How to Fix a Leaking Roof Vent

Your home's roof is its "Achilles heel," the place where it is most vulnerable to damage from wind, rain and flying debris. What may seem like a small problem can become a large and costly problem quickly, especially when water is involved. The moisture will spread to damage more area, causing the wood to rot away, and it may lead to mold problems. It can also wreak havoc inside your home, and you could end up having to replace wallpaper, paint, and even entire sections of wall. Fixing damage in a timely manner will save you from bigger headaches down the road.

Most roof leaks occur where the roof connects with other objects.
  1. Remove the shingles that surround the vent using a roofer's shovel or shingle scraper. Begin with the shingles closest to the vent. Remove any remaining nails with a claw tooth hammer, or hammer them in flush if they won't come out. Clean the area to be repaired using steel wool to remove debris, roughness and smooth the space for new shingles.

  2. Measure the area around the vent to determine the amount of flashing needed. Cut the appropriate amount of flashing using a utility knife or heavy-duty scissors.

  3. Apply the flashing with the adhesive side down after removing the backing from the tape. Overlap the flashing around the roof vent to prevent gaps. Press firmly along the flashing to bond it securely.

  4. Apply a layer of asphalt flashing cement around the roof vent and the flashing to make a watertight seal. Let the cement dry thoroughly.

  5. Replace the roof shingles using finishing nails, following the manufacturer's guidelines. Test the area for leaks using a garden hose. Run the water over the repaired area for 10 to 15 minutes while checking inside for leaks and signs of wetness.


  • Always use caution when working on the roof and make sure you are physically able to climb and descend the ladder.
  • Let someone know you will be working on your roof for additional safety.
  • Make sure your ladder is sturdy.
  • Use safety goggles when cutting flashing.
  • Do not do this project yourself if you are afraid of heights.

About the Author

Tammy Parks began writing professionally in 2009. She has extensive experience writing online, and her work has appeared on various websites. Parks doesn't have a particular specialty, instead preferring to write about lots of different topics. Parks attended Black Hills State University where she studied marketing, mass communications and literature.