Are your roof boots made for walking?

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Failed roof boots
Old boot with plastic starting to break down around pipe

These boots were NOT made for walking. Rubber rain boots protect the wearer from getting wet. But on a roof, rubber pipe ‘boots’ surround and protect areas where plumbing vents penetrate a roof.

Boots seal the pipe(s) extending through the roof and prevent precipitation from seeping in around the edges. Even properly installed, the life expectancy for roof boots is not equivalent to the life expectancy of shingles. For this reason, boots are the culprit for many roof leaks.

Why do roof boots leak?

Caulked boot with a hole in the rubber

How do roof boots fail? The rubber or plastic cracks under prolonged exposure to the elements. While the newer asphalt shingles last upwards of 40 years, most boots last closer to 8-12 years. However, a regular roof tune-up can identify bad or poorly installed boots and replace them prior to any leaks. If you notice a leak that seems to originate near a vent, a cracked or worn boot is likely the culprit.

Ensure you are hiring a roofing professional to repair or replace your boots. An inexperienced handyman could potentially cause more damage. Exposed, rusted nails and sloppy caulking applied signifies poor or inexperienced workmanship. If a boot is failing, it needs a replacement.


Properly installed boots should be nailed on the sides and above the pipe, under the protective shingle layer. If you suspect bad boots, call us today at (919) 906-3791 or click here to schedule a roof tune-up or free inspection!

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