I’m not sure what material my roof flashing is except that it is a metal. It started out a whitish or silver color and over the last 10 years has slowly rusted until I’ve finally noticed it. Shame on me.

I don’t believe it is rusted through but it is rusted bad. I got up there and began sanding with wire brush and various grades of sand paper and under the rust is black. I don’t know if that’s black rust or if the rust/I made it through some coating. I’m trying to figure out if there is an alternative to replacing it.

I’ve sprayed a small portion with rustoleum. The kind that coverts rust. Is this a legitimate way to preserve what’s left of my flashing? What should I be mindful of if I use this technique. I sanded it down the best I could. Even got a dremel tool. Rinsed it with soap and water. Hoping I washed it well enough, And depended on the rustoleum to do the rest.

Is this viable? Is there a way to tell if I prepped well enough and the paint is working? Or is there no way to tell until the flashing rust through and destroys?

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The black at the top is the section I did after sanding.

  • Agree, please provide pictures. As for removing rust - don't use soap and water. Use a product like CLR specifically designed for rust removal. If you're using water on something that can rust you're only adding fuel to the fire, so to speak. Jun 5, 2018 at 17:46
  • Navel Jelly converts rust and stops corrosion. Then you need to paint it or seal it.
    – ArchonOSX
    Jun 5, 2018 at 18:19
  • Naval jelly dissolves rust and leaves raw metal, no? That's been my experience.
    – isherwood
    Jun 5, 2018 at 21:55
  • @the evil greeboI I used soap to clean the surface after removing rust. Cleaning away loose debris and dirt was necessary I thought Jun 6, 2018 at 19:24
  • I wonder y I never heard of navel jelly when researching this problem. I’ll try it on the other flashing and see what it does Jun 6, 2018 at 19:35

1 Answer 1


Your flashing is probably galvanized steel. They last a fairly long while, but they do rust eventually. They're usually replaced when the roofing is replaced. It's not necessarily a leak concern unless they're so severely rusted as to be collapsing. I don't recommend attempting to refinish steel flashing. The benefit just isn't there and you'd almost need to remove it to do a thorough job anyway. If it's just an appearance issue you can purchase galvanized paint (or just use gray).

It's not difficult to replace a flashing, but you have to have a basic understanding of roofing techniques. You lift each row of shingles gently, releasing the tar strips, and pull the nails below. When you have enough shingles removed you can lift the flashing off and install a new one. Shingles are reinstalled or replaced. It's best done on a slightly warm day when the roof is in the shade.

  • I guess the roof is pushing 12 years old give or take. The men in my family replaced it after a particularly bad hurricane. I figure I could do it. The removal of shingles and replacing them would not be hard for me. I’m more concerned about caulking and such. I’ve replaced single shingles here and there. Lol my house is near New Orleans and receives no shade. I’m just going to have to suffer Jun 6, 2018 at 19:29
  • I agree with isherwood most times it is better to replace the flashing. One exception is where the flashing is embedded in brickwork in this case I will wired brush until clean and use cold process galvanized spray paint.
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 8, 2018 at 9:16
  • Posted pictures Jun 8, 2018 at 14:13
  • Saw them yesterday. Were you expecting something else in my answer?
    – isherwood
    Jun 8, 2018 at 14:30

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