Plumbing vents typically have to terminate above the roof on most homes. This directs noxious odors that might come out of the pipes away from where they might find their way into the home.
They are a common source of leaks. One might think that they could hardly contribute a lot of water to the interior of the home, but over time, they actually can. This especially true if the the vent flashing looks like the one in the following picture.
That large gap will certainly allow considerable water into the home. This flashing is made for 3″ pipe and installed on a 2″ pipe.
This next picture shows an installation that is less obvious. As you can see the label on the flashing says that this is for a 2″ pipe—that means the “inside” diameter of the pipe. This 1-1/2″ galvanized vent pipe measures just barely 2″ outside diameter. This makes the flashing “look” OK, but actually the rubber boot does not actually quite make contact with the pipe.
This flashing leaked enough to ruin the ceiling below—over time—actually since the roof was replaced.
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