Roof began failing after 2 years

At the time that we had our roof replaced we had no leaks and roof and decking were in good condition with the exception of some hail damage. My late husband worked with the contractor and insurance company. A week after the insurance company came to inspect we got our first leak. It was isolated to one area over the dining room. I reported to the insurance company and they re-inspected.

The contractor convinced my husband to go with Ridge vents and he agreed. My husband passed away a little over a year after the work was completed. Several months later, barely 2 years after the roof was installed, I came home from church one Sunday evening to discover a steady drip in the doorway that separated the kitchen and dining room. I called the contractor and he said, it’s the turtle vents, I’ll send someone out. He did and paid an invoice that stated "installed Turtle Vents for $275.

A few mistakes on our part. 1) My husband made the decision based on the sound decking to not tear off the first roof. 2) When the contractor mentioned the Turtle Vents, I should have recalled that my husband had told me that the contractor had suggested to add ridge vents and to “eliminate the turtle vents”. However, I had just lost my husband and my memory was scattered for the next year.

When the next leak sprang up (again over the dining room), I tried to contact the contractor again as I previously had done. I left a voicemail and the next day I got a call from a receptionist/admin/secretary. She abruptly informed me that I was no longer under warranty and even refused to send someone out to tarp the roof. I asked her to have the contractor call me. Still to this day he has not contacted me. Because of the lapse in time, I felt my best bet was to file a complaint with the better business bureau. During this time I began to do my research and began to put the pieces together.
The attic space on this section of the house runs the full expanse of the rear of our home which includes the garage, hallway, kitchen, and dining area. Originally there were 3 turtle vents above the kitchen (confirmed by my insurance paperwork). and dining area, and the garage had 2 gable vents.

When the leaks sprung up after only 2 years the Contractor re-installed 2 of the turtle vents. The gable vents were also not covered up.

So I finally forced myself up into the attic. (I get very nervous with heights and the attic is accessed by a ladder made of odd and end wood in the garage where the ceilings are 20 feet high, in addition, the garage area is the only space that has plywood laid out. Therefore, to get to the area where the turtle vents are you have to maneuver over the rafters). Based on what I discovered, I have now concluded that the when the turtle vents were removed that they contractor failed to cover the holes with any plywood. This is based on the third vent that was not reinstalled.

The contractor is now claiming that my husband decided not to reinstall the turtle vents and that he’d warned him that they could possibly leak and that it wouldn’t be covered under warranty. He also claims that the house had poor ventilation prior to the roofing job. And that we’d had multiple leaks over the dining room and near the fireplace. (The fireplace is in the kitchen and there was not any leaks here until a month ago).
And his final claim is that everything was done to code.

Based on my research my original issues were 1) by not removing the original roof that he’d immediately voided the manufacture warranty (Yes, I know that we were not likely to get 30 years but that is what we thought we were purchasing 2) The attic space was improperly ventilated due to the multiple types of vents installed. 3) The existing roof had never had any leaks and was only 15 year shingles that lasted 21 years. Where in contrast these were 30 year shingles that began to show signs of leakage after only 2 years. 4) My electric bill has increased from average of $250 a month to $400 a month. 5) The turtle vents shouldn’t have been reinstalled. 6) That the job was not done to code, based on the fact that the code basically just referred back to manufacture’s warranty.

However, upon further inspection, I now suspect that the turtle vents were poorly installed (when they were reinstalled) and I also think that the ridge vents were not installed properly. There are three ridge vents.

Can you please look at the pictures and give me some honest feedback and professional opinions? I would greatly appreciate it.

In addition, prior to realizing that I had an issue with poor ventilation, the ceiling in the garage had begun to peel away. Then a few months ago, I noticed that the sheet rock tape in my foyer was beginning to buckle and show signs of peeling. Anyone ever seen where poor ventilation has caused this? I couldn’t find anyone stating this but it seems to make sense that this could happen, especially with the humidity and excessive heat in the attic.

This brings up a whole new issue because I have no way of accessing the attic space over this section of the house. The foyer is 2 stories located at the front of the house. The hatchway in the upstairs linen closet only allows someone to poke their head up and therefore I can’t tell if the ridge vent over this section was installed properly, but from the outside it appears that the turtle vents were never eliminated on this section. Therefore, I am suspecting that the combination of turtle vents, ridge rents, and gable vents are likely causing a ventilation issue, but so far no leaks have appeared over this section.

Sorry this is so long, but I really need so knowledgeable eyes on the pictures of the ridge vents.

Ridge Vent #1 `

IMG_1122

Ridge Vent #2

Ridge Vent #3

Turtle Vent not installed IMG_0889 (1)

Turtle Vents reinstalled- Inside View IMG_0962 (1)

Turtle Vents reinstalled - outside view Turtle vent top

Gable Vents

Soffit Vents

Sounds like a number of bad decisions were made including the choice of Contractor. 2 year workmanship warranty? Most are 5 years. I’d try to find a reputable contractor in the area to come out and inspect your roof. And repair it if possible. You may also wish to file a complaint against the original contractor with the States Attorney General. That will get a response for you.

Is it possible that the turtle vents were at one time connected to ductwork such as a shower exhaust fan, kitchen exhaust fan, dryer room exhaust fan, or dryer exhaust, but are now venting moisture into the attic?

I would start by accounting for each of these items, determine if any of them are exhausting into the attic, and report back.

Also, does it leak without presence of rain or snow on roof, if so, probably a condensation issue.

Active condensation leaks are most common after long cold spells and a quick warm up…

No, the duct work is not in the attic. It is in the basement and crawl space. No, it has only leaked during times that it rained. The decking around the turtle vent has clearly been compromised whereas the decking over the garage appears sound. The nails in the sheathing are not rusted in the garage area or the hallway. I would assume that they are near the turtle vents but I didn’t climb over the rafters to inspect them. I have seen no signs of the condensation in the attic and the leakage is isolated to the dining room, and just past the doorway into the kitchen, and around the fireplace in the kitchen. No additional leaks on sheet rock or sheathing in the remainder of the kitchen, hallway, or garage area. Look at the picture taken of the in reinstalled turtle vent from inside the attic.

No signs of active condensation only leakage around the turtle vent that was reinstalled and black mold further back in the attic. When the contractor didn’t come out to tarp the roof, I had someone place a five gallon bucket in the attic. It didn’t stop raining for over a week and we collected almost a gallon of water in the bucket. When the rain stopped we were able to tarp the roof. No further damage to the sheet rock since then.

Actually his warranty was only for 1 year. I am currently collecting estimates and getting recommendations.

Can I get your opinion on the Ridge Vent installation? The pictures that I’ve found online appear to be nice clean cuts that span the majority of the ridge. Mine do not look like that at all and only cover a few feet.

Nailing over an existing shingle roof is not a good idea.
It can be done if the pitch is right
And all walls and protrusions need to be treated as new.(not nail-over style)
You keep using the words re-attached turtle vent.
I believe the roofer did not remove and
re-attach the vent.
He just went up and around it.
Those vents are so flimsy.
He didnt put new shingles under it.
He would have destroyed the vent trying to roof it correctly.
A simple, cheap item to replace.
They were just idiots knowing they were giving a 1year warranty. Ughh

It might not cost you too much of an arm and a leg to Replace the turtle vent areas.
One needs decking replacement for sure.
I’d be concerned with the roofing against the wall too. But it might last a long time.

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Turtle vents should never be connected to exhaust ducting or pipes. I know they are much more frequently than I’d like to see. Those should be Broan, Gooseneck or Exhast Cap vents. I’m guessing that’s not the issue here, based upon how it was described. But it’s possible. I would hope that roofer wouldn’t be stupid enough to remove exhaust vents and deck over them leaving the exhaust to vent into the attic.

I agree completely; Turtle vents are not to be used for ducts, but they overwhelmingly are in my area. I also wouldn’t assume these roofers know/care enough not to have taken more shortcuts.

I also agree that another roofer needs to come take a look in person. Based on leaking happening only when it rains and pitch of roof, it should be obvious where they messed up. Sounds like it was leaking over dining room before vents were reinstalled, so maybe another issue.

Nora: Maybe I am not following the story correctly, There is a lot going on here. Please correct me if i am wrong:

  1. New roof Installed with turtle vents over dining room removed and shingled over
  2. roof started leaking over dining room
  3. Same company reinstalled turtle vents over dining room to try to fix leak
  4. Still leaking over dining room

You’ve got way too much going on to troubleshoot remotely, Find an established roofer to look it over…

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Nora,
First of all, I’m sorry you have to deal with a bad contractor after losing your husband and I think there is a special place in hell for people like that.

Second, like Authentic and Dark mentioned , save yourself the frustration trying to get the original roofer back. They obviously don’t do things ethically based on the quality I’m seeing and more importantly the way they have treated you. Be diligent in finding a roofer you can trust and have them address your issues. Try to get an owner out, not a commissioned salesman, and file a complaint against the previous company. I hope things work out for you.

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Yes, exactly right. Only after the turtle vents were reinstalled the water didn’t continue to penetrate the sheet rock below for a long period of time. But when it did it was in the same area. Upon inspection of the attic it appears that the leaking never stopped and therefore that area of the attic has severe damage to the decking in the form of rotten wood and mold. The area of this portion of the attic is 775 square feet. I would estimate that of this area 600 square feet is ruined.

I can easily have another roofer replace this section of the roof. While I feel that this would resolve the leakage problem, I am still trying to determine if there is a problem with the ridge vents. To me they do not look like that were installed correctly. (See pictures from original post). The ones that I saw online were shown to have a portion of the sheathing cut on each side and cuts were clean. Mine do not look like that and it appears that much of the vent is not cut in at all. I would like to get a professional opinion to see if what I am seeing is really a problem. Based on the multiple issues that I’ve had beyond the leakage, including increase in electric bills, and peeling ceilings in areas below these ridge vents, I am concerned about whether or not the ridge vents are able to supply adequate ventilation. And from what I’ve read, if I am seeing what I think I am seeing, then I have reason to be concerned about how this has affected the life span of the shingles on the entire roof. Can you help me by looking at the ridge vent photos and giving me your opinion.

Are you saying that you think he roofed over it and then when I had the leak and he gave me the invoice for “Installing 2 turtle vents”, that he just cut back the shingles where he’d roofed over it?

If you believe that the roofer didn’t remove and later reinstall the vent, as I am claiming that he did on two of the three vents. Can you explain the photograph taken from inside my attic that shows a hole with no vent and no plywood where the third turtle vent used to be?

While it might not cost that much to replace the turtle vents, but why would I do that when there is supposedly a ridge vent. And, yes, I am very concerned about the decking in this area, however, I am also trying to determine if I need to be concerned about the shingles over the entire roof. My concern is because I don’t think that the ridge vents were installed properly.

Can you also please clarify as to what I need to be concerned about “with the roofing against the wall”?

Thanks for your response.

Thank you. I agree with you, much of this is because on this do around I will be handling the hiring of a new roofer and I want to know what I need to know before hand in order to make the best decision. My husband handled the roofing claim, and while I know now that he made a bad decision in not having the original roof removed, I think that this was because he was genuinely a trustworthy person and he believed that the contractor was a professional. Had he known that this didn’t meet the manufacturers instructions, and then would void the shingle warranty then he wouldn’t have agreed to it. I was married to this man for twenty years and I know that he would have cared less if this was ok according to the code, because as an Electrician, he did things above code on many occasions if he felt it was better or safer for the customer.

Thank you for your advise about dealing with an owner and not a commissioned salesman. This is exactly the type of time that I was seeking.

I would like to get your opinion on the ridge vent installation. As I feel that if I am seeing what I think I am seeing then I will need to address this to have the new roofer fix and make it right. Would you mind looking that the pictures and giving me some feedback?

Thank you for your response. I know that there are good contractors out there, and I appreciate your sound advice.

I agree with you, however, just to be clear the reason that I am telling my story and the reason that I am here is to learn from those that are knowledgeable in this area, so that I am keenly aware of all the that I need to know. This will ensure that I hire a contractor that is just as knowledgeable as all you and that will do the job right. Maybe I shouldn’t have put so much emphasis on the issue relating to the leak and the turtle vents. As my primary objective was to get some feedback on the ridge vent installation so that I can address this with the new contractor. \

It is clear that the entire section of the house with the turtle vents will need to be stripped down with new decking, shingles, etc. But do I need to be concerned about the shingles on other areas of the house? I think I do if the ridge vents were not installed correctly, as this would have cause a lack on ventilation, and therefore could have adversely affected the shingles on other areas of the house. Do I need to have 675 sq feet of roofing replaced or am I really looking at 3,000 square foot to redo the entire house?

-The ridge vents you show appear to be cut to the right width (~1-2" on each side of peak depending on vent brand, etc.). Although cuts are a bit sloppy, where they didn’t remove all of the wood, teared instead of cut, etc. You need to get over that and just look at open venting for calculations. It has no effect on appearance or water-tightness.

-The general rule is 1sf total venting for every 300sf of attic space. This is split between intake(soffit) and exhaust(ridge); 0.5sf of ridge venting for every 300sf of attic space and 0.5sf of soffit venting for every 300sf of attic space. Bottom line, if you’re attic is 3,000sf, you will need 5sf of ridge venting and 5sf of soffit venting total. Of course you want this distributed somewhat evenly between different sections, such as house and garage.

-The ridge vent I use, Lomanco OmniRidge, is rated for 1sf of venting for every 8’ of ridge vent installed. Assuming 3,000sf attic space, you would need 40’ of this ridge vent evenly distributed to meet code minimum.

-To look at it another way, 3 turtle vents are equivalent to 8’-12’ of typical ridge vent, so my guess is that you at least have way more venting than you had before.

-The venting will start and stop depending on what is on the roof. For instance, I will stop about 1’ from a valley or penetration. While it may appear to be random from the inside, there may be something on the roof that prevented a section of ridge from being vented.

-If you have even half that with good air-sealing from living space and no roof leaks, you should be fine. Your problem is that you have roof leaks and probably exhaust vents leaking into the attic that is overwhelming your attics ability to vent the moisture.

Hope this helps, good luck.

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Thank you so much for this useful information. It was very helpful. I can of course get over the sloppiness as long as I could verify that the vents were cut in and able to provide the airflow necessary.

What if the vents are only cut in on one side and not both? Of the three ridge vents, none of them are cut in on both sides, although it appears that they started to cut some areas in on both ,they only succeeded in a few inches here and there. That is where the really sloppy cuts appear.

My final question is about the ridge vent over the garage. One of the outside pictures show that the is attic space has gable vents. Should the gable vents be blocked off? They are located right at the ridge.

Thanks again for all the useful information.