For a number of years now, it has been common roofing industry practice to install a modern product called a "5-in-1" flashing around vent pipes in roof installations. An example can be seen in the accompanying photo.
What is a "5-in1?"
Flashing is simply a product that is installed around various objects such as vent pipes, chimneys and other items that come through the roof, to prevent leaks. Flashings are made out of a variety of materials from galvanized steel, copper and lead to plastics and rubber. Shingles are laid around them in a way that funnels any rain flow conveniently by the obstacle.
This newer pipe flashing product has gained ground because it has numerous time-saving advantages. It is called 5-in-1 because it can be cut on site to accommodate 5 different diameter sizes of vent pipe.
Before the 5-in-1, it used to be that a roofing salesperson would have to go up on the roof and measure the actual diameters of the pipes so that the proper size vent flashings could be purchased before the job started.
Time-saving advantages for the roofer
However, often the sales guy got the sizing wrong. So once the job started, the actual roofer would have to go off and get the proper sized flashing(s) for the job. This created delays, increased costs and needless to say frayed nerves.
Today, with the 5-in-1, nobody has to go on the roof before the job starts to measure vent pipes. Nobody has to order anything special beforehand. The roofer just brings a supply of 5-in-1s to every job and cuts them to measure during the roof installation.
Just doesn't last
It is all great except for one thing. The flashing's collar which goes around the pipe and is cut to size during the installation is made out of rubber. It, unfortunately, just doesn't last. We are finding that the majority of roof repair jobs we are called to about roofing leaks have been caused by a worn 5-in-1 flashing. They just don't stand the test of time.
Going back to tried and true lead flashings
Consequently, in our own roofing practice, we have decided to go back to the old style pipe vent flashings that are made out of lead. They just last and last.
For us, as we always have one of our roofing professionals go up on the roof and check things when we do a quote, ordering the proper vent flashings the first time is not a problem. It is something we take pride in, in fact.
It is our purpose to give you the longest lasting roof possible. Making this change just helps us do it better.