Plumbing Boots Not Made for Walking

Those boots are made for walking, sang Nancy Sinatra in December 1965. Although to tell the truth the boots were actually made to keep the moisture out. Plumbing boots do a similar job up on the roof. And if they stay there where they belong, they help keep moisture out the home for a while too.

Why Plumbing Boots are Necessary Around Vent Pipes

Think about the water flowing through the system in the above diagram in your mind. It’s not difficult to imagine it flowing slower as a partial vacuum lock develops under the sink.

The stack pipe poking through your roof relieves the pressure so you don’t hear those gurgling sounds in your sink. And these should not happen either below the floor in the part you cannot see.

You’ll have to imagine the roof surface above too, where the stack pipe passes through the shingles, or other covering. Sealing that vent pipe with a plumbing boot is essential, to prevent capillary action drawing outside moisture down into attic space.

How Plumbing Boots Work to Stop This Happening

Deteriorating flashing around potential leak points on a roof calls for regular inspection, as sunlight and weather take their toll. Regular look-overs by experts have advantages over waiting for leaks to show.

vent pipe plumbing boot waterproof calgary
Sealing Around Roof Penetrations (Image National Association of Home Builders)

There are a wide variety of plumbing boots on the market, from rubber ones on old-fashioned water closets, to the specialist types for stack pipes we discuss here. All have a flexible sleeve that fits tightly around the pipe, and a footing that interfaces with the roof surface.

Most residential roof types require plumbing boots, because vent pipes are common unless drainage points are against outside walls. Plastic and rubber ones tend to crack over time where they fit tightly around pipes. These cracks develop into splits, and then tiny water channels if nothing is done about them.

Is It Time to Consider a Roof Inspection of Your House?

Chimneys, skylights, attic windows and stack pipes need not be a problem, with regular maintenance at points where they penetrate shingles and other roof coverings. However, the fingers of the wind and the rays of the sun eventually cause the best sealant to dry out, crack, and eventually fail.

If you have not seen anyone on your roof for over three years, then perhaps it’s time you did something about it. Valiant Exteriors are local Calgary roofing specialists. If you smell damp in your attic, then perhaps it is time to give them a call on (403)829-1661.


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Vent System for Under-Cabinet Waste Plumbing: Image GS3 BY Public Domain