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detyianni 10-26-2010 01:42 PM

why would they board up the gable vent?
I just moved into a colonial style home that has a large attic storage area over the garage that is accessible via the 2nd floor through a half door. Over the garage there is a large circular gable vent.

During the summer months when I walked through the house before purchasing it I noticed this space was unbearably hot since the rest of the house had ridge vents except for this area. I said to myself I am going to have to install a couple vents in here its too hot if I wanted to store anything up here...(this was before I realized the gable vent was up there)

so today I see that the gable vent has a piece of plywood nailed over it from the attic with no ventilation for it at all. Why would the previous owners do that?

From the outside I noticed that yeah there are a couple hornet nests up there but nothing that a screen would not stop.

I figure maybe it was too cold in the winter and cold air was drafting into the upstairs? Easy fix with some insulation against the back of the door in the attic right?

so my question is come spring time is it ok to just pull the plywood off and install a screen in the attic to keep out critters then screw it back on in the winter?

Or should I take it off now and have it open during the winter months as well?

This is my first home and I'll have a lot of questions coming forgive my ignorance and thanks for the help!

RoofDiagnostics 10-26-2010 02:39 PM

All of the "boarded up gable vents" i have scene or been asked to board up have been due to critters of some sort.

your idea of removing the wood and installing a mesh is a great idea - DO IT!

hope this helps, KP

detyianni 10-26-2010 02:50 PM

Thanks for reassuring me about taking it off. how about now that its the winter months coming up. I was under the impression that a roof needs to be vented summer or winter months?

do you recommend ?

1. wait till the summer and take it off with plans to cover it again in the winter....maybe ill get fancy and use some latches instead of screws...

2. take it off now, staple some screen over it and leave it be year round...

oh also there are soffit vents up there just no where for the heat to escape as the rest of the house has ridge vent and I stuck my head up in the attic in those areas and it was cooler considering the temp outside was hot..

thanks again.

RoofDiagnostics 10-26-2010 03:10 PM

a gable vent is a form of ventilation. Ventilation is important in all months, not just the summer. A properly ventilated house will help circulate heat/ A/C.

The opposite end, a home that is not ventilated can result in condensation issues. Moisture in the home can not escape. Doomsday scenario (which i have scene) is a rain-forest in your home on a bright and sunny winter day.

Take it off now.

Gary in WA 10-26-2010 04:49 PM

"I figure maybe it was too cold in the winter and cold air was drafting into the upstairs? Easy fix with some insulation against the back of the door in the attic right?" ----- That is probably why it was covered. Weather-strip the attic access door as well. Is the back of the side wall insulation covered with rigid foam board or house wrap? If uncovered and gable vent open, it will wind-wash that insulation creating convective loops negating the R-value. Use the foam board between the floor joist (below) and rafter (above) bays to prevent air movement robbing your heated spaces there. Leave 1-1/2" of air space or just touch the air baffles at the sloping ceiling/wall joint.

Cold climate attic ventilation is mainly to remove the moist air and heat in the attic coming from below.
Hot climate ventilation helps remove solar-warmed attic air that causes extra loads on AC units:
Open one of the “related articles” in the box at the end of the article for further reading. Hope this helps…..


Tom Struble 10-26-2010 05:43 PM

if you have a ridge vent it should be blocked off

detyianni 10-26-2010 08:10 PM


Originally Posted by tomstruble (Post 523421)
if you have a ridge vent it should be blocked off

ridge vent is on the rest of the roof except for this space above the garage where the gable vent is. this space is closed off from the rest of the attic

guest 10-29-2010 09:49 PM

My 2 cents worth. I live in Ky and just put new white siding on my house this summer on the gable ends. I had a birds nest in the attic. I don't know about there but here birds like to eat poke berries which are like purple ink when they poop, especially on siding and very hard to remove. I came up with a metal mesh to go over the screen on the gable vents. It was a sheet of mesh like they use to put manufactured stone on with. I spray painted it to match and used both a piece of it and the screen, since birds will peck thru just the screen by itsself. just a tip!

jlhaslip 10-29-2010 11:21 PM


It was a sheet of mesh like they use to put manufactured stone on with.
Around here, we call it hardware cloth... about 1/4" spaces???

guest 10-29-2010 11:38 PM

I was just using up what I had left over from another project, thanks for the tip, I will remember it for next time.

detyianni 11-29-2010 09:07 AM

just wanted to thank everyone for their help, I removed the plywood covering the big round gable vent there was a metal screen attached with a few hornet nests in the slats, sprayed the nests out and added another layer of screen and hopefully my house is breathing a little better now.

btw i am in michigan and we have had a couple under 30 degree nights and the interior walls are well insulated and i dont feel any drafts from the door which is good.

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