Should A Roof Vent Be Covered?

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante

Roof vents are the last thing on the average homeowner’s mind, that is unless it is loud. They are a functional and critical part of a home’s plumbing system and sanitation. So, should a roof vent be covered?

You should cover your roof vent to keep debris, dirt, and animals out of it. Roof vent covers are called boots and they can also greatly reduce the risk of mold growing in your plumbing and home. The best way to protect your vent and minimize the noise it makes is to install a roof vent cover.

You still run the risk of mold even if you cover your roof vent, but it is worth it. Heavy rain and strong winds can render a roof vent useless if you don’t cover it. Follow along as we explore why you should cover your roof vent.

Should A Roof Vent Be Covered?

It is a great idea to cover your roof vent so that it doesn’t get clogged. Dirt, rocks, and debris can easily wind up in your roof vent and clog it. Homeowners also find animals stuck in their roof vent which is a sanitary issue and can invite more pests.

Roof vent pipe covers are known as boots, and they can save you time and money. It is difficult to remove debris from a clogged roof vent and there are safety hazards involved. You can also reduce the noise associated with your roof vent if you place a boot over it.

It costs an average of $270 to unclog a roof vent with professional help. However, it could cost much more depending on the hourly rate of the plumber that you hire. That is why you should cover your roof vent to avoid exorbitant costs and vent damage.

Can a Vent Pipe Be Exposed?

You can leave a roof vent exposed, but it may be more trouble than it is worth. An exposed roof vent is more likely to leak which can cause expensive damage. Rain can easily enter through your roof vent if you don’t cover it with a boot.

Your neighbors will also benefit from it if you cover your roof vent. Roof vents are loud, and some are much louder than others which can be annoying. Both you and your neighbors will likely hear your roof vent pipe while outside, and a boot can mostly silence it.

The main reason to cover your roof vent pipe is so that it will last as long as possible. An uncovered roof vent may only last as long as 10 years or less without a boot. However, a roof vent with a boot can easily last up to 15-20 years under the right conditions.

How do Roof Plumbing Vents Work?

Plumbing roof vents help keep the air pressure even throughout the system. Too much pressure in a plumbing system is dangerous and can cause water to back up. This can lead to leaks, expensive damage, and dangerous living conditions.

Wastewater and sewer odors can enter your home which can lead to health problems. That is why plumbers recommend that you install a cap for your roof vent stack. The cap will help prevent clogs which will, in turn, stop pressure from building up.

Pressure fluctuations within a plumbing vent stack are generally due to clogs. Vent stack caps prevent debris from entering the system which can help regulate the pressure.

Rain Cover for Roof Vent Pipe

Galvanized steel boots or rain covers are the best way to cover your roof vent pipe. They are durable and come in several sizes so that they can easily fit your vent. Plastic rain covers are also effective, but they are more likely to wear down over time due to moisture and temperature changes.

Galvanized steel contains zinc which gives it the extra strength that is useful for a roof vent pipe rain cover. However, the most affordable option is to get a plastic roof vent rain cover. You can find plastic roof vent covers that cost as little as $5.

That is a great option if you want a temporary rain cover, but plastic covers won’t last long. Galvanized steel rain covers typically cost $25 or more and it is worth the cost for the appearance and durability. Rain covers made of durable materials like galvanized steel can last up to 10 years.

What Happens if You Cover Roof Vents?

You reduce the noise and protect your roof vent pipe from water damage if you cover it. However, it can also be detrimental to cover a roof vent pipe. Roof vent pipes can become a hotbed for mold and mildew if you cover them.

This is especially true if you live in a hot and humid climate which is ideal for mold. The mold can then spread throughout your plumbing system and enter your home. Mold remediation costs thousands of dollars in extreme cases and is the worst-case scenario if you cover your roof vent pipe.

However, many builder-owners consider it worth the risk because an uncovered vent pipe is potentially more dangerous. Mold is even more likely to grow if you have an uncovered vent pipe, especially in a rainy climate. You are much better off covering your roof vent pipe than leaving it uncovered because the risk of mold is lower.

Does a Plumbing Vent Pipe Have to go Through the Roof?

Plumbing vent pipes don’t have to go through the roof, but that is the most common scenario. You can run a plumbing vent pipe through a wall on the outside of your house as well. However, you still must install the vent pipe so that it extends above the roof even if you install it to stick out of a wall.

It is possible to run a vent pipe out of the wall without going higher than the roof if it is taller than the highest window. Not all homeowners have access to their roof due to the layout of their house or the lack of an attic. You can run plumbing vent pipes so that they end in the attic, but that is quite uncommon.

It is only safe to run a vent pipe to the attic if you install an air admittance valve in the space. Otherwise, unsafe chemicals will spread throughout the attic and into the rest of your house.

Summing It Up

The best way to protect your roof vent is to cover it with what is known as a boot. This can reduce the risk of mold, limit the moisture that enters the system, and make your roof vent quieter. Galvanized steel roof vents are the best option because they are durable and can last up to 10 years.

It is possible to leave a roof vent exposed, but it is inadvisable and potentially dangerous. Animals and bugs can easily enter an uncovered roof vent which creates a sanitary issue. Debris, dust, and dirt can create a clog in your roof vent pipe if you don’t install a boot or rain cover.

You can install an effective roof vent pipe cover for $25 or less. Roof vent pipe covers limit how much maintenance you need to do and are worth the investment. Otherwise, your roof vent will be prone to clogs, mold, and excessive rainwater.

Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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