Roof Vent Pipe and Boot 101: Everything You Need to Know

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Summer is well behind us. It’s now the perfect time to check the state of your roof and see if it’s time to do some home repairs. But, climbing on your roof can be dangerous, especially while it’s still hurricane season. Being prepared and knowing what to look for is critical for a safe, effective roof inspection. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about roof vent pipe covers, collars, and caps, to help you learn how to install and clean your roof vent pipes.

Should a roof vent pipe be covered?

Most roof vent pipes are a part of a plumbing system and are connected to water systems that are wet all the time. In this regard, it’s not necessary to install a roof vent cap to prevent rain from getting in the vent pipe. 

The main reason you should consider putting a cap on your vent pipe is to protect it from the debris that can get in during the storm and prevent animals from climbing in. On the other hand, you should always protect your roof vent pipe with a vent pipe cover.

What’s a vent boot?

A vent pipe cover, also known as a boot, is the rubber cover around your vent pipe. It helps seal the area around the pipe and protects it from water and dirt. Roof vent boots, made of rubber, naturally expansion and contract as temperatures rise and fall. This can cause it to crack or come apart from the roof, allowing water and debris to enter your home.

Vent pipe covers can also wear out from extreme weather conditions, which are fairly common in Florida.

Here’s how to tell if your roof vent boot is damaged:

  • Watermarks on your ceiling or walls
  • Peeling or cracked paint or wallpaper in your bathroom or kitchen
  • Damaged shingles around the roof’s vent pipes

How to Unclog a Roof Vent Pipe 

When the vent pipe is clogged, the issues can manifest in various ways. Foul odors emitting from drains, and sinks and toilets that won’t drain are signs of vent pipe issues. Many things can clog a vent pipe: 

  • Leaves, branches, or other debris
  • Bird nests
  • Bird or rodent remains
  • Baseballs or tennis balls

If your vent pipe is clogged, there are two ways to clear a roof vent pipe — unclog it yourself or hire a professional plumber. 

DIY Vent Pipe Unclogging

If you decide to unclog it yourself, start by cleaning any debris around the vent pipe. Remove any blockage you come across and use a plumber’s snake if you find any debris that you can’t reach. Feed a hose down the vent and carefully turn on the water to push the remains down the drain.  

If you’ve never done this before or are unsure where the problem lies, it’s always best to leave it to a professional contractor. You can find verified and trusted plumbers on popular sites such as Angie’s List or similar internet services companies. A professional can save you from potential injury and ensure a clean job. 

How to Install Pipe Flashing On Existing Roof

Installing pipe flashing on your roof will help you reduce the potential for water damage and save you a lot of money in the long run. This is a fairly straightforward project. Doing it correctly will ensure a leak-proof structure. 

The most important thing you need to know is that the adjacent shingles and flashing must properly fit around the pipe. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to install pipe flashing on an existing roof:

1. Bend back the shingles above and on the pipe’s sides, without bending the shingles beneath the pipe.

2. Lay the pipe flashing above the vent shingle that’s below the vent pipe, right under the top and side shingles you just pried back. Make sure it fits tightly around the roof vent pipe.

3. Hammer the nails into the top and sides of the flashing, but be careful not to go through the shingles. Also, hammer the bottom edge of the flashing and make sure it lays on top of the shingles that are just below your roof vent pipe.

4. Seal the edges of the flashing and all of the nail heads with roofing cement.

Installing Vent Pipe Flashing on a Flat Roof: A Caveat

Flat roofs come with a unique set of advantages and drawbacks. The vent pipe flashing installation process will depend on the type of flat roof on your house or commercial building. But installing a vent pipe flashing on an existing flat roof is significantly more complicated than installing it on a traditional pitched roof. It requires excellent precision and high-quality workmanship. 

If you decide to do it by yourself and install it incorrectly, it will only cost you more money to remove and correctly reinstall the flashing. In many cases, it’s best to leave the installation process to licensed and experienced contractors. 

If you’ve found a roof-related leak in your household and you suspect that your vent pipe is to blame, act quickly to protect the roofing structure. As one of the most reliable best roofing companies in Florida, we’ll make sure that your roofing structure is sturdy and leak-proof. Call us today at 813-373-9088. Or fill out our quick online form and get a free roof estimate.

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