If you look at your home’s roof, you’re likely to see several vent pipes protruding from the flat surfaces. These vent pipes allow gases to safely exit your home. The gases originate in bathrooms and kitchens, travel up through the venting pipe, and exit the home where the pipe empties above the roof.
A properly ventilated roof creates a balance between air intake and air exhaust. Without proper attic ventilation, numerous problems with temperature and moisture can arise and the lifetime of your roof may be significantly shortened – one of them being ice dams (when ice builds up in your eaves and gutters, which can buckle or fall off under the weight, causing serious and expensive damage to your home).
Hence, maintaining a healthy vent pipe system is critical to your roof’s health – this may include ridge vents, soffit vents, gable vents and powered attic fans.
Yet, aside from skylights and chimneys, roof vents are one of the most common causes of roof leaks. It is then critical that when trying to pinpoint the source of a roof leak, you examine your vent pipes besides other penetrations in the roof.
Common Roof Leak Repairs: Vent Pipe Damage
Common Roof Leaks: Damaged vent pipe collars
Typically, vent pipe leaks occur at the collar surrounding the base of the vent pipe where it breaks through the surface of the roofing material. These collars consist of a metal base, generally made out of aluminum, and a rubber boot integrated into the top of the collar.
The collar’s job is to create a tight seal, keeping rainwater and debris from getting into your attic. Over time, through exposure to the sun and harsh weather, the rubber boot may wear out and deteriorate or split. Rusty and cracked vent pipe collars will allow the water to first pool around, then seep through the interior walls of your home causing great damage.
Deterioration of the underlying metal flashing and roof cement around vent pipes is also a common occurrence.
Bottom line: If the collar is cracked or damaged, it will need to be replaced.
Common Roof Leaks: Damaged pipes
Not all collar leaks are due to bad rubber boots, of course. Water can also enter your home if the roof vent itself has been disrupted. During a rainstorm, some rain will fall directly into the open end of the vent pipe. This rainwater makes its way down the vent and ultimately to your home’s sewer line. If there are leaks in the elbows or joints on this line, water can seep out and cause interior damage.
Bottom line: Water can also get in if the roof vent itself has been damaged.
Need Help With Roof Leak Repairs?
For problems like these, you’ll need the help of an roofing contractor experienced in roof leak repairs. Here’s what you can expect in terms of repairs:
- A thorough inspection of your vent pipes (and often an entire roof) to evaluate the extend of the damage.
- Removal of shingles above and around the pipe followed by the removal of the old flashing base.