How to Spot and Prevent Roof Vent Pipe Leaks

Some of the most vulnerable parts of any roof are where pipes and vents stick through the roof deck. Known as penetrations, these are prime spots for leaks to develop. Accordingly, reducing the risk of leaks at plumbing vent pipes on the roof is critical. This work requires the proper materials and installation by a professional roofing contractor.

Image Credit: GAF

Here's a look at what can cause these kinds of roof vent pipe leaks, how to determine if you have any, and the key role quality products and installation play in helping to keep your home leak free.

What Causes a Plumbing Vent Pipe Leak in Your Roof?

Roof vent pipe leaks are usually caused by damage to the plumbing vent pipe collar or flashing that surrounds the pipe to protect the junction of the roof and the penetration. These collars or flashings can become damaged or degraded when exposed to the elements or when struck by debris.

Plumbing vent pipes on the roof are particularly vulnerable to leaks when the flashings aren't installed correctly or at all. Surprisingly, some installers just cut the shingles around the vent pipe and caulk the joint. This can quickly wear away or crack with changing temperatures or sun exposure. Ensuring quality, durable flashing materials are present and installed correctly will better protect your home from water intrusion.

How to Determine If Your Roof's Plumbing Vent Pipe Is Leaking

Several signs may indicate you may have a leak. If you see any indication of a water leak in your home, call a professional roofer to inspect your roof. Water travels and it can be difficult to determine exactly where the leak is coming from. Professionals have years of experience in diagnosing leaks and some use innovative technology like infrared imaging to see hidden water damage.

Signs of roof vent pipe leaks may include:

Ceiling Stains

Look for dark spots on your ceiling, as these often appear under a leak. If your attic space is finished, stains will be easy to spot against a white ceiling. If you have an unfinished attic, you may not notice them until you're performing other work in that space. So, it's a smart idea to inspect your roof and attic for stains at least twice yearly.

Image Credit: GAF

Mold in the Attic

In addition to looking for stains, regularly inspect your attic for mold growth. Mold is a sign of moisture, which is unhealthy to have in your home. You'll need special treatment to get rid of it once the leak is repaired.

Rust on Metal in Your Home

If you notice rust on metal parts inside your home, this is another sign of moisture intrusion and could indicate a leak.

Missing or Broken Shingles or Seals around Vent Pipes

When your roof is inspected, there might be missing or broken shingles around the plumbing vent pipes or damage/degradation to the actual flashing/seals around the vent pipe.

Damp Spots on Your Roof

Feel around the attic ceiling or roof deck to check for soft or damp spots. Both are indications there might be a leak.

The Importance of Proper Installation and Quality Products

Using the proper products and installing them correctly is essential. First, verify your installers have the correct flashing or vent pipe collar for your roofing system and slope. Ensure they're using ones designed to be used with the shingle type and material you've chosen and select a reputable roofer to install it.

Trust the Professionals

Reach out to National Contractors to schedule an inspection to check the health of your roof. Whether you are in the market for inspections and maintenance, skylights, siding, gutters, windows and doors, or a new roof, speaking with a trusted, award-winning industry leader like National Contractors, Inc. is an excellent way to make sure you’re protecting your investment.

National Contractors is GAF Master Elite certified with extensive training and licensing to get your roof repair(s) or replacement done correctly. We offer unsurpassed general construction services to community associations, condominiums, management companies, engineering firms, residential and commercial property managers. We are a 23-year multi-chapter member of Community Associations Institute with staff that has earned the Educated Business Partner distinction. Hiring a CAI member ensures you are collaborating with a professional that understands the specific nature and unique challenges of community associations.

Images and article courtesy of GAF/Dawn Killouh

Prevent Pipe Leaks