Have you ever noticed small water stains near the edge of your ceiling in certain areas and wondered how that can be? You just had your roof replaced a few years ago, and the contractor said it was a 25-year roof.

When roofs are replaced, they are generally sold as a 20-year, 25-year, 35-year, etc. roof job, and that makes the homeowner think they shouldn’t experience any more problems until somewhere near that term.

A roof job consist of not only shingles but static vents, ridge vents, pipe vent boots, flashings and various other roof penetrations.

These various components make up the roof system and not all of the parts have the same life expectancy as others in the roof system.

The plumbing pipe vent boots are the most vulnerable part of the roof system and the rubber seal type only last 6-8 years generally before they begin to crack and split allowing water to pass between the openings in the seal and the pipe vent.

This water, depending on the amount that gets in, can deteriorate the roof sheathing, pass on down to the ceiling and show up as water stains and, if severe enough, can trickle on down the wall framing causing wood rot within the wall.

If you see water stains in certain areas of your home, you can go outside and look up on the roof to see if you see a plumbing vent pipe penetrating the shingles. If so, there’s a good chance that is where it is coming from.

To replace a pipe vent boot completely requires that a few shingles be removed on the upper side of the boot so that the old nailing flange of the vent boot can be removed and replaced with a new one then the shingles be re-installed back over the nailing flange. This may be too daunting of a task for the DIY’er.

If you hire a roofing contractor to perform this task, it can cost approximately $150 or more, depending on the roof pitch, the height of the roof, etc. Multiply this by the number of pipe vents you have, and it can get quit costly. Of course, more boots to replace would lower the per boot price, but it can still add up pretty quick.

The DIY’er can tackle this job without having to go through all that trouble. Just purchase the vinyl flanged pipe boot and cut the flat flange part off at the shoulder of the boot so that when you’re finished, you end up with what looks like a bowl upside down.

All you have to do is climb up to the pipe boot and slip this altered pipe boot over the pipe and snug it down close to the original pipe boot.

No need to remove any shingles this way, the original flange doesn’t wear out and doesn’t need replacing. Only the rubber seal part around the top of the boot does, and this method creates a new shield over the old crack seal.

The new vinyl pipe boots cost about $7 to $8 each. The toughest part will be not to fall off the ladder or the roof, so hold on tight.

JD Norrisis the owner/operator of DreamMaker Bath&Kitchen and a certified S.C. Master Builder, certified “Aging in Place” Specialist and certified Green Professional.