Several factors can lead to water intrusion, but a missing kick out flashing, often results in concentrated areas of water accumulation and can lead to severe damage to exterior walls. Home Inspectors should make sure that kick outs are present where they are needed and that they are installed correctly. Water damage in the cladding or siding can occasionally be observed on the exterior wall in the form of vertical stains, Home Inspectors should not completely rely on visual identification.
The following problems may be observed associated with kick out flashing:
Kick out Not Installed
The need for kick out flashing has developed fairly recently. The increased amount of insulation and building wrap used in modern construction makes buildings less breathable and more prone to sustain water damage. As a Home Inspector we see Kick Out Flashing not installed quite frequently. We hope that by the time we get to inspect the property there has not been excessive damage done to the siding, roofing or the structure of the home.
The following are locations where kick out flashing is needed:
Anywhere a roof and exterior wall intersect, where the wall continues past the lower roof-edge and gutter
Where gutters terminate at the side of the chimney
Kick out not properly installed:
The bottom seam of the flashing must be watertight
The angle of the diverter should never be less than 110 degrees
Another sign that Kick out flashing is not installed or installed improperly is that many home owners will opt for the DIY type of installation. This is when they simply install a flat piece of flashing at the eaves or the bottom area of the rooftop. As a Home Inspector we see this quite often. Homeowners install this and use a silicone based sealant around the area. Silicone is a “band-aid”. Also, they do not protect the entire area where the siding meets the roofing material. Thus making the rest of the area very susceptible for water or moisture damage.
Kick out has been modified by the Homeowner:
Many homeowners do not understand the importance of kick outs. For this reason, many choose to alter them due to cosmetic concerns. A common modification is to shorten their height to less than the standard six inches, which will greatly reduce their effectiveness.
Home owners may also make kick out flashings less conspicuous by cutting them flush with the wall