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Old 04-25-2019, 10:57 PM   #1
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Gable Vents Leaking - Do I still need them?


I have three gable vents on the front of my house. All three are allowing water to enter. The one above my office window allows enough water in that it leaks down and starts leaking a lot of water into my office via the window. I confirmed tonight with a water hose that the gable vent is the source of the massive leaking problem.

My question is since I have vents in the roof, do I need the gable vents?

As you can see, the left most gable vent has a roof vent just a foot or so away. I assume this isn't good even if it wasn't leaking as it's probably not allowing the air from the soffit vents to circulate. Is this an accurate assumption?

The two other gable vents don't have roof vents on their side of the house, but I do have four larger roof vents near the ridge line on the back of the house. Are those vents sufficient enough to where I could seal off the gable vents?

If it makes any difference, I have foil backed roof sheathing.

So, can I seal up these gable vents to prevent the leaks or should I find a replacement gable vent that doesn't allow water entry.
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:19 PM   #2
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Re: Gable Vents Leaking - Do I still need them?


They will leak if you point you hose from the ground. The important question is do you have soffit vents.
I am not sure they are even vents they maybe just there for show.
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:29 PM   #3
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Re: Gable Vents Leaking - Do I still need them?


Yes...I have soffit vents. I sprayed everywhere but the gable vent for minutes and zero water leaks in the office. I sprayed in the gable vent and replicated the issue I have when there is a strong wind and rain almost instantly.

If it rains without a strong wind...no leaks. Rain with a strong wind and my office window is pouring water.
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:36 PM   #4
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Re: Gable Vents Leaking - Do I still need them?


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Yes...I have soffit vents. I sprayed everywhere but the gable vent for minutes and zero water leaks in the office. I sprayed in the gable vent and replicated the issue I have when there is a strong wind and rain almost instantly.

If it rains without a strong wind...no leaks. Rain with a strong wind and my office window is pouring water.
Have you been up there to see the fit in the bottom and if the caulk is gone.
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Old 04-26-2019, 06:27 AM   #5
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Re: Gable Vents Leaking - Do I still need them?


I agree with Neal that you may not have isolated the actual leak, it may be the installation, brick is more difficult. If you cover just the louvers on one of those gable vents and retest and it still leaks then you are looking at the installation.

They look nice and it would be a shame to go through the removal process if not needed. Can you get a close look at any of them from inside? Maybe pictures?

Bud
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Old 04-26-2019, 08:33 AM   #6
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Re: Gable Vents Leaking - Do I still need them?


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Can you get a close look at any of them from inside? Maybe pictures?
Not yet. To gain access to most of the attic, I have to go over the HVAC which is another issue I'm trying to solve (I have another thread about it.)

I'll take a closer look at the installation and also cover up the louvers and redo the water test.
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Old 04-26-2019, 08:40 AM   #7
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Re: Gable Vents Leaking - Do I still need them?


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Not yet. To gain access to most of the attic, I have to go over the HVAC which is another issue I'm trying to solve (I have another thread about it.)

I'll take a closer look at the installation and also cover up the louvers and redo the water test.
We have one like that just up the street that people closed off, it looks like they just covered it with Plexiglas and caulked it. I only noticed it because it reflexes the sun now.
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Old 04-26-2019, 09:17 AM   #8
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Re: Gable Vents Leaking - Do I still need them?


Neal or others can probably explain better than myself, but I suspect those octagonal vents are built with a brick mold and at best sealed to the sheathing. Then the bricks are installed around the vent and caulking in applied. I have seen cases where contractors cheap out and do not install the house wrap on the gable peaks, hard to determine at this point. But even if it is there, where would it drain to? House wrap is a drainage plane that needs to be properly sealed above windows and doors. If the final caulking isn't stopping the water at the vents then the drainage path needs to direct that water out.

When you get a look at the inside see if you can spot any house wrap around the edges.

If you visit a store selling those vents ask how they should be installed, specifically in regards to flashing and sealing.

Bud
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Old 04-26-2019, 09:26 AM   #9
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Re: Gable Vents Leaking - Do I still need them?


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Originally Posted by Bud9051 View Post
Neal or others can probably explain better than myself, but I suspect those octagonal vents are built with a brick mold and at best sealed to the sheathing. Then the bricks are installed around the vent and caulking in applied. I have seen cases where contractors cheap out and do not install the house wrap on the gable peaks, hard to determine at this point. But even if it is there, where would it drain to? House wrap is a drainage plane that needs to be properly sealed above windows and doors. If the final caulking isn't stopping the water at the vents then the drainage path needs to direct that water out.

When you get a look at the inside see if you can spot any house wrap around the edges.

If you visit a store selling those vents ask how they should be installed, specifically in regards to flashing and sealing.

Bud
I am never around when they do that work but the vent should be installed like a window so if water just gets in around the frame it would get to the drain plane and if that is the problem it would be very hard to fix. I did see a vent like that a few years ago and the louvres were spring loaded so I guess a big wind and rain would find it closed.
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Old 04-26-2019, 09:33 AM   #10
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Re: Gable Vents Leaking - Do I still need them?


Did a little more reading and I suspect those vents are two part units. First part is installed against the sheathing and all flashing, house wrap, and caulking are done at that level. then the brick goes up and the outside cover is snapped on. Since all three are leaking whatever is causing it is common to all.

Once we identify the source of the leak we can discuss the amount of ventilation needed.

Bud
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Old 04-26-2019, 10:04 AM   #11
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Re: Gable Vents Leaking - Do I still need them?


This is the closest I was able to find with anything related to gable vents and brick. There may be some meat there but not directly what you have. The one point I picked up was about half way down where he describes caulking the exterior assembly to the brick, of course his is custom made and not designed to be removed. Just some reading.

Bud
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Old 04-26-2019, 10:08 AM   #12
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Re: Gable Vents Leaking - Do I still need them?


If the wind is right, you can get water/snow to blow in to a vent if there are combined styles of gable, ridge, or box vents used in conjunction with the soffit vents.

Here, those vents do not have a lot of net free area, and there is insulation and drywall that the water must first travel through to get to the finished space below. It would probably require a sustained heavy rain that is blown in to first saturate your insulation, then additional water to collect beyond that saturation before it could find a spot to enter below.

If you have a nearly immediate drip that you replicated with the hose, I would first look with a ladder at sealing around the exterior of the vent, and check if there are some larger than normal gaps under the frieze board where water could travel up behind it to get to the air space behind the brick. Then checking the attic insulation might zero in where the problem originates.

Which vent is your office under - 1st floor or over garage? And what kind of leak is it - drip, waterfall, moisture?
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Old 04-26-2019, 10:14 AM   #13
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Re: Gable Vents Leaking - Do I still need them?


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Originally Posted by Bud9051 View Post
This is the closest I was able to find with anything related to gable vents and brick. There may be some meat there but not directly what you have. The one point I picked up was about half way down where he describes caulking the exterior assembly to the brick, of course his is custom made and not designed to be removed. Just some reading.

Bud
If it is the one above the attic window, he won't have access to it.
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Old 04-26-2019, 10:41 AM   #14
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Re: Gable Vents Leaking - Do I still need them?


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Which vent is your office under - 1st floor or over garage? And what kind of leak is it - drip, waterfall, moisture?
Thanks for all the help! One of my big concerns is that the insulation is wet and will start to mold. If it's entering between the brick and the sheathing I'm guessing that's the best of two evils.

My office is under the middle vent. The window to the left of the front door.

The leak is a fast, steady drip that starts in the center of the window and then spreads out to where it's dripping from multiple areas. It drips at a good enough pace to where when it hits the mullion in the center of the window it splashes a few feet into the room.
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Old 04-26-2019, 10:47 AM   #15
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Re: Gable Vents Leaking - Do I still need them?


You should be able to get to the inside and bag up wet insulation, let the area dry out and replace the insulation with a little new.
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