Lead Flashing Boots a Must In Seattle Area

Author: Pacific Northwest Inspections Group, LLC   Date: 30-Mar-2017.   Category: Plumbing   Add to Favorites 


Most roofs installed in Seattle, Washington over the last 10 years were installed with plastic boots and neoprene seals. Plastic boots are much cheaper and in most cases one size fits all. Plastic boots first came into popularity among roofers as an answer to some common problems with lead boots, environmental safety and costs. If you walk outside and look up at your roof (typically in the back) you will most likely notice a few 1”-3” pipes exiting your roof. If these pipes have a black flashing at the bottom, you have problem boots.

Problems with Plastic Boots:

Pipe boots being used by many roofers in the Seattle area these days have a huge problem. The neoprene seals that are meant to act as a gasket around plumbing pipes are dry rotting during the intense summer heat and falling to pieces. Wthe constant slow rain all winter you can almost guarantee the leak will be occurring from around the pipe boot. Another thing to consider when using plastic pipe boots is the type of plumbing exhaust pipes that exit through your roof. If your home has older cast iron pipes, you will need to use Lead Boots for two different reasons:

Lead Boots:

Lead boots have been in use for decades and most have stood the test of time. Lead pipe boots will outlast most asphalt roofing products and provides reliable security when it comes to making sure your roof is watertight. The main disadvantage to lead boots is that they are more expensive. Another very rare problem with lead pipe boots is squirrels can sometimes chew on the boot and cause holes to form. If your home has had problems with squirrels in the past, you may want to make sure your roofer covers the exposed lead with paint or mastic to prevent squirrels from chewing on the pipe flashing.

What they are attacking are the lead-clad roof jacks, or the covers for roof vent stacks, the pipes that we all have to vent our bathrooms and other plumbing in all Residential construction.

The purpose of the lead covering is to prevent rainwater from leaking into the attic and resulting in roof rot and eventually mold. You can go years without having animal damage to these roof jacks. It seems that once they start, the little gnawers (squirrels and rats) just can't seem to quit.

Nobody really knows why squirrels & rats gnaw on the lead. We do know that their incisors grow continuously, as do those of all rodents and some other groups of animals, and that if they don't wear them down by gnawing, the teeth will grow in a circular pattern until the tips don't touch and the animals can no longer gnaw to wear down the teeth. This malocclusion of the teeth results in death, normally due to starvation but sometimes due to the spiraling incisors actually penetrating the roof of the mouth and brain as they continue to grow.

TIP: Having your roof done soon? Order these ahead so your roofing contractor can install them. Remember to also get the Lead flashing as well, all contractors stores carry these.