Ridge Vents Problem

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Old 05-11-19, 02:57 AM
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Ridge Vents Problem

I had a ridge vent installed in place of mushroom vents and now I have an attic full of mold after 8 years - 23 years after having no problem at all. My roofer didn't verify that my soffits were unblocked (some were blocked), he left the gable vents open, he left 2 bathroom exhausts venting in the attic and he used ridge vents with internal baffles which restrict airflow to the point that they are useless - not to mention I live in a valley surrounded by trees with very little wind hitting the house. The owner and 4 other guys came out to my house to "investigate" and according to them my problem is blocked soffits and that it's not his fault because roofers "don't go in the attic".

I feel like I'm in the twilight zone talking to this guy - he is not taking any responsibility. This is not rocket science - the guy made several BAD missteps and should own up to it. I've read many forums where people have found that their ridge vents DO NOT work or work poorly at best. Anyone here have similar experiences?
 
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Old 05-11-19, 03:32 AM
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he left the gable vents open
I think that is part of the problem. Not my area of expertise but I've always understood that you have either gable vents or ridge vents - not both. Especially with some of the soffit vents plugged the gable vents will act as the air intake [along with moisture] and will raise the humidity in the attic instead of reducing it.
 
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Old 05-11-19, 03:40 AM
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You didn't say where you are located but I'm betting the bath vent fans exhausting into the attic is a big part of the problem. It's not as bad if you live in a hot climate where the moisture will remain vapor and not condense in the attic. But in cool weather the moisture condenses into liquid water and collects on your rafters, roof sheeting and insulation a form a nice environment for mold and mildew.
 
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Old 05-11-19, 03:49 AM
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Your problem is directly related to exhaust fans venting into the attic as Pilot said and the blocked soffits, neither of which is a responsibility of a roofer.

Keep the ridge vent and the gable vents and fix the two above and you will be fine, after the mold is cleaned up.

Bud
 
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Old 05-11-19, 03:56 AM
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gable vents will act as the air intake [along with moisture] and will raise the humidity in the attic instead of reducing it
How is it possible that one source of air will help and one will hurt?
 
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Old 05-11-19, 03:58 AM
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First I missed the open exhaust vents in the attic but when gable vents become the intake there is risk that rain will also enter. That isn't something that is likely to happen when the intake is soffit vents.
 
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Old 05-11-19, 04:22 AM
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When you have equal upper and lower vent areas you have a positive pressure up top and a negative pressure down low. The positive pressure up high pushes attic air out while the negative pressure down low allows outside air to push in. Somewhere in the middle between high and low is a neutral zone (NZ) where there is zero pressure. All vents above that NZ will be exhaust while all below the NZ will be intake.

When one has only gable vents and a ridge vent the difference in height between the two will be minimal and thus the available pressure to move any attic air. In this situation virtually all ventilation will be from the wind which can override either ridge or gable vents. Water intrusion always needs to be monitored to determine if it is a risk for that particular house and its surroundings.

Hope this helps.

As a note, the conflict between ridge vents and gable vents does not exist despite how long the warning has been out there. Unfortunately it will take almost as long to correct it.

Bud
 
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Old 05-11-19, 08:03 AM
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Chicago - yes I had frost on my sheeting
 
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Old 05-11-19, 08:10 AM
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35 sheets of plywood were replaced - majority of which were right above the bathroom vents. If they removed the old ones they should have re-vented them. If you are in the business of installing ridge vents and you don't check to see if your customer has enough unblocked soffits, I think you shouldn't be in the business of installing ridge vents.
 
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Old 05-11-19, 08:39 AM
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I agree maybe he should have mentioned the lack of lower venting but it really isn't part of his job. Venting is part of the insulation contractors responsibility so would not expect a roofing contractor to do that work. In addition, one of the tendencies of all contractors is to do "their" work and not raise issues that might delay or complicate their job. Their bit certainly did not include fixing the ventilation so if they noticed they kept their mouth shut to avoid delays.

Bud
 
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Old 05-11-19, 10:22 AM
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Bud is 100% correct. This is not really the roofer's problem. You may THINK it is, but it is not. You also believe that the ridge vent is 100% to blame for the mold, but it is not. There was likely mold before. You have a need to blame somebody which is only natural, but a roofer is not to blame for a house with moisture problems... or for improperly vented bath fans, dryer vents, or unsealed penetrations that were made by plumbers, electricians or HVAC contractors in the attic floor... or improper/inadequate soffit ventilation that stems from the way the house was built. Those are things to be addressed by insulation professionals. The roofer did his part.
 
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Old 05-12-19, 06:33 AM
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I respectfully disagree XSleeper. If you are in the business of installing ridge vents and you don't make sure that house is properly setup to handle a ridge vent then you shouldn't be in the business of installing ridge vents. It's as simple as that. It's like having new tires installed on your car and you get your car back with no air in the tires. What good are flat tires?

It WAS their responsibility either way you cut it and if it wasn't, as you say, there should of been some discussion with me about the requirements of having ridge vent and who I would need to call to come out to and address those requirements. And if you have to have a discussion with every customer about having someone else come out and inspect your house in order to have a ridge vent that YOU suggested then soon you will be going OUT of business.

The ridge vent is not 100% to blame - the venting bathroom exhaust is 50% of the problem and the ridge vent is the other 50%. These guys removed 35 sheets of plywood. Had I had a mold problem before they certainly would have communicated that to me - that's a huge liability issue for the roofer. No roofer is going to keep that a secret. After removing those sheets the bathroom vents would have been right there staring them in the face next to the rafters had they not been vented before. Forget that it's even code - every competent roofer knows this is a very bad thing - even my roofer said that after the fact. Nobody said anything to me at the time so that tells me there was no mold in that attic before and that they just forgot to vent the bathroom exhaust to the outside. BTW my new city inspector said during an inspection he would have flagged the house if he didn't see bathroom vents and since nobody has a copy of the report I assume it never happened.

Thanks though for your input.
 

Last edited by dsutherland; 05-12-19 at 08:42 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 05-12-19, 06:40 AM
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A roofer is in the business of roofing which can include replacing/installing roof vents. They generally aren't in the business of installing an attic ventilation system. He did his part. While it's good if he can pass on deficiencies he noticed to the homeowner - ventilation isn't his profession, roofing is.
 
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Old 05-12-19, 07:08 AM
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Not looking to blame any specific contractor. If moldy sheathing was removed and replaced would the person doing the work be wrong to ask if the cause of the mold had been addressed? Not a requirement of the job but maybe just a tradesperson who had a genuine interest in his client. If the client were an 80 year old bed ridden person then would it be appropriate to ask? Not meaning to be nasty, just suggesting not every homeowner is necessarily conversant on all the necessary steps to resolve a problem. And who all to involve in pursuit of that resolution.

Possibly the homeowner did did not know the issue was not resolved by replacing the sheathing, and did not realize they needed to bring in yet another type of tradesperson. If appropriation of blame is the goal then the homeowner should have known these things.... but sometimes we just don’t know what we don’t know.
 
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Old 05-12-19, 07:52 AM
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A ridge vent has very few simple requirements in order for them to work. Enough open soffits and no other vents besides the ridge vent in the most basic form. It's clear that if you do not have these requirements it will work poorly at best. If you go around recommending ridge vents to customers without knowing if their home can accommodate them you should get out of the roofing industry today.

Image if I owned a tire store and I said "you know I have some great tires that will perform much better that the ones you have" and you said cool go ahead and install them. You get the car back and not only are the tires are flat but the size of the tires are way too big to work on your car. Would you be happy? No you would be furious. What if I responded with "well it's not my job to decide if your car would actually work with these tires, I just recommend them and install them". How many days would I last in the tire industry? Lol

So to imply that it's not the roofers job to verify a product that HE recommends for YOUR HOUSE would actually WORK is disturbing at best. Ventilation goes hand in hand with roofing and it's imperative that you understand the requirements of the products you are recommending.
 

Last edited by dsutherland; 05-12-19 at 07:55 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 05-12-19, 08:05 AM
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A contractor who hires a roofer should be familiar with all aspects of roofing, ventilation, and local codes, but ventilation is not part of a roofers job no matter how much you want it to be. If you hired the roofer you were acting as the contractor and guess what, it was YOUR responsibility to oversee all related aspects. If you were not capable of doing that you should have hired a general contractor.

Bud
 
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Old 05-12-19, 08:17 AM
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Bud9051 maybe there is some confusion here in who I hired. I hired a highly recommended construction company (A+ on BBB and all other sites) who does all sorts of work including roofing. They have a GC who oversees the entire project along with the owner of the company. Heck when they came out here a few weeks ago they brought 4 guys plus the owner - all an expert in different areas to investigate the problem. Sorry for the confusion.

BTW they never mentioned the open bathroom vents while they checked out the entire house for moisture sources - which I found strange. They also acknowledged the soffits were blocked but said it wasn't their responsibility to check them nor was it their responsibility to verify the 150 rule.
 

Last edited by dsutherland; 05-12-19 at 08:20 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 05-12-19, 11:29 AM
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Your vague question has been answered; I think this thread has fulfilled its purpose.
 
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