Attic Leaks and Ventilation
LESLIE: Heading out to New Jersey where John has some issues going on in the attic. Tell us about it.
JOHN: I have the breather up on top of my roof. It’s leaks, comes down into the attic. And I have a little container up there and sometimes, I don’t get up there in time and it’s kind of messing up my ceiling.
TOM: Well, that’s not good.
JOHN: Well, I’ve gone up there and I’ve had that can of – I forget what you call it. You spray it and it’s like a rubber whatever. I’ve sprayed all around the metal flashing and it’s still leaking. I don’t see any holes anywhere else. There’s no missing shingles. I don’t know what else it could be.
TOM: OK. So let me just – clarify for me: when you call this an “attic breather” or “vent,” what are we talking about? Is it a square hole in your roof with a vent over it? Is it a ridge vent that goes down the peak of the roof? Or are you talking about the plumbing vent that comes up through the roof?
JOHN: No. It’s almost up in the – about midway. There’s one on one side of the roof and one on the other.
TOM: OK. So it’s like a square vent?
JOHN: Right. And there’s no – the opening – it’s on an angle but I don’t know if it’s enough of an angle when the wind drives the rain in a certain direction.
TOM: Yeah. That’s what I was thinking. You may have some wind-driven rain in here. And what my advice would be to you is – you have a ridge that goes down sort of the – like a peak of the roof that goes down the middle of the house?
JOHN: No. It goes across. It runs horizontally.
TOM: What kind of roof style do you have? Is this a standard Colonial house or – what is it? A ranch?
JOHN: Small ranch.
TOM: OK. So here’s what I would do. You may very well be getting wind-driven rain inside that. What I might suggest is – that’s actually not the best kind of vent. And there’s an opportunity for you to improve your ventilation here in your attic space, which’ll actually make it cooler in the summertime and drier in the wintertime, which makes your insulation more effective.
And to do that, what I would do is I would remove those square vents, patch the hole and re-shingle over that. Then install a ridge vent that goes down most of the peak of the roof. The ridge vent’s not likely to leak if it’s properly installed. And that will open up that space to more ventilation, which will have the benefits that we talked about.
JOHN: Wow. OK, OK. That’s my next project.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.