Tag Archives: ridge closure strips

My 22 Year Old Morton Building Roof Leaks

My 22 Year-Old Morton Building Roof Leaks

Reader TERRY in EVANSVILLE writes:

“Dear Pole Barn Guru, we have a 1989 Morton building. The roof was replaced in 2000 due to flaking and peeling paint. Since then, the headers over our large north and south doors have deteriorated, and the barn is leaking on the entire stretch of north and south walls further deteriorating the wood at the top and consequently the bottom as it runs down. I believe this has been happening since the roof was replaced …taking this long for us to notice the damage. I was told that there is a condensation problem. But, water runs from the ridge to the eave. We can see stains on the trusses. There are two places where water has dripped in the middle of the barn. I went up on the roof and inspected the ridge. Appears as though the ribbed metal has been over tightened about every 2 to 3 ft. in a 140 ft. span. In light rains we do not see water running down the walls, in heavy blowing storms, the water runs enough that I have videotaped it. Any words of wisdom or insight to what you think is going on would be greatly appreciated. I’ve been dealing with Morton since March of 2020 with not much success. Also, just a side note… one of their people stopped by in 2016 to look things over…at that time he said he could not adjust the doors. But…gave a $10000 estimate to rebuild, instead of looking into why there was a problem. I think if we had done the repair we would be facing a similar problem today, as the problem seems to have grown worse. Thank you in advance!”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru says:

You could have a plethora of different issues going on.

Start by process of elimination –

Is there a form fitted closure strip under each side of your ridge cap? If you have light coming through the ridge during daylight, then no. Easiest fix, if none, would be Emseal https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/03/emseal-self-expanding-sealant-tape-closures/

2) Check for leaks. Get a garden hose up on your roof – start by running water at eave lines and have someone inside yell when a leak is found. You only have to do this test on a small portion along your eave line. Pick a spot where interior water stains are greatest. Gradually work your way towards the ridge line. Leaks can usually be fixed by replacing the original screw by one of longer length and larger diameter.

3) Once the above two have been either ruled out or repaired, your problem is condensation. Stains on trusses and purlins are typically a giveaway to this being an issue, especially if they seem relatively consistent from eave to ridge and along length of building. Short of replacing roof steel with a product with an Integral Condensation Control factory applied (read more here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/09/integral-condensation-control-2/), your solution is not inexpensive – have two inches of closed cell spray foam applied directly to underside of your roof steel.

The Grandparents Pole Barn: Leaky Ridge Caps

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!