing such problems. top


How does a kick out flashing work?
Diagram of kickout flashing - Paragon Home Inspections Chicago Buffalo Grove Des Plaines Evanston Glenview Highland Park Morton Grove Mount Prospect Niles Northbrook Park Ridge Skokie Wheeling Wilmette Winnetka  Ill
Sidewall kick out flashing. Note the placement of the step flashing and house wrap so as to direct water onto the front ("u hill") surface of the kick out rather than behind it.
Adapted from ebuild.com
"Kick out" flashings are intended to prevent water from flowing behind a wall or down a vertical surface such as the fascia below a roof's edge  by redirecting it a short distance sideways and onto a roof surface or into a gutter.

In theory this is simple to do:  an "L" shaped piece of sheet metal or plastic is installed near the edge of the roof in such a way the water cannot run behind the kick out and instead is channeled off to one the side, where it falls off the edge of the roof to the ground or a gutter or other water collector (see the diagram at left.

In practice there are many possible defects in kick out design and construction, for example the kick out must be placed behind the step or other flashing "uphill" of the kick out,  and should be overlapped by any weather resistant barrier (such as "house wrap") above it.
It can also be expected that occasionally conditions such as heavy rains or damning by ice and snow will cause water to overflow the kick out, and provision should be made to protect wall at the kick out-wall junction - in this example that's the function of the vertical piece of "Self-adhering membrane" at the left end of the kick out. 


Diagram of kickout flashing - Paragon Home Inspections Chicago Buffalo Grove Des Plaines Evanston Glenview Highland Park Morton Grove Mount Prospect Niles Northbrook Park Ridge Skokie Wheeling Wilmette Winnetka  Ill
Photo courtesy of Mike Parlee,  Mark Parlee Builders, Urbandale, Iowa
The example at right illustrates the correct sequence of materials at this retro-fit installation of a kick out to a wall-roof interface above an eave as shown in the diagram above A layer of waterproof shingle underlayment (WSU) has been placed beside and below the step flashing, with each piece of step flashing overlapping the piece below it. The step flashing in turn overlaps the kick out flashing, and the water resistant barrier (WRB, the blue "housewrap") will be turned back down so that it sits to the outside of the step and kick out flashings. The siding will then be installed over the WRB, with a 1-2" gap (a "holdback") between the bottom of the siding and the roof surface to allow inspection and maintainance and to make it easier for roofers to properly install replacement shingles in the future. If any of these installation details are incorrect the kick out may actually make matters worse by conducting water into the wall behind the flashing or under the edge of the roof covering, or by directing water against a surface which was not intended to resist high moisture levels.


Retro-fit of kickout flashing to dormer wall Sidewall kick out flashing retro-fitted to the lower corner of a dormer
In the real world, flashings do not always exactly follow "textbook" examples, especially if it has been necessary to retro-fit a flashing to correct an existing problem. In the picture at left a roofer has added a kick out flashing at the junction of a roof and dormer. The vinyl siding closest to the roof was pulled loose and slit to allow the instillation of the kick out flashing, which was worked up back under the exiting step flashing and the siding then replaced.

This repair was successful: when it rains water is effectively directed into the gutter, and moisture levels at the interior of the wall in this location have returned to normal.
Successful redirection of water under such circumstances can be a real challenge for roofers and the only real test of such efforts is their actual performance - some flashings which look as though they will work well do not, and some flashings which appear marginal are effective in stopping leaks.

But when you find no kick out flashings at such locations or the flashings are clearly incorrect or insufficient, expect problems with water penetration. top


Kick out flashings at dormers and bays The low point of the junction of a dormer or bay with a roof is the "classic" location for water damage caused by a missing kick out flashing. The roof to wall junctions below are typical examples - it was possible to predict that significant damage would likely be present based on absence of correct flashings, but the extent of the damage was not apparent until siding had been removed.
Damage caused by a missing kickout flashing, wide view - Paragon Home Inspections Chicago Buffalo Grove Des Plaines Evanston Glenview Highland Park Morton Grove Mount Prospect Niles Northbrook Park Ridge Skokie Wheeling Wilmette Winnetka  Ill These walls show typical exterior indications of the damage associated with missing or incorrect kick out flashings, for example rotting of fascia and soffits and discoloration and paint failure on surfaces below.  The damage caused by a missing kick out flashing can be extensive, and is often not fully apparent until the damaged area has been exposed by removing exterior siding or interior wall coverings.
Damage caused by a missing kickout flashing, closeup A similar location at a different building. In addition to rotting caused by water saturation, missing kick out flashings can created conditions favorable to infestation by wood destroying insects and encourage the growth of mold. often these conditions will be present within the walls behind wet exterior surfaces
Damage caused by a missing kickout flashing at stucco bay, wide view - Paragon Home Inspections Chicago Buffalo Grove Des Plaines Evanston Glenview Highland Park Morton Grove Mount Prospect Niles Northbrook Park Ridge Skokie Wheeling Wilmette Winnetka  Ill Problems cause by missing and/or improperly designed kick out flashings can be worsened if roofing and/or gutter and downspout designs concentrate roof runoff and direct it toward roof-wall interfaces. Downspout connections at the end of a gutter adjacent to a vertical wall can also create additional water flow if they clog and water within the gutter flows over the "downhill end".
Damage caused by a missing kickout flashing at stocco bay, closeup - Paragon Home Inspections Chicago Buffalo Grove Des Plaines Evanston Glenview Highland Park Morton Grove Mount Prospect Niles Northbrook Park Ridge Skokie Wheeling Wilmette Winnetka  Ill The stucco on this bay is a good example of how water flowing down and/or entering a wall can travel substantial distances. In this case water has run down the vertical wall surface and traveled horizontally around the corner along the bottom of the bay. There is a good chance that that there has been damage to the wall sheathing behind the lath and/or to the structural members at the bottom of the bay.

The reason such flashing defects are common at both new construction and remodeling projects  - especially the installation of vinyl or aluminum siding or fascia and/or soffits or the repair or replacement of existing roofing - is that many otherwise skillful installers do not understand the importance of such flashing or how to install them correctly. As a result they may damage or remove existing flashings or fail to correctly install new ones where required. For this reason all roofs should  be carefully inspected for potential flashing problems irrespective of condition or the quality of other aspects of their installation.  top

Kick out flashings at chimneys After dormers and bays the next most common location of damage caused by missing or incorrect kick outs is at chimneys, for example when a chimney runs up the side of a structure we frequently observe interior and exterior water problems resulting from improper water control at the junction of chimney with the roof and gutter:

Missing kickout flashing at chimney At this junction of this chimney with the roof and gutter water is flowing down between the gutter and the chimney. A kick out flashing is need at this location to direct the water into the gutter.
Missing kickout flashing at chimney is causing damage to trim below Below the gutter in the picture at left water running down between the chimney and gutter's end is damaging the wood trim below.

As illistrted in the two pictures below water flowing down a chimney and adjacent walls can damage interior and exterior materials a considerable distance below the roof's edge.

Missing kickout flashing at chimney causes chimney staining and efflorescence At this house a missing kick out flashings at the junctions of the chimney with the roof allow water to run down between the chimney and the gutter, causing staining and efflorescence (the leaching of materials out of the masonry, causing white, "furry" material to appear at the surface of the brick).
Missing kickout flashing is causing growth of moss on chimney Despite the fact that this side of the chimney had a southwest exposure and was in direct sunlight part of the day the chimney remained so wet a 6" wide patch of moss was growing on it.

At this house water penetrating at the junction of of chimney and the walls below the missing kick out flashings at either side of the chimney caused damage to walls, ceilings and window trim.

Damage from a missing kick out at this location can be particularly severe as water flowing down the side of the chimney can enter at any defects in the junction between the chimney and the siding. As a result water damage can extend to areas well below roof level as water flows down the chimney and/or behind the siding. Often, as in the case of the chimney above, there have been repeated attempts to caulk gaps between the chimney and the wall cladding, frequently this is an indication that water intrusion at this location has already caused interior damage. top

Kick out flashings at other locations

Dormers, bays and chimneys are the most common locations at which we observe damage due to missing or incorrect kick out flashings, but the same general principles can apply in many locations where a vertical surface is terminated above a roof. top

Kick out flashings for specific materials

Kick out flashings for tile roofs

Kickout flashing for tile roof - Paragon Home Inspections Chicago Buffalo Grove Des Plaines Evanston Glenview Highland Park Morton Grove Mount Prospect Niles Northbrook Park Ridge Skokie Wheeling Wilmette Winnetka  Ill Adapted from the ICC-ES Concrete and Clay Tile Roof Installation Manual for Moderate Climates
The "kick out" for the roof wall junction on a tile roof (darker blue section at left) is often formed into the downslope end of the sheetmetal pan or channel flashing underneath the tile at the wall junction (lighter blue).

The counter flashing above the pan (not fully shown in this diagram) normally extends down over the kick portion of the pan or channel flashing  and is overlapped by the water resistant barrier and the wall cladding above it.

This diagram is an example only, the exact detailing required will depend on the tile style the manufacturer's recommend installation procedure, the other roof and wall flashing details, local practice and local codes. top


Kick out flashings for stucco Typical details for a kick out flashing at a stucco wall to roof junction.
A common installation error is to place the WRB behind these flashings, in this case water that penetrates the stucco will be directed behind the flashings. This can result in extensive damage to the underlying sheathing and wall structural members before damage becomes apparent at interior or exterior surfaces.

This diagram is an example only, the exact detailing required will depend on the type of stucco system, the manufacture's installation instructions, the other roof and wall flashing details and local practice and local codes.









 
Incorrect kickout flashing at junction of stucco wall and roof Property Services Inc. / Home Inspections - Chicago Evanston Morton Grove Skokie Wilmette Ill Photo courtesy Jim Ellis  Ellis Home Inspections, Pensacola, FL.
Because they are often field-fabricated, kick out flashings at the junctions between stucco walls and roof surfaces are particularly prone to incorrect design or installation. In this case the kick out has a 90 degree bend and is installed parallel to the eave. As evidenced by the derbies collecting at the bend the result is a water back-up at this location when water hits the kick out.
In addition, the crimp toward the roof at the end of the kick outs arm captures additional debris and channels water done the inside face of the kick out at this point.








Incorrect kickout flashing at junction of stucco wall and roof Property Services Inc. / Home Inspections - Chicago Evanston Morton Grove Skokie Wilmette Ill Such improvised kick out flashings are quire common, the two above were found at inspections a few days apart. Photo courtesy Jim Ellis  Ellis Home Inspections, Pensacola, FL.
When kick out (or any other type of flashing) depends on a tight mechanical junction or sealant rather than correct sequencing and overlap of materials to produce a watertight joint it's unlikely to archive it, but likely that any leaks at the junction will get worse as the sealant ages. In addition this design introduces a hole to the roof, which in this case does not appear to closed with sealant. top


Kick out flashings for fiber cement siding While fiber cement siding products are generally more water resistant than their wood and "hardboard" counterparts they are still subject to water damage and it's important that they be installed in accordance with the manufacture's instructions. For example the instructions below for James Hardi's "Hardiplank" siding material (above) specifically address the requirement for kick out flashings when their fiber cement siding meets a roof at a roof wall interface such as a dormer or bay.

Damage to fiber cement siding at roof junction due to insufficient holdback, failure to prime cut end, lack of kickout flashing and other flashing defects. Paragon Home Inspection Chicago Evanston Morton Grove Skokie Glenview Ill Illustration courtesy of David Banks, On The Level Home Inspections, Natick MA .

As illustrated at left fiber cement siding at a roof/wall intersection is especially prone to water damage if it has been incorrectly installed, damaged during installation, is improperly sealed, or is subject to frequent freeze-thaw cycles.

in this example the siding installation is incorrect in several respects: in addition to the missing kick out flashing there is insufficient separation ("holdback") between the siding and the roof surface and a downspout depositing substantial additional water on the roof adjacent to the roof-wall junction. Additional contributing factors may have included incorrect or insufficient flashings at the corner and failure to properly seal the field-cut edge.

Such installation details are critical to long term performance, and even a material as water resistant as fiber cement siding is prone to water damage under such conditions. top

Preformed ("factory made") kick out flashings In many applications it is possible to use preformed kick out flashings, which avoid the need to shop or field fabricate watertight seams:

Metal kickout flashings - Metal kick out flashings available from eBuildingProducts.com and LCS Inc.
DryFlekt plastic kickout flashing Plastic kick out available from DryFlekt Inc.

Preformed kick out flashings can be designed to direct water onto a flat surface (left) or with a "scoop" profile to direct water into a gutter (right). top

Shop made kick out flashings

Construction sequence for shop made kickout flashing - Paragon Home Inspection Chicago Glenview Evanston Morton Grove Skokie Wilmette Ill This diagram illustrates the final step in forming a kick out flashing for an EIFS system wall to roof junction.

For a complete description of its construction sequence see Sto Inc. kick out flashing fabrication instructions (Detail No.: 2.62b).
Kick out flashing can also be shop or field fabricated, usually from sheet metal.

Where possible it is usually considered desirable to create the bend by folding a continuous piece of metal rather than by attempting to create a watertight junction between two pieces of metal with sealant.

The ideal angel of the arm is determined by the pitch of the roof.

This diagram is an example only, the exact detailing required will depend on the type of wall cladding, the manufacture's installation instructions, the other roof and wall flashing details and local practice and local codes. top
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This page was written for Paragon Property Service Inc., Evanston IL by Michael Thomas. I am always interested in reader's comments about all aspects of real estate inspection. If you have questions or comments about this article please feel free to contact me by e-mail or at 847-475-5668. Rev 1.02 April 8, 2008 08:53



 
     
 
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