How To Keep Rain Out of Gable Vent

Attic vents help keep the house in good condition by enabling a proper mix of heat and air. It is possible that a rainstorm that comes with wind can blow into your home through the gable vent. According to experts, here's what you need to keep the rain out of your gable vent. 

The most effective way to prevent rain from slipping through your vent is to add a baffle piece that allows air to move but prevents water from entering. You can also add a deflector to redirect rainwater. These are available in different sizes, so you can buy one to match your vent cover. 

Rain and humidity damage wood, promoting mold and mildew growth and potentially ruining stored items. Keep reading to learn the best way to keep the rain out of your gable vent. 

Reverse double gable close up on luxury single family residential home, How To Keep Rain Out of Gable Vent

What are Gable Vents, and How Do They Work?

Detail shot of roof gable on a newly constucted house showing attic ventilation pane

Gable vents provide passive ventilation for the attic and roof space. This is similar to the way houses are built with two windows. One window on the right and another on the left serve as air entry and exit channels.

If air flows in a straight line parallel to the gable vents, the two vents function as the vent for intake and exhaust (the breeze direction determines this).

As warm air rises through the attic, it will be drawn out by the airflow through the vents. Warmer air escaping from the attic area creates negative pressure, attracting cooler air from the surrounding environment.

Difference Between Gable Soffit, Ridge, and Gable Vent

Gable vents and ridge vents are usually installed above soffit vents. Gable soffits are a typical architectural detail in homes and buildings. They are placed under the roof overhang, which is the roof area that extends past the exterior walls of the building. 

Gable soffits can be installed in various ways, depending on the design and location of the house. The most common installation is when they are installed under a pitched roof, which is typically located at the front or rear of a house.

Whichever vent you install in your attic, make sure the cool air intake is lesser than the exhaust. Be mindful of installing too many exhaust vents as the primary purpose of ensuring proper ventilation would be defeated. 

Gable Vent Leaks [How To Prevent Them]

Attic ventilation detail.

Sealing gable vents is one of the most effective methods of preventing them from leaking. As previously mentioned, the gable vent is a source of ventilation for your home's attic space. But if you are faced with harsh weather conditions that could damage it, you may need to seal the gable vent. 

Here is a step-by-step way to prevent gable vet leaks by sealing. 

1. Measure The Gable Vent

Measure the area of the opening vent where you want to seal. You can do this using a measuring tape. If you know the exact size of your gable vent seal, purchasing the seal is easier.

2. Cut The Sheet to Fit The Opening 

Cut the sheet installed on the gable vent to the desired length using a saw. A piece of polymer-like material or a piece of wood can be used to plug the vent. 

Remember to cut the piece outside the mark to avoid cutting a size that won’t fit. It is better to cut more than less as you can use sandpaper to finish the edges so it fits. 

3. Attach The Sheet

Once the sheet is the proper size for the gable vent, use nails to hold it together. Use a finish nailer to drive screws into the board's edges and avoid using pins to provide stability. 

4. Finishing

After attachment, if the seal is not pleasing to the eye, consider framing it. It will appear more attractive if you add bottom, top, and side frames. Alternatively, sandpaper on the edges can help smoothen it to a fine shape. 

Should You Cover Gable Vents in The Winter? 

Gable of modern house

Close the gable vents if there is a lot of wind-blown rain or snow coming in through them. Just nail a board over the aperture from the inside, and you won't have to worry about creating an airtight seal. Sealing air leaks in your attic floor will prevent conditioned air from being drawn into the attic and causing moisture problems. 

You can leave the vent open during winter. In this period, the temperature is maintained consistently in the building through the roof ventilation. If the vents are closed, the attic area becomes overheated and dry. When the vents are kept open, you keep the roof at a consistent temperature, which helps prevent damage to the roof. 

 Are Gable Vents Intake or Exhaust? 

The gable vent serves as both an intake and an exhaust system. It is possible for high air pressure on the upwind side of the home to push air into the attic.

In the same way,  low air pressure on the downwind side pulls air out of the attic.  If the wind blows perpendicular to the gable vents, the gable vents do both intake and exhaust.  

Do I Need Gable Vents If I Have Roof Vents? 

Typical rooftop chimney with a rain cap and shielding

It makes no difference whether the exhaust vents are ridge vents, gable vents, roof vents, or a combination of these types. Although unvented roofs are functional when appropriately constructed, attic venting is beneficial. Having an excessive amount of ventilation will not cause structural damage. Additionally, airflow aids in drying and mold prevention. 

You must adequately air-seal and insulate the attic floor for any attic venting to function properly. As a result of air movement between the attic and the living space, attic vents are transformed into outlets for conditioned air. 

Solar radiation from the roof should be considered while fixing a vent. Adding gable vents high on the roof can help with the intake of air which can help to reduce the need for further ventilation.

How Do I Cover My Attic Vents? 

There are different ways to cover your attic vents. One way is to use a metal mesh known as a hardware cloth to cover the holes. Hardware cloth is a relatively robust mesh made of heavy-gauge wire that is tough and can resist being damaged.

It has different functions. It keeps pests away and allows air to circulate freely through the vent openings. It is recommended to get hardware cloth with 1/8-inch or 1/4-inch apertures. They are also available in 1/2-inch mesh, but that will be too large to block insects. Avoid buying covers like chicken wire because it has too many gaps. 

Get a ladder to reach the ventilation apertures located along the eaves of the building. Use a flashlight to inspect the holes to ensure they are free of nest debris, animals, pests, or other impediments. Clean the holes if they are not clean to ensure sufficient airflow. 

Measure the surface area to calculate how much hardware cloth you'll need to complete the project. For the mesh to be effective, it must reach at least 1 -inch beyond the margins of the holes. 

Hardware cloth should be cut to size to avoid having edges with sharp protruding ends. Put on a pair of gloves for protection. Nail the mesh to the wood surface every 2 to 3 inches, making sure it is flat against the surface of the wood.

How Do You Keep Birds Out of Your Gable Vents? 

one pigeon in the entrance hole of the pigeon loft

Apart from rain coming in through your vents, you also have to worry about birds like house sparrows or Starlings building a nest in your attic. Keeping birds away from gable vents is relatively easy. There are a few ways to do it, but the simplest way is to use hardware cloths or vent covers.

Hardware cloths are made of metal wire, and they come in many different shapes and sizes. They are easy to install and provide a protective barrier for your home's roofing system.

Click here to see hardware cloth on Amazon.

Vent covers can also be used to keep birds away from gable vents. Vent covers will close any openings on the roof that could allow birds access into the attic or your home.

Should Gable Soffits Be Vented?

Gable soffits are installed to provide attic ventilation and draw cooler air to the attic space. They also help with rainwater drainage, which is essential for preventing leaks in your roof.

Some roofing contractors advise against installing a gable vent with a gable soffit or ridge vent. This is because gable vents obstruct airflow, making current airflow around the attic unevenly.


Roof detail

Gable vents allow the flow of fresh air into the attic. Attic ventilation is a critical component of most buildings, especially residential homes. 

With the steps listed above, you should be able to ensure that your gable vents don't serve as an inlet for rainwater to enter your attic. To read similar articles about attics, check out our related posts. 

Does an Attic Need to be Vented? 

Can You Put a Mini Split Condenser in the Attic? 

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