The Problem: Possible Roof Leak
I normally start my inspection of a house by taking a look at the roof. My goal is to get on the roof whenever conditions allow because it lets me catch things like potential leak sites. For example: this plumbing vent pipe is the location of a roof leak. The boot flashing is supposed to keep water from running down the vent pipe has deteriorated to the point where it allows water to get inside the structure. This boot has deteriorated due to age. Someone has tried to reseal it with roofing tar, but the tar has dried out and cracked as well. From this I know that I need to look for water damage inside the house.
The Inside Condition: Water Damage
When I get inside the house, I start looking for water damage in the general location of the plumbing vent. In this case I found quite a bit of water damage to the ceiling. This just confirms what I suspected on the roof; this boot flashing is leaking and has damaged the interior of the house.
The Solution: Replace the Flashing
The proper way to repair this condition is to replace the boot flashing that seals the plumbing vent. A boot flashing should have a quality rubber seal that is flexible and not dried out (brittle). Roof tar is not necessary to seal a boot flashing that is in good condition, as seen in this picture from a different house. This new rubber and plastic boot is tight fitting to the pipe and it flexes when you press on it with your finger.
If you have any questions about what a home inspector should be looking for or you would like to get your home inspected, please call Justin Campbell at Gears Home Inspections, 317-939-1407.