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Replacing Vent Stack Boots

What are those pipes sticking out of your roof, and why they lead to leaks?

vent stack bootsEvery typical house with indoor plumbing has one or more 'pipes' sticking out of their roofs. These are typically 2"-4" pvc pipe which is connected to the rest of the plumbing in the house. These PVC pipes are usually enshrouded with lead or rubber 'boots' which are in turn tucked under the shingles. The purpose of these pipes is to provide air to the piping within the house so that waste water will flow out of the house.

vent stack boots2Over time, the lead boot starts to deteriorate, and is often actually eaten by grey squirrells. Rubber boots also expand and crack. These damages allow rain to infiltrate the house. If you see discoloration on ceilings and walls in baths and kitchens this infiltration is often the cause. If allowed to fester major problems will occur.

You must get on the roof to examine these boots to determine if they are a problem. Look for cracks, and any openings around the PVC. Replace the boot even if a tiny crack is apparent. To remove the old boot, carefully lift the shingles which are overlaying the boot. Lead boots typically are not nailed to the roof. Rubber and plastic boots typically are nailed, and require extra care. In either case you must carefully work the boot free. In some instances, cutting the boot is expedient. Now measure the pvc pipe to determine the size of replacement boot you need. Purchase that, and carefully work it onto the stack, while tucking the flanged base under the shingles. This too takes care. Nail down using roofing tacks, and dab the nail tops with roofing tar (available in a caulking tube).

Applying a Butterfly Sheetrock Patch

sheetrock patch1To fix a small (under 6”x6”) hole in sheetrock try what is called the butterfly patch. This is a simple fix without using paper tape, fiberglass tape, wire mesh, cladding or clips. Most importantly it does not require any backing. The trick to this patch is the paper on the face of the drywall piece you will be using as a patch.
sheetrock patch2Start your patch by cutting a new piece of drywall in a square about 2” larger than the hole. On the face side of this piece of drywall, be sure to leave 1 inch of paper on every side. Now place the pieceyou have cut against the hole, and trace around it. Using a keyhole saw, cut out around your marks to leave a new, larger hole. This hole will be a perfect fir for your patch. Using a 4-6” taping knife, apply a thin coat of dry wall compound on the backside of the paper edges. Use just enough for the paper to stick. Reinsert the patch into the wall until it is even with the rest of the wall. Apply a thin layer of joint compound over the entire patch. Allow this to dry. sheetrock patch3Sand and repeat until the wall is smooth.
sheetrock patch4

Landscaping Tips

landscapingRemember not to plant your shrubs or bushes too close to your house. It is especially important to think about this issue when planning a new addition to your home. Your intentions are to accent that new sunroom/conservatory, enclosed patio, family room, etc. with landscaping, but talk to your contractor first.
He/she will be able to tell you the type of material that will be used to build your addition. They will most likely recommend a reasonable distance plantings should be placed from your addition. You should also discuss the situation with your landscaper or garden specialist.
landscaping3One of the obvious reasons for proper planning of your landscaping is that there is a very good chance that your plantings will grow larger and potentially out grow the area. Another serious problem is the damage that can be caused to your home’s exterior walls. You certainly would not like to endanger that brand new conservatory you just added to your home. Just as you and I need to breathe, so does your home. If your plantings are too close to your exterior walls moisture can begin to get trapped behind your stucco, siding, or other exterior wall material. Mildew/mold or rotten wood could result in expense and nuisance repairs. Another problem could begin to develop with insects such as termites, carpenter ants, etc.
As your trees and plants mature, be sure to trim branches away from the roof and soffit area. Otherwise, your roofing material will end up damaged.