Roof Protrusions – Chimneys, Skylights, and Pipes… Oh My!

May 27, 2009 | Filed under: Roofing Help Podcasts, Roofing Installation

I’d like to talk about one of the big things to think about when you’re contracting to have a new roof put on your home. Often times we think about the roofing material itself; what it looks like, how durable it’s going to be, how it’s going to blend with the rest of your home, and that’s all very, very important. However, one of the key areas that oftentimes leads to troubles down the road, is the protrusions through your roof.

Roof Protrusions

What types of things are there through your roof that must be flashed around or sealed around in order to create a lasting long-term Roof System? When we’re talking about that, what are we looking at?

  • skylights
  • chimneys
  • sidewalls (like we have a dormer coming up through your roof, or maybe the roof to the first floor of your house runs against the sidewall of the second story of your home)
  • plumbing pipes
  • conduit for electrical entrances

All those types of things are penetrations that are through the roof.

Check with the contractor

One of the things you want to talk to your contractor about is how are they going to handle those penetrations through the roof? Are they just going to try to seal you around them and hope this sealing lasts as long as the roof system last? In most cases that’s not the best way to go. You want to make sure that all those penetrations have been carefully flashed around with metal that matches the Roof System itself, so that you will have long-term durable sealants at all those joints and all those intersections on your roof.

Dormer Windows
For example, if you have dormer windows coming out of your roof, and you’ve got vinyl siding on the sides of those dormers, do you just want to bring the roof shingles or panels against that vinyl siding and try to just seal it there? Preferably you’ll pull the vinyl panels off, work a flashing up behind the vinyl siding that comes out on top of the roof deck, and then reinstall the vinyl siding so that you actually have a flashed joint at that intersection around the dormer.

Let’s talk about vent pipes through your roof. Do you just want to bring the shingles or the metal panels up around the pipe protrusions through your roof and just seal it? Or, do you want to actually have a flashing in place that perhaps has a very durable neoprene or polymer boot around it to create some sort of long-term lasting sealant around that pipe.

So don’t just think about the roofing material you choose. Think about how it’s going to be installed. Talk to your contractor about these things. Know in advance exactly how they’re going to handle any penetrations or protrusions for your roof.

todd Miller

has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.

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