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Should A Roof Vent Pipe Be Covered?

By January 31, 2023Roof
A roof vent pipe with a cover on it to keep debris out.

Gaining an understanding of your roof and what is on it can be rather difficult. Most homeowners just want to know that the roof is intact and keeping all weather, insects, and rodents out of the home. Unfortunately, knowing how the pipes on your roof work are necessary for maintenance. For example, roof vent pipes. What exactly are they for? Roof vent pipes are to allow air to escape the plumbing and keep the plumbing pipes pressurized. Should a roof vent be covered? Covering a roof vent pipe should only be done to keep debris and bird nests out of the pipe.

Let’s take a look below at some more details regarding a roof vent pipe.

What Is A Vent Boot?

Typically, a vent boot is used to cap your vent pipe. It is a rubber vent cap cover that seals the pipe to protect it from debris and dirt. The use of rubber material to make the vent boot allows it to expand and contract under various weather conditions. Keep in mind that vent boots can break down due to extreme temperatures. Let’s take a look at how we can tell if a vent boot cover is worn out.

  • The paint on your interior walls will begin to crack.
  • Any wallpaper that you have on your walls will begin to peel.
  • You will notice water markings on the ceiling and your walls.
  • The vent pipe will have damaged shingles around it.
A roof vent pipe with a cover on it.

How Many Types Of Pipes Are On My Roof?

Depending on where you live will determine the type of pipes that are on your roof. Roof vent pipes can vary based on the local building codes. Let’s take a look below at what vent pipes you might see on your roof.

  • Plumbing vent stack – This vent pipe is installed to allow gases to be released from your plumbing lines. Also, they create pressure in your plumbing lines so that you can flush your toilets.
  • HVAC vent stack – This vent stack is used to allow fuel or gas to be released from your burner, fireplace, boiler, or water heater.
  • Attic fan – The attic fan pulls hot air from the attic and releases it through the vent. This keeps the attic dry and free from moisture. Most attics with attic fans on their roofs are in southern homes.
  • Small vent box – This vent box is used to suck moisture from your bathroom out of the air and releases it into the outside. Typically, there are mesh screen coverings over these vent boxes to keep rodents and birds from nesting in them. Additionally, you might see a clothes dryer vent on the roof.

What If It Gets Clogged?

Dealing with a clogged vent pipe is no fun. However, if it gets clogged you will notice the following issues:

  • Slow drain in your bathtub or sinks – If your bathtub or sink drains are free and clear of debris and still not draining correctly, it is likely due to a clogged vent pipe.
  • A gurgling toilet – When the vent pipe gets clogged a gurgling toilet occurs. If you flush the toilet and water does not have to compete against pressure in the pipes your toilet will gurgle. This is due to air build-up not being able to escape, so the water slowly drains as it pushes against the air in the pipes.
  • A dry P-trap – aAnytime there is no P-trap or the P-trap is dry, methane gas can make its way into the home. Check the P-traps under your sink and shower drain to make sure that all is working properly. Gases from your sewer system that backs up into the home can become hazardous to you and your family’s health. Also, if the bathroom smells like sewage, your P-traps and vent pipes are likely the culprit.
  • Debris build-up – The moment that you experience any of the situations above, it is highly likely that a bird or rodent has clogged your vent pipes with sticks, leaves, and debris. You will need to call a professional to get your vent pipes cleaned out.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you are well-educated on roof vent pipes, this might be a good time to explore other areas of the roof. For example, what type of roof do you actually have? There are various types of roofs, such as metal and composite. Most home roofs are made of composite roofing materials. Read up on composite roofs so that you aren’t surprised when repairs are needed.

Next, if you happen to have a leak in your roof and you don’t have an attic, there are ways to locate the roof leak. Although you will want to hire a professional to locate and repair the roof leak, their schedule could be busy. Until then, you can read up on how to locate a roof leak if you have no attic.

Lastly, start planning when you need to replace your roof. Roofs can be rather expensive and you will want to put money aside for the day that comes to replace your roof. Read up on how often you should replace your roof. Depending on the type of roofing materials you use, will determine how often you will need to replace the roof.

There are a variety of roof vent pipes. Some with covers and some without.

When Do I Call A Professional?

Whenever you are dealing with concerns regarding your roof, you should always call a professionally licensed roofing contractor. They are trained and educated on what the building codes are and what is required for keeping your home safe and secure. Additionally, they can explain to you what each item on your roof is for. Don’t be afraid to call on your local home inspection team to inspect the roof before calling on a contractor. The inspection team can tell you what should be repaired before a roofing contractor sells you on more repairs. Also, they can recommend a reputable professionally licensed roofing contractor.


Roof vent pipes are vital to the functionality of your home. Their sole purpose is to regulate your plumbing system and allow toxic gases to escape the interior of your home. If you ever notice an issue with your roofing vent pipes, you need to immediately call a professional. Reach out to your local home inspection team to get your roof inspected once a year, or after a major storm has occurred. Alpha Building Inspections if you have a new home or if you need a recommendation for a professional roofing company in Merrimack, NH, and surrounding areas.