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Investigating And Fixing Leaking Roof Boots

Construction & Contractors Articles

If you have an asphalt roof that is starting to leak and your shingles look as though they are in good condition, then it may be quite difficult to figure out exactly where your roof is leaking. If you have rubber boots that sit around the pipe vents, air vents, and the wires that attach to the various electric and internet services in your home, then these boots may be where the leaks are occurring. You will need to inspect the boots for leaks and also repair them.

Rubber Boots And Roof Leaks

Rubber boots are installed around roofing protrusions to seal them off and to create a watertight seal. The boots have a solid square or rectangular base with a cone on top, and the cone fits around the circumference of the protrusion. The boot may or may not be surrounded by flashing, and most boots are made from EPDM, which is a synthetic type of rubber. EPDM is extremely resistant to heat and weather and this is why the material is used to make roofing materials instead of natural rubber. 

However, the material will dry out and deteriorate when exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the sun for an extended period of time. This will cause cracks to form in the boot. Also, bonding adhesives used to secure the boots may break down over time and leave small holes or openings around the edges of the roofing protrusions. 

Inspecting Boots For Leak Issues

If you have rubber boots on your roof, then you will need to inspect them for damage. Use a flashlight to look for obvious cracks around the boots. If you do not see any cracks, then the damage may be hidden. Gently squeeze the boots and look closely for gaps that open in the sides of the rubber. Look for areas where the boot is pulling away from the roof or from the protrusion. 

Issues with shrinking boots may cause some leaking problems as well. When synthetic and natural rubber materials are heated by the sun, they start to shrink. As the rubber cools, it expands. Over time, rubber will lose its flexibility and will no longer expand or contract like it once did. The boot will pull away from the roof, vent, pipe, or wiring when this happens and a leak can then form. Look for any areas of the boot that appear wrinkled, bent, or warped. This is a sign that the boot is no longer flexible.

Making Boot Repairs

If you notice signs of damage and see that the roofing boots are the likely cause of your leaks, then you should make repairs. If the boot has pulled away from the protrusion or the roof itself, then you can add EPDM adhesive to stick the boot back in place. Adhesives come in both solvent and water-based varieties. Water-based adhesives are easier to use and clean up better than solvent ones. However, solvent adhesives will dry much more quickly and should be used in cold weather or wet conditions when you require a timely leak repair.

If you notice cracks around the boot, then you can purchase and use an EPDM leak or patch repair material. Patch materials are typically polymer based compounds that can fill in cracks like a putty. Make sure to purchase the material in a caulk tube for easy application. Also, a putty knife will work well to spread the compound into the cracks. 

If your boots are warped or wrinkled, then they will need to be replaced. The rubber will not stick down firmly to the roof's surface and more cracks are likely to develop. Remove the old boot and adhere a new one. Purchase the same size EPDM boot that you are removing and look for a variety that is white. White boots are commonly sold and they will reflect light instead of absorbing it. This will help to cut down on future deterioration issues and the need for replacements. For more information, check out a site like http://lifetime-exteriors.net/.


1 November 2016