Snow Country + pine needles = bad idea?

I’m in the middle of re-roofing my large colonial near Boston. I hope to avoid roof damn problems but I seem to know more about ventilation than my roofer. He planned to install Cobra Exhaust Vent down the ridgelines but my understanding is that ShingleVent II or Snow Country plus continuous soffit vents are the ideal. However, I have two large long-needle pines near the house; one in front and one in back. I’ve read that these high volume vents can collect needles, which I assume would compromise their effectiveness. I can’t see how these would ever get cleared. Would switching to something like VentSure be a reasonable compromise? Any comments on how effective this product works in New England? I’d still be able to obey 1/300 rule. Also, must cap shingles be hand nailed with high volume vents? I don’t think he’s ever installed it before.

I meant to say “ice dam” not “roof damn” above. Still, any advice is appreciated since the ridge vent goes on in two days. Assume I have adequate soffit vents (I can specify 4x16 Air Vents) but that the roof
is going to get plenty of long pine needles, should I:

  1. install GAF Snow Country or Owens Corning VentSure
    & 2) if Snow Country, must this be hand nailed? Thx.

Me again. To be more specific, I’m referring to Owens Corning VentSure Rigid Roll. It seems like my contractor is a) more familiar with installing this then the rigid Snow Country vents and b) it may be less susceptible to clogging with pine needles. But if it doesn’t draft correctly then maybe I should just go with the Snow Country and send someone up to clean it once a year?


Your roof needs maintence at least twice a year. It does not matter what product you install.

You need to have the pine needles cleaned off your roof.

We are also in the Boston area and have seen this problem first hand. Had the rep from Shingle vent out and everything before. In short why not just use GAF Cobra ? it is a safe choice as I have installed thousands of feet of it right on the ocean with zero problems and pine needles cant clog it.

My main concern is ice dams which might not be as big an issue on the coast. We had major problems last year and from my research it seems like the best defense is a cold roof. I spoke yesterday with a contractor who specializes in ventilation issues (moisture & mold in the attic, etc.) and he says the rigid, high volume vents are superior to anything that comes in a roll. Mainly he’s making an argument for the external baffles that are part of the ShingleVent II design (and apparently copied by Snow Country.) I didn’t ask him about the pine needle problem as I wasn’t aware of it at the time. Is there consensus that a product like VentSure Rigid Roll will provide adequate ventilation against ice dams in cold climates (assuming adequate soffit venting) and that ShingleVent II type designs are overkill?

The design are not overkill. There is science behind the engineering of the product. Will Cobra work? Maybe… I just don’t like the product so I am all for the ‘rigid’ vents. Five minutes with a leaf blower and the vents are pretty clear.

I just looked at various vents before picking one for my roof. I picked shingle vent 2 but I don’t have any pine trees around my house. The SV2 has an exterior baffle that will trap a lot of pine needles. it uses a fiberglas inner baffle so the needles won’t get inside the roof but they will probably pile up on the exterior baffle trough and block the airflow. I think coravent V600 style might be better for pine needles, it has smaller holes and no exterior trough to catch the needles…DaveB

Thanks everyone. I essentially got the same advice RooferR gave from my local ventilation contractor; get up in the attic with a leaf blower every so often and blow out the needles from the inside. I’ll be going with the rigid vents. Thanks!

P.S. If anyone in the Boston area would like the name of the ventilation contactor who gave me advice, send me a private message and I’ll respond.