Flat Roof leak Repairs – Pitch Pockets

Pitch pockets are a commonplace to leak on commercial roofs

Pitch Pockets is a common place to leak on a commercial roof

The most overlooked element on flat roofs is a Pitch Pocket. Watch the video to understand what a Pitch Pocket is and how simple a flat roof repair can be.

What is a Pitch Pockets?

Pitch Pockets are open bottom flanged containers installed on a roof ordinarily next to air conditioners. A Pitch Pocket is used to allow air conditioner pipes and electrical cables to go through the roof but to keep water out.

Over time the tar in these Pitch Pockets will dry and shrink causing a hollow section at the top where water can sit and works its way into the building. These Pitch Pockets must be filled to the brim and also around the pipes and cables to make a watertight seal.

Pitch pockets come in different shapes and sizes. The purpose of a pitch pocket is to seal around pipes, electrical wires, and objects that come through a roof. In the old days, these open bottom containers with a flange had melted “pitch” or hot tar inside of them. We still apply the same principles, but there are different products on the market that can be used to fill these containers.

Pitch Pocket in this image has the foam insulation that prevents the tar to stick to the pipe itself.

Pitch Pocket has foam insulation around pipe preventing a good seal
Notice the foam insulation around the copper pipes are busted up. Water can easily leak into these areas

A common problem with Pitch Pockets 

Often a roof will leak because the tar in the Pitch Pocket has dried and cracked. It is advisable to check it every two years. In this Pitch Pocket, water can accumulate and run into the sides where the material has separated.

This Pitch pocket need to be filled again
Notice the tar is lower the the brim of this pitch pocket. This need to be filled up with tar so water can not sit and leak in

Pitch pocket need tar

The image shows another example of a Pitch Pocket that needs new tar. Pitch pockets are one of the most common areas on a flat roof that causes leaks. It is necessary to inspect a Pitch Pocket should every two years.

Dried tar in a pitch Pocket will cause leaks on a flat roof
Notice the tar in this Pitch Pocket has dried up and shrunk. This need attention

Pitch pocket for EPDM Rubber Roofs

Pitch Pockets specially designed for EPDM Rubber Roofs. The material used to fill theses pitch pockets has a rubberish feel and stays pliable. Making flat roof repairs on EPDM Roofs is common.

Pitch Pocket for EPDM rubber roofs
This is a silicone filled pitch pocket used on EPDM Rubber Roofs

Foam insulation wrapped around pipes

The foam insulation wrapped around the copper pipes is the cause of water leaking through a flat roof. The foam breaking up is a common problem, and not everyone knows what to do in this case.

Another example of a pitch pocket with foam wrapped around the pipes
The foam around the copper pipe is corroded away and allow water to leak down
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