A very common point of leaks into the roof structure is at the electrical mast—-especially as the home gets older and has gone through multiple roof changes. The original flashing installed over the pipe before all the electrical connections are made makes a very good seal. However with subsequent roof replacements, new flashings are very difficult to install. There are split-type flashings to use—but they rarely get used. So, what you end up with is caulk or tar over the old flashings and keeping your fingers crossed to keep the water out.
New flashings are obviously a better option and reduces ongoing maintenance, but some means of keeping it sealed is necessary—even if it is tar. It just needs to be more vigilantly maintained if one is going to use the tar approach. Not only can leaks at this point damage roof and wall structures, it can also get into the electrical system itself causing rust and corrosion of electrical components—-which as everyone knows is bad electrical juju.
People have told me that this is such a small gap that very little water can get into the structure. Actually, over time, the mast can collect quite a lot of water and guide it into the structure—especially in the rainy Northwest.
The gap visible around the flashing at this electrical mast will (and does) allow a lot of water into the roof/wall and panel below.
So while it won’t make the house sink, it is a good idea to keep the mast sealed.
Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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