“Honey, you’d better come home — there’s water coming out of the ceiling…”

I noticed a couple of drips in the parlor on Wednesday — Day One of Seattle’s fall monsoon season — but since it didn’t more than drizzle yesterday I couldn’t really check up in the attic to tell where it was coming from. Today it rained harder and longer, and Jen (who had only a half day at work today) called me at about 2:00 to say that the dripping was a lot worse.

I got home, went up in the attic, and fairly quickly discovered the source of the leak. The attic venting “system” in our house is six hooded vents spaced along the sides about three feet up from the eaves and a ridge vent. The vent over the parlor had an obvious area of wet rockwool underneath it, so even though I couldn’t see any active dripping in the ten minutes I was up there that was obviously the source.

I had to make a trip to Home Depot to get an extension ladder, and then climbed up on the roof in the pouring rain to find something looking almost exactly like this:

… Except with moss instead of straw. There were two problems: the nails in the bottom edge were missing or loose, and from the inside I could see daylight along the bottom of the vent, so wind-driven rain could easily get inside there; second, a careless roof repairman at some point had tossed away a scrap end of a shingle which had hung up on the top side of the vent, allowing moss to grow and water to pool up.

I had half a tube of sticks-in-the-rain squeezy tar left over from Nate the Handyman installing the bathroom vent hood, so I climbed back up the ladder with the tar loaded in a caulk gun and a brick trowel as a scraper. I cleaned out the moss and dirt as much as possible at arm’s length (I stayed on the top of the ladder rather than trying to crawl onto the 45° rain-slick shingle roof), and then squeezed all the remaining tar under the shingles and edges of the hood.

I guess it worked, since it continued to rain hard for another three hours or so and there’s no more dripping. Someday when we have money again (ha!) we’re going to need to have the roof completely stripped and re-laid, since apparently there’s more roofing than sheathing at this point.