HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC   
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Roof Boots

ROOF BOOTS

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The purpose of this article is to remind all property owners about a maintenance item that we each need to be aware of. The item is called a roof boot. These devices are the metal and neoprene part of a plumbing vent roof penetration that protects against rain water leaking through the roof at the vent. Roof boots are components that are inspected in a Home Inspection.

The neoprene part of the roof boot is what I want to talk about. The neoprene material is a flexible rubber-like product that is subject to deterioration over time. The heat and UV rays from the sun cause the neoprene to dry and eventually crack as in the picture to the right. Once the neoprene cracks, water can easily penetrate into the house by following the vent PVC pipe down. Ceiling damage is the most likely result, but mold can be the eventual outcome from the leak.

This cracking usually happens on the south side of the boot and most likely on the south side of the house. The south side of the house is where the greatest effect from the sun may take place.

Unfortunately, these neoprene components of the roof boot are only good for about 7 - 8 years. On the other hand, our asphalt shingles should last 15 – 20 years. So if your roof is 10 years old, the shingles could be fine but your boots may be cracked. One way to find out is by using binoculars to look at the boot from the ground. Since most of our roofs are high and steep I do not recommend anyone go up on a ladder to look at your roof boots. If in doubt, it may be best to assume the neoprene is cracked or about to crack. Roofers often recommend replacing the boot once during the life of an asphalt roof. When the second time comes around, it may be time to replace the entire roof.

Most residential roofs have between 2 and 6 roof penetration boots. The regular price can be as high as $100 per boot to replace if done by a roofer. Unfortunately, if one roof boot is cracked, the others may not be far behind. You may be able to save some money by having all roof boots replaced when you call someone out to fix one.


Click on the following link to see a blog post about a failed attempt to repair a neoprene composite boot for residential plumbing vents.  http://activerain.com/blogsview/3496239/nashville-home-inspections-what-s-wrong-with-this-picture-10-29-12

To comment or ask questions about this article please email to richard@habitecinspections.com.

Thank You,
 
Richard


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