Ridge vent (bad - leaking), no venting, big problems

Hi everyone,

First post but have been reading a lot all over the web. I have a custom-manufactured ridge vent sitting on a 12/12 roof that leaks horribly in stormy weather. This does not surprise me, when looking at the design. Here in SoCal, there is a lack of experience with ridge vents. So the general contractor had a custom metal shop fabricate this thing, which has no baffles, is very high profile, and is really just like an elevated roof over the peak of the house with perforated metal running down the length of it (something they added when it leaked even worse during construction.)

After all my research, I think I know more now than most of the roofers around here. Anyway, it’s up in the local mountains, and we get wind driven snow and rain (40-50 MPH). I believe it’s collecting snow, which then melts and the result is leaks all along the peak of the ceiling. I’ve personally witnessed a very direct cause and effect relationship here from a recent storm.

At this point I think the general contractor and roofer are in agreement that this thing has to come off, that it’s a failure, and they are now educated enough to agree that I need a GAF Snow Country or similar product (and if they aren’t, I will be educating them). The only battle left is with the custom metal guy, who seems to think he’s got a great product that just couldn’t possibly be allowing in moisture. Take a look and judge for yourselves…

Pics of the current vent:

My recollection is that the cutout at the peak is also enormous, probably 4+ inches on each side, so they’ll be adding more decking when they fix this.

Let’s now assume that time has passed, this change has occurred, and I’ve got a manufactured, tested, warrantied product on my roof, which stops snow and rain intrusion. My next problem is that I have only the ridge vent and nothing more, as fire codes instituted after the cedar fire (that big fire that burned 2500+ homes down here in San Diego) don’t allow soffit vents due to them sucking sparks into the attic which leads to fire. Now, that’s not to say I can’t do something myself now that the home is complete… (and I’m less concerned with the 100 year fire than I am the every year moisture/heat…)

The place has cathedral ceilings throughout, and it doesn’t have soffits, it has eaves with corbel tails. I could drill the ol’ 2" holes into the blocking, which would have to be done on every section due to the cathedral ceilings, but then it seems to me that the wind-driven snow would get pushed straight up into the attic (and sucked in by the ridge vent creating negative pressure) and I’d still have water problems. As an example, consider these pictures:

In those you can see the snow has stuck up under the eaves from the pressure of the wind. The wind strikes this wall/roof at 90 degrees - head on. For the same reason, I’d be concerned about putting vents in the roof deck, seems like snow and/or rain would be driven right in. Since this place sits in a pass, it’s also common to have 40 MPH dense “fog” blowing past (ie, it sits in the clouds). In terms of snowfall, it’s usually only a few inches at a time, a couple times a year, and it melts off between storms. The problem is that it’s driven hard by wind when it does come along, same as the rain, hail, etc.

Any reaonsably simple solutions? Or am I looking at drilling holes and then covering them with some kind of foam and then covering that with some kind of fascia that blocks the direct wind force? I almost wonder if I’d be better off just sealing the whole attic up, but then from what I read around here, the shingles won’t last…?

argh (help…)


Well first off have that ridge vent removed. It is doing more harm than good. Never heard of a custom made vent. Why on earth did they do that? Did they give a reason? Have Shingle Vent II from Airvent orSnow Country from GAF installed they are designed for that type of wind driven rain and snow.

Before you start blowing holes in the side of the wall take some more pics of the attic and make very sure that they will lead to the attic and not into the wall, i have seen that before. Then you have to make sure the insulation is not in the way. Send us somemore pics so we can give you a better answer on this problem. I dont like to guess so thats why i need more info.

One concern i have is the snow i had seen built up at the rafter tails. If you put holes in the side of the wall the snow will come right in. Im almost thinking of a power vent in this situation but i would like to see some attic pics. Do you have gable vents (vents in the side of the building)?


Take off the ridge vent. Sheet in the area and shingle the roof and cap it out.

In your case you may loose a few years of service. You may not. Get the life out the roof you can. Your solution is not a cheap one.

You have to take off the roof down to the deck. There are panels that are put on top of the deck. Then you roof over these panels.

You should get 20-25 years out of the 30 year shingles that are on your roof.

I will agree with that.


I cannot locate a picture of the vented panel that you need to use. It is made by Hunter.


Here is the link to the cool vent panel

www.hpanels.com/pages/pdfs/Lit_Prod_BW/ … -II_BW.pdf

[quote=“gtp1003”]Well first off have that ridge vent removed. It is doing more harm than good. Never heard of a custom made vent. Why on earth did they do that? Did they give a reason?

Do you have gable vents (vents in the side of the building)?[/quote]

The response to why they did that, when I asked, was an angry “because we’re stupid.”

They’d never done one before and didn’t do any research is my guess. I’ve asked around and it seems common that none of the roofers have done ridge vents around here. If you drive around you don’t see them, either. It’s all gables and soffit vents.

This particular property has no other vents other than the ridge vents.

Due to the fires, there are no trees or bushes to act as a wind break.

In looking at new construction in the area, I see a lot of dormer vents. I also see a lot of junk coming out the dormer vents. Either they were clogged with insulation, or it’s an intentional thing because they’re all being penetrated with snow and rain. It seems it’s the ones that would be penetrated that have been clogged up/sealed off.

Ambient temperatures in this area hit about 95 for a few weeks a year in summer, during day, and drop to the 50s/60s at night. Lowest winter lows tend to be in the upper teens to 20s, with daytime temps above freezing.

The previous property had no attic, it was tongue and groove with shingles on top. The ceiling was the roof. It got hot during summer, but it also had no A/C or anything, so you just opened the windows and that’s all you could do.

I should mention that this is a vacation home. Even when we rent it out, it’s maximum use is 30% or less (ie Fri-Sun then empty). I would think this would reduce the impact of moisture (not full-time cooking, showering, etc). It’s also new construction which should be pretty well sealed. Penetrations in the ceiling: two can lights, one ceiling fan mount, one bathroom exhaust fan/light, one hanging light fixture mount, and one ceiling flush mounted fixture. All vents go outside.

It has a basement, 50% underground. Cinder-block walls. We have a small moisture problem on a front corner that we still have to take care of, otherwise it seems to be staying dry. I intend to drylok it all anyway. That may hurt though because the inside of the block would be sealed and moisture could only dry from the outside in or by going up into the walls on top of the block, correct?

The blocking does go to the attic as I saw it when it was built (and actually snuck some speaker wire out the gap between the blocking and the roof for future outside speakers). I can’t climb into the attic for pictures since it’s cathedral (except for one small area), but I can provide pictures of it during framing. Will get to that in a bit here…

The link provided looks like a great idea, but I don’t see the contractor paying for that and I’m out of dough on this rebuild. We’ve pretty much furnished the place from people giving us stuff and craigslist.org

Whose idea was it to have a ridge vent at all? (it just always seems to work poorly using some solution that the local talent is not familiar with)

It was the architect’s idea. I guess because we wanted the vaulted ceilings combined with the restrictive new codes. The codes were changing as we were getting plans approved, the whole thing was a mess.

Anyway, here’s a bunch of pictures. I think I’ve come to the conclusion that soffit vents will not work because there is blocking halfway up the slope as well. So it looks like a sealed roof or those deck boards are my only two options.

Anyone disagree after looking at the following?
www.hansenshideaway.com/jeremy/ridgeven … _roof.html

Thanks for your time and help, guys.



Just get rid of the ridge vents. If you want ventilation deal with it with the next roof.

There is not way to ventilate your roof. Except for the Hunter panels that I linked you to.

You may find out that ventilation is not necessary in your case.

i agree. get rid of the vent all together. your isulation is probably tight to the underside of the roof deck, so you wont get any air flow anyway.

I agree with what was said.

Alrighty then, case closed. Talked to the contractor, the vent’s coming off and they’re going to seal it up and replace damaged drywall.

Thanks, guys!

Sorry to drag up a slightly old thread, but IIRC the ridge cutback was “4 inches”… did they simply patch in decking to fill in the gap? If it was me, I’d require them to cut back @ least 2’ down from the centerline / ridge line, then put in correct sheathing & re-shingle it.

A 4" strip isn’t going to provide sufficient stability & will be a bit too thin a strip IMO.

Granted, nobody is going to walk that area (more like “sit” the ridge is what we’d have to do there… ouch) but if the area is too thin, it won’t have any real nail hold in the event of high winds.

IMO, a great part of your intrusion problem was due to the lack of baffles & a gap that was cut too large. Maximum slotting is 1"…

Hopefully this was all resolved in your favor & without any expense to you. Another product you might consider (possibly too late now) is the Cor-A-Vent X5.

This is an active vent that has a baffle / valve that runs full length & flaps shut under high wind events; according to the site, it’s been tested in apps up to a 12:12.

Good luck…

I will agree with all being said