At first glance, a residential roof doesn’t seem all that complicated. A few shingles, a few gutters, and you’re done. But actually, a roof is a complex system made up of all kinds of individual components that come together to keep your house working well, and clean and dry. A roof boot is one of those roofing elements we don’t always think about, but that is actually pretty important to the overall health of your home.
What is a Roof Boot?
A roof boot is a pipe vent that pokes out through the top of your roof. If you step outside of your home and check out your roof, you’ll see a tube sticking out, usually from where your bathroom or kitchen is. That’s your pipe vent, covered and protected by your roof boot. The pipe vent itself is used to balance your plumbing system and prevent leakage. Your roof boot protects the pipe vent from weather, precipitation, and debris.
How Does Your Roof Boot Affect Your Roof?
In a perfect world, it won’t. A properly cared for roof boot doesn’t do more than it’s own job of keeping your pipe vent safe. Unfortunately, a perfect world isn’t always the case. When improperly cared for, your roof boot can be a weak spot for leaks in your roof.
Similar to your chimney, a roof boot is installed with flashing or a rubber collar around it to seal the gap between the boot and your roof. Over time, and especially in climates that experience extreme temperature fluctuations like cold winters and hot summers, the rubber in the flashing or boot collar can harden and pull away from the boot and the edge of the roof.
When the flashing or boot collar doesn’t have a perfect seal, it can allow rain, snow, and debris to fall through those gaps, causing water damage within your roof and attic. These leaks are particularly dangerous because they can take time to detect. Since the leaks are often small, you might not notice the water slowly seeping into your attic, causing mold and rot to expand to a significant point before you even realize there’s a problem.
How Can I Stop These Leaks From Happening?
Luckily, roof boot leaks can be prevented. Here are a few ways to make sure your roof boot is always in top condition:
- Inspect your attic regularly. Take a flashlight up to the attic, and take a good hard look at the ceiling, especially under where your roof boot is. If you see any dark spots, feel soft spots in the wood or drywall, or notice any holes, it’s a good idea to call your roofer.
- Check your roof boot regularly. You should be cleaning out your home’s gutters at least once a year. While you’re up on the ladder, take a pair of binoculars with you, and make sure that roof boot flashing still looks good. If it seems dry or cracked, it’s probably time to make some repairs.
- Put your roof on a regular inspection schedule. It’s a good idea to have a roofer come out once a year, typically in either the spring or fall. They can give your roof a quick inspection, make sure no shingles have curled, cracked, or fallen off, and while they’re up there, they can also inspect the flashing around your chimney and your roof boot.
Your roof boot is an integral part of your roofing system. if you haven’t had yours checked in a while, it might be good to schedule a routine inspection, just in case. Werner Roofing offers free, no-obligation estimates to help make sure your roof and roof boot are doing their jobs! Give us a call at 616-844-5382 or contact us online today.