Why are there leaves in my attic?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

An Open Ridge Vent May Be The Culprit

One reason to find leaves in your attic is an open ridge vent on a metal roof. The openings created between the lines of raised metal where they fit under the ridge cap provide ventilation to exhaust hot attic air. But, if the slots are not sealed, a brisk wind slides leaves up the roof and into the slots, where they drop down to form a long line of debris in the attic insulation below.

The problem can be solved by sealing the slots with either a solid closure strip or a foam-like one that allows air to flow through it. Here’s a diagram of both solutions from the installation manual of Gulf Coast Supply and Manufacturing, a Florida manufacturer of metal roofing products.  

There is another technique that secures the ridge cap (or an older style cap called a “ridge roll”) down snug to the roof with a screw on either side of every crimp in the roof panels. We don’t see that one too often anymore.

   Static roof vents like the slant-back type shown below can also allow blown-in leaves if there is no screening at the opening or it is damaged. Openings in gable end or soffit vents do the same.

    A cluster of leaves mixed with  bits of insulation that looks like a bird’s nest turned on its side is a squirrel or rat nest, a sure sign that critters are living in your attic. And a sprinkling of leaves, mixed with bits of roofing shingles and grit, means that some sheathing was replaced and the roof was open for a while during the last roof replacement.


     If you plan on exploring your attic anytime soon to make sure everything is alright, please read our blog post What are the hazards to avoid when going into an attic? first. 

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  To learn more about roofs and attics, see these other blog posts:

Why is my roof sheathing sagging between the trusses?

Why is granule loss a problem for an asphalt shingle roof? 

What are the mistakes to avoid when doing attic improvements?

What causes roof shingles to curl up at corners?  

What causes shingles to buckle along a line on the roof?

What causes leaks at a fake roof dormer? 

What causes a sagging roof ridge line?

What causes bubble-like blisters in a built-up and gravel roof?  

Why does it cost so much more to replace a steep roof than a low slope roof? 

What is "ponding" on a flat roof?

Is an attic required to have a light by the building code? 

How can I inspect my roof for hurricane damage?

Why is premature curl of roof shingles a problem?

How can I tell if a roof has more than one layer of shingles? 

What are the common problems with attic insulation? 

What is the life expectancy of an asbestos cement shingle roof? 

What's the average lifespan of a roof?

Why is it a mistake to replace a roof and not replace its flashings? 

Why is there no attic access hatch in the house?

What is the building code requirement for an attic access hatch, scuttle, or door? 

Does a roof with multiple layers of shingles last longer?

What can I do to prevent roof leaks?

Are roof trusses better than roof rafters (stick framing)? 

Why is a popped nail in a shingle roof a problem? How do I fix it?

What are the most common problems with wood roof trusses?

What causes a lump or dip in the roof? 

If my roof is not leaking, why does it need to be replaced?

How can I be sure my roofing contractor got a permit?

How many layers of roofing are allowed on a home? 

What are the dark lines running parallel to shingles on my roof?

Can metal roofing be used on a low slope/pitch roof? 

How can I make my roof last longer?  

What are the warning signs of a dangerous attic pull-down ladder?

How can I find out the age of a roof? 

Should I buy a house that needs a new roof?

Should I buy a house with an old roof? 

What are those metal boxes on the roof?

What does "lack of tab adhesion" in an asphalt shingle roof mean?

Why do roof edges start leaking?

Why do my dormer windows leak? 

Do home inspectors go on the roof? Do they get in the attic?

Should I put gutters on the house? 

How much of a roof truss can I cut out to make a storage platform in the attic? 

What's the difference between an "architectural" and a regular shingle roof? 

What does a home inspector look for when examining a roof? 

Do stains on the ceiling mean the roof is leaking?

How can I tell if the house needs a new roof?  

 Why does my homeowner's insurance want a roof inspection?

What are the hazards to avoid when going into an attic? 

     Visit our ROOF AND ATTIC page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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