Preventing Roof Leaks 2: Leaks In The Valley
Roof leaks are a very damaging problem that can cost you thousands of dollars. In this series “Preventing Roof Leaks,” we are helping you to curb the problem before it happens by recognizing the warning signs of a failing roof and taking care of it before it gets critical. Last week we discussed plumbing pipe boots, this week we would like to tackle another very common roof leak area, valleys.
Valleys are the areas in the roof where two sections come together and form a “valley” shape. The valley is instrumental in channeling huge volumes of water into the rain gutter system. Due to the volume of water that travels through this area of the roofing system it is prone to be one of the most probable leak areas. Some of the common causes for this are:
- Improperly installing the roofing shingles.
- Older shingles curling or cracking in the valley.
- Not using underlayment or leak barrier in the valley.
- Wind driven rain being pushed up under the shingles.
- Build up of debris such as pine needles, moss and branches.
Here is a short video from Roofers.911 that shows the fundamentals of locating a valley leak in your roof.
All of the situations above are very common and also can be avoided by a few simple preventive steps.
Securing the valley with leak barrier membrane
Utilizing underlayment or leak barrier membrane in the valley is an important step to waterproofing your home. For pennies on the dollar more than you would pay for a bare-bones roofing system you can add leak barrier peel and stick membrane. This membrane is a rubberized (SBS) product that self adheres to the roof deck and is thicker than your typical #15 or #30 roofing felt paper. Leak barrier in the valley can catch wind driven rain that sneaks under your shingles and prevent it from creating damage and rot to the wood sheathing.
Ultimate valley protection: Valley metal
Valley metal is another very effective way of waterproofing a valley. Purchasing this extra system component can cost you a little more money than a standard system but brings a solid assurance that your valley is not going to leak. The most typical applications is using a “W-valley metal. This is a 26 gauge piece of painted steel that can color match your shingles with brown or black options. It is 24″ wide and can be ordered in wider sizes such as 36” to provide great protection. There is a “V” shape protrusion in the center which helps prevent build up of debris and channels water to the rain gutter system. Its difficult for debris to build up on the metal due to the slippery surface. Using valley metal is a very wise investment especially in heavily wooded areas.
Seal your valley roofing shingles with roofing cement
Another great way to secure your valley is by using roofing cement and sealing the edges of the shingles. This cement is also known as mastic. A popular brand is Fields, which comes in caulking tubes and other containers such as 5 gallon buckets. By placing a thing line of mastic along the entire valley you can create a “damn” so to speak that the water cannot penetrate through. Here is a link to learn more about roofing cement or mastic.
The simple fix, maintain your roof
The simplest way to prevent roof leaks in your valley is to maintain your roof with an annual cleaning. Depending on the surroundings of your home and the density of overhanging trees and vegetation you might need to have your roof and gutters cleaned once or twice a year. In some climates having an inspection every few years is adequate. Brooming your roof off once a year will preserve its integrity by removing possible water damning issues. You can also prevent moss build up by applying products like Moss-B-Gone. This product can be applied in either a powder form along the valley so rain will wash it down or mixed into a liquid form and sprayed over the roof. Another option is purchasing an algae seal for your shingles. This product typically comes with a warranty and prevents algae growth and discoloration.
By instituting a regular maintenance program to upkeep your roof you can add valuable years of “roof life” and prevent costly damages. Remember that safety always comes first! If you cannot safely inspect your roof or clean it your self it is worth it to hire a professional.
If you are in the Puget Sound region of Washington State and are in need of roofing services contact Chase Construction North West, Inc. today. We have been providing our region with expert commercial and residential roofing services for over 13 years. We provide services in Seattle, Tacoma, Federal Way, Renton, Auburn and all of the surrounding cities. Fill out our free estimate form or call us today at 253-445-8950.