The best way to fix any issues with aluminum ridge vents is to completely replace them with Shingle-Over Ridge Vents. Shingle-Over ridge vents are similar to aluminum ridge vents but instead they have a sturdier internal body, and they have a lower profile by blending in with the roof shingles, and uses more air slots to further enhance the ventilation system on the attic.
This image shows the issue with some FRT wood. You can easily notice the weaker structural integrity of some areas versus others that are not FRT treated.
FRT is mainly applied to building materials that include plywood and lumber in order to reduce the probability of the wood to catch on fire. The chemicals found on FRT products reduce the temperature where thermal degradation occurs while simultaneously reducing the amount of flammability.
However over time, the chemicals found in FRT react with the natural fibers of the wood which can result in brittle like conditions which can then lead to a weaker structural integrity that can further result in splitting and cross-grain breaks of wood.
Look for any "fuzzy like appearance
If possible, check for heavy surface cracks in the lumber/wood. Light cracks along the length of the wood are normal.
Look at any metal plates on engineered trusses. Any corrosion of metal plates or white residue can be associated with an FRT problem.
Look for any cracks, splits, or breaks in the dimensional lumber(support like structure)
Ways to help Identify FRT issues
This image shows the replacement of all troubled areas that were previously FRT treated, this is the best way to correct FRT issues.
An external wind baffle is used in shingle over ridge vents to deflect outside air up - allowing an easier extrusion of air coming out of the attic due to a lower pressure over the vent openings. Furthermore, an internal weather filter creates an improved barrier against wind-driven rain, snow, dust, and even insects.
Common Issues | Roofing
How to Resolve FRT issues
If there is no doubt that splitting and/or cracking is due to the failure of the FRT, the only way to truly correct the problem is to remove the existing FRT wood/lumber and replace it with new wood/lumber. Replacing certain areas of troubled FRT and not others may get the job done but it will certainly be only a temporary solution. Whatever areas of FRT that have issues are not repaired, eventually they will have to be, and that means you would have to waste more time and money in going back and replacing the other areas.
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Common Mistakes with Aluminum Ridge Vent
What is an aluminum ridge vent?
In general, ridge vents act like an exhaust for air to escape from your home's attic space. Ridge vents are located at the very peak where the two roof surfaces meet, and they cover the small gap used to allow air to exit. Ridge vents prevent rain, snow, or other debris from entering the attic area.
It may seem unusual to have air escaping from your home and it is a misconception that it lowers energy efficiency. To see more information about how ridge vents improve energy efficiency see our Ventilation page.
Common Problems with Aluminum Ridge Vents
Many builders have installed aluminum ridge vents for new homes between the mid-nineties and 2005. Many common issues associated with these aluminum ridge vents is improper installation and water leaks.
A common mistake with ridge vent installation is using the wrong fasteners. Some contractors and even large builders use roofing nails to fasten the ridge vent to the roof. Nails are not long enough and do not hold well for a secure ridge vent installation; this especially applies because the plywood where the ridge vent is nailed expands, which can result in loosened nails. Screws are a better alternative to properly secure the ridge vents. Another issue is not sealing the fasteners or screws. This causes nails, or sometimes screws to rust and decay which reduces its holding capacity to keep the ridge vent secure in place. A way to seal all fasteners is to use polyurethane sealant or special self-sealing screws.
Water leaks into the attic are a common issue that is due to poor installation. The ends of ridge vents generally require 'end plugs' so that rainfall cannot get beneath the ridge vents and enter the gap leading into the attic area and/or the structural OSB boards that hold the roof together. If water gets inside the ridge vent gap, the OSB boards can rot and decay and there can be other deterioration around the home. Furthermore, if the ridge vent is not properly installed and has a concave (caving in) shape rather then convex (caving out) shape, more water will be retained on the ridge vent and it will travel along the vent and seep through any overlapping vent connections, causing deterioration to plywood. Lastly, high winds can result in a loose ridge vent which can further increase the risk of water intrusion that can cause leaking damage.
How to fix Aluminum Ridge Vent issues
Diagram provided by Air Vent Inc.
How Shingle-over Ridge Vents work
With any common structure, there can be a variety critical factors to keep in mind. When it comes to roofing, a few of the most common issues involve leaks, discolored or missing shingles, cracked or rotted soffits that attract insects, fascias and so on...however a common issue that is not really been explained as much on the internet is the problem with Fire Retardant Treatment (FRT) and Aluminum Ridge Vents.