Introduction of Flashing a Roof Vent

Roof vents are the source of many leaks. These leaks can be stopped or prevented by sealing the crevice around the vent. Using caulk or foam to seal this space may work for a short period. However, a piece of metal that is custom-cut to fit tightly against the vent before caulking is the proper way to prevent roof leaks around your vents. This metal is called flashing. Flashing will help you to seal your vents and keep unwanted rain and air out of your home for many years.

  Use a hammer and nail puller to remove the shingles in a 3-foot by 3-foot square around the vent. Stack the shingles neatly in a staggered overhang pattern so that they will not slide off the roof. Throw the old nails into a plastic bucket. Use tin snips to cut into the side of a piece of flashing to fit around half of the vent. Cut another piece to match the first.Apply adhesive to the back of one piece of prepared flashing. Slide the flashing up against the lower side of the vent and press it to the roof. Drive a roofing nail every 3 inches around the edge of the flashing to hold it in place.

Place the second piece of flashing above the vent. Slip the notch you cut in the flashing against the vent. Be sure that the pieces of flashing on either side of the notch overlap the tabs on the first piece of flashing.

Use a caulking gun to caulk the seams around both pieces of flashing. Caulk the seams where the top piece of metal overlaps the bottom piece on both sides of the vent. Place a thick bead of caulk around the vent to seal the crevice between the flashing and the roof vent. Let the caulk cure for one hour.

Lay the shingles back on the roof in the same pattern you removed them. Lay the lower shingles first and nail each across its top, and then lay the next layer. Lift the bottom flap of the previously installed shingles to place your top row of shingles.

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