Mark, a homeowner from Pennsylvania, had the vent ridge on his roof blow off in the wind and wanted to know the best way to repair it. He asked:
The previous pro on my roof did not use long enough nails on my vent ridge and the wind blew it back or peeled it up, the shingle still intact. Would it be ok if I just took longer nails and put them every foot or so on both sides, then put a good caulk over the heads instead of peeling it all back off and doing it with the proper nails? Thank you.
I will assume that the type of vent you describe is a 10 foot aluminum ridge vent installed on a shingle roof.
The correct method to install a ridge vent over one shingle roof system is to use a 12 gauge, 1 ¼” aluminum or galvanized corrosion-resistant ring shank nails every 6” on-center along both flanges. The fasteners should not be placed within 2” from the end of the ridge vent sections. Seal the exposed nail heads. Use caution not to block any drain holes with sealant.
If there is no damage to the shingles or vent, it could be refastened correctly. If the existing nails are 1-1/4” and not holding, you should use longer nails that penetrate through the decking by ¾.”
Another roofing expert, John Stout at Go Roof Tune Up, said:
From your description of the problem, it appears that proper fasteners are a good solution for the problem. Choose a nail that is of proper length to set into the wood sheathing by at least ½”. Install sealant on the surface of the shingle. Drive the nail through the sealant for a proper seal. Be careful not to overuse sealant. Mastic or other sealants may have an adverse effect on the surface of the shingles. Hope this information helps.
Mark followed up with more details about his ridge vent, saying:
It is the plastic vent ridge then the shingles on top it leaves a space about 1/2 an in from the roof surface. I wanted to see if I could just put the longer nails in the existing shingles on the ridge vent and put a good caulking over the nail heads instead of removing and reinstalling a new ridge vent and New shingles with the correct nail lengths this time. I realized the part that got blown back off had only 1/8" to 3/16" sticking in the sheeting and did the repair on that with new shingles. Thank you for your valuable input, it is greatly appreciated.
John Kenney from Cotney Consulting Group had this additional advice:
I appreciate you clarifying the type of ridge vent you have. I would not recommend just installing longer nails and using chalk on exposed nail heads.
Though that fix sounds like a good solution, and you need the proper length nails to penetrate the decking by 3/4" to prevent the same issue from happening again. Expansion and contraction from varying temperatures will cause the nails to move and break the caulking seal leading to leaks.
The only proper fix is installing new ridge cap shingles per the manufacturer's recommendations with the correct length specified nail.
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Photo credit: Owens Corning
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