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 Roof Repair
How To Repair Vent Pipes

Make sure your replacement flashing is exactly the same type and diameter as the old one. Follow the roof safety procedures detailed below.
Caution: Wear work gloves when working with metal flashing because the edges of the flashing are sharp.

On a pitched roof, the base of the flashing is covered with shingles on the side above the chimney and left exposed on the side below it.

To reflash a vent pipe on a pitched roof:

Step 1: Remove shingles on part of roof above chimney. Lift shingles with pry bar, but be careful not to damage them, as you will have to put them back to cover new flashing. If you break a shingle, you'll need a new one to replace it.

Step 2: Remove flashing by inserting blade of pry bar under its edge, and lever bar on block of scrap wood to lift flashing.

Step 3: Lift flashing up over vent pipe, being careful not to knock pipe out of place. Then pull out any nails left around pipe, and fill holes with roof cement.

Step 4: Set new flashing over pipe, with its protective collar aligned same way as old one. Nail down flashing with 6d galvanized roofing nails, and cover nail heads with roof cement. Apply more roof cement to seal base of protective collar.

Step 5: Put shingles back over top of flashing. Starting with bottom row and working up, nail each shingle into place at top. Use two 6d galvanized roofing nails for small shingles, four nails for large ones. As you work, cover nail heads with roof cement. Slide top edges of top row of shingles under overlapping bottom edges of the row above.

To reflash a vent pipe on a flat roof:

Step 1: If there's gravel on roof, sweep it away from vent pipe to clear 4-foot-square area.

Step 2: Locate edge of flashing base, and use sharp utility knife to cut slit through roofing felt along one side of it.

Step 3: Insert blade of pry bar into slit and under edge of flashing. Lever bar over block of scrap wood, working along slit in roofing, to release flashing. Cut around remaining three sides to free flashing completely. Lift old flashing out and over pipe.

Step 4: Set new flashing on top of roof to determine how to fill hole. For each layer of roofing you can see in hole, cut patch of 15-pound roofing felt with utility knife. Use base of old flashing as pattern to cut out felt. On each piece of roofing felt, mark location of vent pipe and cut hole at that point so patch will fit snugly over pipe.

Step 5: Spread thick layer of roof cement on bottom of hole, set first patch over pipe, and press it firmly into hole. Then spread more roof cement on top. Fill entire hole this way, building up layers of roofing felt and roof cement, until top patch is level with roof surface. Spread thick layer of roof cement over top patch, and fill any gaps around vent pipe with more cement.

Step 6: Set new flashing carefully into place over vent pipe, and press it down firmly so vent pipe is encased in flashing pipe and base is aligned in exactly the same way old flashing was.

Step 7: Nail down flashing with 6d galvanized roofing nails, and cover nail heads with roof cement. Using pliers, fold top edge of casing pipe down over top edge of vent pipe to seal new flashing.

Step 8: Cover base of flashing with two more layers of roofing felt -- the first layer 3 inches larger and the second 6 inches larger all around than flashing. As you did with first patches, cut hole in center of each piece so it will fit over vent pipe. Spread another thick layer of roof cement over base of flashing, extending it 3 inches onto roof all around. Set smaller piece of roofing felt over pipe, and press it into place. Cover this piece of felt with another layer of roof cement, again extending it 3 inches onto roof all around; set larger patch into place. Press this final patch down, and nail it into place with 6d galvanized roofing nails, about 1 inch apart. Cover nail heads with roof cement.

Step 9: If you removed gravel from patch area, you can spread it back over bare spot, but this isn't necessary.

When you have a leak, you often think the roof itself is the culprit, right? Well, proper drainage via roof accessories -- gutters and downspouts -- is key to preventing water from backing up and into your home. See the next page for tips on how to keep gutters clear.

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I called several roofing companies in my area about the cracked vent pipe flashing but none were available due to the once in 500 year flooding rains that fell in September. One company said they’d received 600 calls on Monday and most could only put me on a waiting list for a call back. I was quoted $125 to install lead pipe flashing for labor and materials, but no one could promise when they could get to it.

I was able to buy an Oatey Galvanized Base No-Calk Roof Flashing at Lowes for about $7 that fit a 2″ inch vent pipe. I would have preferred a lead pipe flashing because it’s the best and longest lasting flashing solution that avoids the problem of cracked rubber boots. I can always hire a roofer when they’re not so busy and have lead flashing installed.

The steps to remove the old roof vent flashing and install a new one is simple:

Pry up the roofing nails used to attach the old flashing.
Gently lift up the shingles above the flashing.
Lift the flashing off the vent pipe.
Slide the new flashing over the vent pipe.
Tuck the uphill part of the flashing under the shingles.
Fasten the new flashing with galvanized roofing nails.
Apply a dab of roofing sealant to the nail heads and bottom tabs of the shingles that were disturbed.
The entire job takes less than 15 minutes. It seems easy and it is, unless you have a high and steep roof like mine. A 40 foot ladder is necessary to reach the roof from the ground and I’m not comfortable working so close to the edge of the roof. Time to hire a professional roofer but none were available on short notice. What to do?

I got lucky and noticed a roofing crew working in the neighborhood. I asked the foreman if I his crew would install the new vent flashing. He said they were almost finished with the current job and could send someone over in 45 minutes. He asked if I had the new vent flashing, I said yes and showed him the Oatey No-Caulk flashing. He said he would install my flashing and add a rubber rain collar for extra protection for $50. The Oatey 14206 2-Inch Rain Collar is available from Amazon.

Two men from the roofing crew a short while later as promised. They setup a 16 foot ladder by the garage and bear crawled up the hip ridges with a big block of foam rubber (couch cushion) wearing regular tennis shoes with amazing agility! The roofer is getting into position to begin work:

The roofer pried up the nails and is removing the old vent pipe flashing. The block of foam rubber grips the roof so he doesn’t fall. The new flashing is tucked under the edge of shingle above him so it’s doesn’t slide away:

The new flashing is slide over the pipe, tucked under the shingles on the high side, and nailed to the roof.

MasterSeal NP 1 polyurethane sealant is applied to the nail heads and bottom tabs of the roof shingles that were raised to install the flashing. This makes everything waterproof and ensures the shingles are glued to the next row so they won’t be lifted by the a strong wind.

Rain & Repair Pipe Collars are a the rubber boot that acts like an umbrella to shed water over a cracked pipe flashing. The rain collar can be installed while it’s raining or wet for an emergency fix. No caulking necessary because it stretches over the pipe for a water tight seal.

This is the new roof vent flashing with a rain collar for extra protection from the sun’s UV light and weather

The boot on the old Oatey all-plastic vent flashing was severely cracked/split in the places. This broke the watertight seal around the 2″ PVC vent pipe and allowed rain water to leak in and run down the vent pipe onto the drywall ceiling. This vent boot failed after about 10 years on the southern exposure of the roof:

Roof Leak caused by cracked and split Vent Pipe Flashing
Elmhurst Roof Repair
Elmhurst Roof Repair