Dress Up a Vent Pipe With a Copper Boot
Flash roof penetrations with a soldered copper pan and sleeve for an elegant detail that lasts a lifetime.
Synopsis: Vent pipes are usually an afterthought on top of a house. Roofing contractor Patrick Sheeley likes to give them a elegant look by flashing them with a copper boot. Sheeley’s custom-made boots cost less than $50 for the materials and will outlive most prefabricated models.
The prefabricated boots often used for vent-pipe flashing rely on a rubber gasket to keep out water; that gasket can break down over time. For less than $50 in materials, I make a custom copper boot that will outlive any prefabricated one and looks a lot better. It’s made by joining two pieces of 16-oz. copper sheet stock. The pan is hemmed and bent with a metal brake or a handheld folding tool. The sleeve is formed by wrapping the copper around a scrap piece of pipe or by using a slip roller. All joints are bonded with an acetylene-fired soldering iron and 50/50 solder.
Like prefabricated boots, these custom-made ones are installed with the standard shingling procedure. Finally, if you’re wrapping a cast-iron vent pipe instead of PVC, wrap it with a bituminous membrane before installing the boot to keep the iron from corroding the copper.
|Practice on a test piece first. Cut the sleeve down until it extends only 1 in. to 1-1⁄2 in. past the vent pipe. Then, using a hammer, tap the sleeve to bend, and fold it into the pipe. Work slowly, and take care not to crimp or kink the copper.|
Patrick Sheeley is a roofing contractor in High Falls, N.Y. Photos by Chris Ermides.
Drawing: Dan Thornton
From Fine Homebuilding #202
For step by step photos on how to dress up a vent pipe, click the View PDF Button below.