Troubleshooting And Removing Faulty Plumbing Vent Flashing

Construction & Contractors Blog

Roof leaks have been the cause of untold amounts of stress and expense. Yet many people still fail to understand some of the basic ways that roof leaks develop. If you would like to protect your home by reducing the risk of costly roof leaks, read on. This article will outline how to address one of the most common causes of a leaky roof--bad flashing around plumbing vents.

The Problem

Plumbing vents are a common roofing feature on all homes. Used to prevent vacuums from forming in your plumbing lines, they consist of pipes that project upward above the plane of the roof. Because they interrupt your roofing shingles, flashing must be used to help seal off their edges and prevent unwanted leaks.

There are two types of flashing used today: rubber and aluminum. Rubber flashing is installed almost exclusively around plumbing vents composed of plastic, where as aluminum vents are used around metal plumbing vents. Each of these two types of flashing has its own unique problems. Exposed to the near continuous stresses of life on your roof, aluminum tends to crack and corrode. Rubber, on the other hand, generally becomes brittle with time, until eventually it starts to crumble away.

Removing Bad Flashing

To remove faulty flashing, you must begin by taking up the shingles in its vicinity. Use a flat pry bar to gently loosen and remove the roofing nails. If you are careful, you can accomplish this task without hurting the shingles. In other words, rather than purchasing new shingles, you will be able to reinstall the same shingles at the end of the installation process. Just be sure to not reuse the shingle's old nail holes, as these will no longer provide a snug enough fit.

Always start the shingle removal process from above the flashing. This facilitates the process, at each shingle you remove will expose the roofing nails of the next one down. Don't forget that, in addition to its roofing nails, each shingle is held in place by a strip of adhesive along its top edge. Slip a putty knife below the shingle to gently break the seal formed by this adhesive.

Once you've exposed the flashing itself, you should find that it is also held in place by means of commercial roofing nails. Pry loose and remove these nails, then lift the flashing free. If it doesn't want to come loose, use your putty knife to trace your way around its perimeter. The caulk used to help ensure a water-tight seal may still be securing the flashing to the roof.

Congratulations, you have now removed your defective flashing. All you have to do is install its replacement, and put back on the shingles, and you should be leak-free for years to come!

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27 May 2016

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