Vent boots play an important role in keep water from leaking into your home through gaps in your roof. However, many homeowners don't know what a vent boot is and why it is so important. Learning information about this will help you to better understand its role in your roofing system and identify signs that the vent boot may be in need of replacement before water begins to seep through your roof. Here is some information every homeowner should know about vent boots and their roofs.

What a Vent Boot Is

A vent boot is a plastic or metal cover that is fitted over any vents that extend through your roof. When a vent extends through the roof, a hole has to be cut into the roof's sheeting to allow the item to extend outward as it should. When roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles or ceramic tiles, are installed over the sheeting, there can be a small gap between the roofing materials and the vent. This gap can allow water to seep past the roofing materials into the hole in the sheeting and into your home. A vent boot is a tent-like item that slides over your vent, helping to completely cover the gap between the hole in the sheeting and the vent. This helps ensure water does not seep into your home.

The Signs a Vent Boot is in Need of Repair

A vent boot is covered with shingles, tiles or whatever other roofing material you have on your roof. As such, you can't visibly inspect the boot. However, as it is exposed to hot and cold temperatures, it expands and contracts. This can cause the plastic or metal to crack or break. Unfortunately, when this occurs, water can enter your home through the roof. Knowing what signs to look for can help you determine when your vent boot is in need of repair.

One of the tell-tale signs that a vent boot may be failing is shingles that are placed over the vent boot begin to bubble, pucker, shift or rip. As the vent boot begins to crack, it may expand or move. In turn, this causes the shingles to move. All of the above are signs that shingles are shifting. Cracked tiles over a vent boot may also indicate that a vent boot is shifting or cracking.

Another sign of a damaged vent boot is moisture on the underside of the sheathing around the vent. Go into your attic and look up at the ceiling. If it is wood, you are looking directly at the underside of your roofs' sheathing. Locate the metal or plastic tube that seems to extend from the side of the wall up through the roof. This is your vent or stack. You may have one or you may have multiple ones. As you are standing in the attic, look at the wood that encircles the vent. If the wood looks water-damaged, there is a good chance you have a damaged vent boot.

What Replacing a Vent Boot Entails

If your vent boot is failing, it will need to be replaced. It is not advised that the average homeowner complete this task on their own. It involves removing and replacing exterior roofing materials. If this is done incorrectly, you could void any roof warranty you have or end up with a roof leak. As such, if you suspect your vent boot needs to be replaced, you will want to call professional roofing contractors.

After verifying that your vent boot is the problem, a professional roofing contractor will remove all of the exterior roofing materials covering the boot. This includes shingles or tiles. If the items are in good condition, they may reuse them. If they have been damaged by the shifting boot, they will need to be replaced. Once all of the roofing material is removed, the boot can be lifted off of the vent. A new vent pipe boot is placed over the pipe and adhered into place, typically with the use of nails. Your exterior roofing material is then laid over the new vent boot.

Your vent boot helps to cover the small gap between your vent boot and any vents or stacks that extend from your roof. Without this item, water may seep into your home. Once you know more about this item, you can learn what signs indicate the boot is in need of replacement and what to expect during the replacement process.