One of the most common sources of roof leaks is probably something you never think about: pipe collars.
Take a look at your roof and you’ll notice a few small pipes sticking up in seemingly random areas. These pipes are what make it possible for your sinks, tubs and toilets to drain or flush. All of those fixtures require a single or shared pipe to exit the roof, which allows the intake of air that enables them to drain or flush. Think about a gas can and how it’s only possible to have an unrestricted flow if a secondary air valve is open. These vents, which are actually truly air intake pipes, are generally made of PVC and can range in size from 1 ¼” to 4.”
Each of these pipes passes through a pipe collar (sometimes also called pipe flashing, roof jacks or pipe boots) at the point where it exits your roof. This flashing should integrate under and over your roofing materials, creating a watertight seal. In addition to being able to withstand moisture, they must also be able to withstand heat, sun, wind, snow and ice.
By far, though, the biggest demands on pipe collars are the sun and changing temperatures. Seasonal and even daily temperature changes can cause the PVC pipe itself to move dramatically up and down as the plastic expands and contracts. Depending on the material of the pipe collar, this can cause cracking and gaps that allow water in.
Pipe Collars that need to be replaced!
Newly installed Pipe Collars
Most pipe collars can only be expected to last 7-12 years at most before running into some type of failure. Older styles use a rubber gasket that will often dry rot, crack and deteriorate. But even metal pipe collars can fail over time, especially if exposed to extreme weather. And considering that this is probably something very low on your home maintenance list, it’s likely that any problem your pipe collars run into will only come to your attention when a leak appears, at which point damage has been done to more than just the collar. The good news is that there is a way to avoid this.
Using a higher quality pipe collar material can eliminate the need for maintenance and threat of leakage. At Andrews Roofing we use a pipe collar product called The Ultimate Pipe Flashing ® for shingle roof installations and reroofing projects. This product is made by Lifetime Tool & Building Products in the USA from ultra-pure silicon and marine grade stainless steel, which means it’s virtually weather proof. This product is flexible to accommodate just about any roof slope. It’s also guaranteed for the life of your roof when properly installed by a licensed roofing contractor.
While this may seem like a small detail in the grand scheme of your home’s roof, it’s actually a really critical component in keeping your roof and interior fixtures functional and protected. Investing a little bit more in higher quality materials can save you thousands of dollars in the long run when a leak occurs from premature product deterioration.
If you think your vent pipe collars may need replacing or have noticed the signs of roof leakage, contact Andrews Roofing today. We have been helping homeowners in the Hampton Roads region protect and repair their homes for over 25 years. We have the experience and knowledge to help you choose the right products for your home and your budget, and we work with the best manufacturers in the industry to provide you with materials that will last.