When a roofer comes out to inspect your roof or assess storm damage, they’ll often start by looking at the ridges and valleys. There is a good reason for this. Roof ridges and valleys are generally the first parts of your roof to suffer damage. Sometimes, damage in these areas is overlooked by homeowners and perpetuates for years before anyone notices there’s a problem.
If you know what to look for, you can do a better job of protecting your roof or seeking repairs as soon as they’re needed. Keep reading for an in-depth look at roof ridges and valleys, how they are constructed, and why it’s so important to keep them in good repair.
How Roof Ridges and Valleys Are Protected
Water tends to run down your roof and settle into the valleys when it rains. These valleys can flow like a river during a big storm. Roof ridges, however, take the brunt of the wind during a wind storm. They also suffer a lot of wear and tear when hit by wind-driven rain.
Shingles alone don’t offer enough protection for a roof ridge or valley. Shingles are covered in granules, and water slowly dislodges these granules as it runs over the shingles. If a roof valley is only covered in shingles, those shingles will soon lose their granules. Soon after, your roof will start leaking. Roof ridges suffer similar issues when roofed with shingles alone.
Roofers use “extra” materials when roofing a valley or ridge to avoid premature shingle deterioration. This extra material is called flashing. Flashing is essentially sheet metal that has been cut and bent to fit securely in the roof valley or over the ridge. The flashing is secured to the roof deck before shingles are laid in the area. The shingles are partially layered over the flashing. This way, if any water does work its way under the edges of the shingles, the flashing still forms a barrier between the water and your roof deck.
The Consequences of Damaged Valleys and Ridges
Flashing makes roof valleys and ridges more durable and weather-resistant. But even flashing can become damaged over time. If your roof ridge or valley starts falling into disrepair, it can begin a downward spiral of roof deterioration.
Say your flashing becomes lifted or bent after a harsh storm. Before long, a little water will work its way under the edge of the flashing. Eventually, this water exposure will cause the roof deck to begin rotting. Replacing damaged or rotten roof decking is a major job that requires your roofer first to remove the shingles in that area. Often, once damage extends to the roof deck, you’re looking at a total roof replacement instead of simple repairs.
Damage that begins in a roof valley or along a roof ridge can often spread outward and start affecting the rest of the roof. For example, once a few shingles along a valley lift off the roof surface, the wind has an easier time catching the neighboring shingles. The next time a storm rolls through, you may wake up to a big patch of missing shingles.
Caring For Roof Ridges and Valleys
If you notice early signs of roof damage, report them to your roofer. The roofer can repair your roof valley or ridge before the damage has a chance to spread. Signs of damage in these areas include:
- Shingles that appear lifted, cracked, or peeling
- Flashing that is raised, bent, or significantly rusted
- Discolored or curling shingles along the valley or ridge
Damage to a roof valley or ridge can spread quickly. So, if you notice any of the above signs after a storm or otherwise, contact a roofer ASAP. The longer you wait, the more extensive your repair needs will be.
You can also care for your roof valleys by trimming back any trees that overhang your roof. Fallen leaves and branches sometimes accumulate in roof valleys. They trap water against the roof, which accelerates the deterioration of shingles and flashing in these areas. Also keep your gutters clear. With clear channels, water will drain off your roof more readily, reducing wear and tear on valleys.
Your roof valleys and ridges are constructed to resist wear, but they are still some of the most vulnerable parts of your roof. Damage in these areas can spread rapidly and become a significant issue if not addressed. Take care of your roof valleys and ridges, and contact your roofer at the first sign of damage. Your roof will repay you with more years of security and protection.
If you’re looking for a roofer in the Grand Rapids, MI area, contact Moore and Sons Roofing. As a local, family-owned business, we put our customers’ needs first and consistently deliver high-quality results.