Purchasing a home is exciting for anyone, but it is especially exciting for first-time buyers. While home ownership is a rewarding part of life, it also involves the less rewarding responsibility of keeping the home in good repair. Knowing how to limit damage by learning how to make a temporary roof repair is part of this responsibility that every new home owner should master.
Plumbing Stack Leaks
The plumbing stack is the round tube that extends through the roof of your home for the purpose of maintaining proper pressure in plumbing pipes and venting sewer gasses out of the home. These are installed with a rubber gasket and sealant to prevent water from seeping into the home at the point where the tube comes through the roof.
Exposure to hot sun, humidity and drastic temperature changes can cause both the rubber gasket and the sealant to degrade over time, allowing rain and melting snow and ice to seep through and cause a leak to form. If you are experiencing a small but persistent leak in your roof that only occurs during a rainstorm or when snow or ice is melting off the roof, there is a good chance that it is related to the failure of the plumbing stack gasket or sealant.
Tracing the Leak
To determine if the plumbing stack is the source of the leak, it will be necessary to look inside the attic immediately above the area where the leak appeared on the ceiling inside your home. Remember to take a flashlight and look for wet areas in the insulation and stains or drips along wood surfaces. In some cases, water that drips into the attic from the roof will settle on rafters or wiring and run along those surfaces before dripping down onto the floor of the attic.
A Quick, Temporary Fix
If the attic investigation confirms that the leak is due to the plumbing stack, homeowners can use a tube of ordinary household silicone sealant to make a temporary repair. Do this by carefully brushing away any loose material at the base of the plumbing stack and applying a thin layer of silicone sealant around the entire base. Remember that this fix is only appropriate for a short time and you should immediately arrange for a local roofing contractor to make a permanent repair.
Permanently repairing the leak will require removing all the damaged sealant and the rubber gasket without damaging the stack or the surrounding roofing materials. A new gasket and weather-proof sealant will then be added, and all the shingles or roofing materials in the areas will be checked to make sure they are not damaged or waterlogged. If the leak has been ongoing, the underlying wood sheathing may also need to be professionally replaced to avoid further roof damage.