The Grandparents Pole Barn: Leaky Ridge Caps

Pole Barn Guru Blog

Justine is one of the Project Coordinator’s at Hansen Pole Buildings. Earlier this week, she emailed me this:

The pole barn we have at our farm (obviously built by my bf’s grandparents) has issues.  When it snows or rain it leaks along the ridge from one end to the other.  Needless to say I have a straight line on the barn floor from one end of the building to the other of either snow or rain.  It’s interesting to see.  My first thought is they didn’t seal it or something.  How do I fix it?  It is driving me nuts like to the core crazy. I know your laughing right now, go ahead it is funny, yet annoying.

The problem is a fairly obvious one, however not necessarily an easy one to fix. Here is some background….

Three decades ago, when I first was in the post frame industry, most buildings were built with fairly simple techniques. The goal was pretty much “shape and shelter”, anything beyond, was extraordinary.

Following with simplicity, steel ridge caps were originally nailed on – then when screw fasteners became prevalent, screwed on, at the peak of the roof. Little consideration was given to weather (rain or snow) being blown under the ridge cap and into the building.

In the mid-1980’s the business I owned in Oregon began providing a universal closure strip to “fill the gap”. These strips were one inch square open celled foam, with an adhesive pull strip on one side. They were not perfect, as the open cell foam acted like a sponge, and they were not UV resistant, so they deteriorated within a matter of just a few years, but they were at least something.

When my brother and I began constructing pole buildings in the 1990’s, we went to form fitting closed cell closures beneath the ridge. UV resistant, these would keep inclement weather out.

At one time, I had three people working for us, driving around in trucks doing quality control on our up to 35 building crews. Each truck was equipped with field glasses. Field glasses? Yes, so they could look up under the ridge caps to make sure the closures were in place (crews were famous for leaving them out).

When Hansen Pole Buildings purchased what we refer to as the “Production’s Building” (an approximately 30 year old pole building warehouse), it had the same ridge issue as the barn at Justine’s farm. The ridge leaking like a colander!  As the ridge caps were nailed on, the fix for a leaky roof was to place expanding closures beneath the edges of the ridge caps.  This was an easier and less costly solution than destroying the ridge caps and top edges of the steel. When in rolls, these are less than 1/4 of an inch thick, but they will expand to completely fill a void up to an inch thick. Perfect for this fix!

The downside – they have a very sticky black adhesive on them, so prepare to have a mess on your hands!

2 thoughts on “The Grandparents Pole Barn: Leaky Ridge Caps

  1. Paul


    Are these rolls of filler available to the public? I’ve got a steel pole shed that’s doing the same thing. We just moved in an have boxes stored out in the shed while we work on the house. They are getting covered with snow down the middle of the building from the snow drift that blows under the roof cap.

    My dad suggested going up and stuffing fiberglass insulation into the spaces. That seems like it might have more than a few problems.





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