Why does a roof vent pipe leak?
Unfortunately, the flashing around the pipes in your roof tends to be one of the first things to leak on a roof. The flashing is the specifically designed roofing material that covers the transition between your roof and the pipe.
Any penetration in your roof has a greater opportunity for a leak, whether a pipe or a box vent. But each one has a specific way they are required to be installed. All it takes for these to leak could be one nail in the wrong place.
Four Reasons Vent Pipes Leak
- Quality of Material
- There are a handful of products designed to flash a pipe. These products can vary dramatically in price. The more expensive, the longer they last and greater the durability. The $5 type that you would get from your usual hardware store is going to be cheaply made and break down within 5-7 years. To choose the right material for your pipe, check out this page.
- Installation of the pipe
- Even when you have a top quality pipe collar flashing, if it’s installed wrong, it will still leak. There are specific ways to nail the flashing in place, along with specific ways to layer the flashing between the underlayment and the shingles. Here is a page where we cover the right way to install a pipe collar flashing.
- Location of the pipe
- Oddly enough, there are times when a builder or plumber might not be on the same page. This results in a pipe that goes through the roof surface at the worst possible place. For example, in the middle of a roof valley. Even though this ultimately goes back to how you install the pipe, the location can make things significantly worse.
- Inside the attic
- Below the surface of the roof, the pipe could travel all over your attic space with multiple turns in the PVC pipe. If any of these connecting joints in the pipe are not sealed currently and come loose, this could also create a leak. When this is the case, it’s best to get a plummer involved.
Leaking on a fairly new roof is unfortunately all too common. Builder grade material, as we like to call it, will tend to be the cheap $5 pipe flashing. These tend to break around year 7, which is highly unfortunate when you have a roof that is meant to last 25 to 50 years.
Maintenance is a regular part of every roof, just as it is with your car. We recommend an inspection for maintenance around the 7th, 15th and 25th year at minimum. That way, roof accessories like the pipes will be maintained before they get too problematic.
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