Leak in Valleys on Roof

Old 02-08-05, 03:00 PM
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Leak in Valleys on Roof

Hello my dad was wanting me to post about a problem we had in December with 20+ inches of snow that we had. Our house was built in 1950 by my great grandfather and during the past year my dad has had a new 50 year roof put on, replacing the old asbestos shingles. One thing he questioned when the contractor was putting the new roof on was not taking out the copper valleys, he seemed to think they would be okay if left alone. He used 30# felt paper and put ice shield up 6 feet on the decking including in the valleys so there are 3 layers of protection counting the shingles themselves. When we got all of the snow around the holidays, we had water coming in between the window and the ceiling in 3 of the 4 valley's around the house ruining the plaster in these areas. We could not figure out how this could have happened with the new roof, because the old asbestos roof never had leaked this much, actually into the house, only in a few spots you could only see if you were up in the attic which is why he decided to replace it in the first place. Could it be that since this house has hot water radiant heat piped through the ceiling to manifolds that it is causing the snow to melt even though it was below freezing, then when it gets to the gutter it refreezes causing an ice dam. Incidentally, our home was the only one in the neighborhood with icicles some 5 feet long. Also, our roof is always the first one to have the snow melted off of it to where it is visible, Again we think it is because of the radiant heat in the ceiling, while doing an excellent job of heating the house, could also be the cause of the problem. Attic also has blown in insulation which was done in the late 70's. Also, this house is a ranch style with 4-12 pitch and a hip roof design, with a two and a half to three foot overhang.
Sorry this post was so long, but I felt it was essential to tell you exactly what was going on. Thanks for your time.

Last edited by kinserman11; 02-08-05 at 03:09 PM. Reason: Need to add a remark
Old 02-08-05, 05:34 PM
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Guessing here, as we must without seeing it..........

My opinion is that regardless of the type of heating system you have, I see no legitimate reason why a brand new roof should leak.
It's entirely possible to install a roof, use all new "stuff", and still have it leak. If the old valleys were used, I believe that the roof should have been entirely dried in with the felt first. That would mean removing the valley liners in order to do this. Then there are all sorts of measures that could have been taken to build some "redundancy" into the system, particularly in the valleys, especially if they are "open valleys". It sounds like the snow/ice/water simply migrated sideways between the shingles and valley metal.
At this point you might try sealing between the shingles and the valley metal {if it's an open valley}, but this is likely just a bandaid. I would bite onto the roofer{legally speaking}, and not let go untill it's clear he/she will not correct the situation in a PERMANENT fashion, or it becomes clear you have no way to force him/her to fix it.
I may not be specifically right about the cause of leaking, not having seen it, but again, there's no reason a new roof should leak.
Old 02-08-05, 08:44 PM
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The amount of heat loss in the attic due to a few radiant heat tubes is negligble. They should be covered w/foam pipe insulation anyway, in the attic.
How is this hip roof vented? I think that is the problem. Any condensation?
Old 02-09-05, 10:24 AM
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Another posibility is a problem with the installation of the valleys by the contractor.
Valleys have certain unwritten (some are written) rules or "Standard Practices".

1. Underlayment, full width centered in the valley,
2. No nails within 6" either side of the valley center line.
3. Amount of overlap if installed as a closed valley (rule of thumb...half of a shingle, or minimum 12".
4. In a closed valley situation the section of roof with the greater volume of water or with the higher slope goes on top. (are they backwards?)

A few things to consider....

Good Luck!
Old 02-09-05, 08:02 PM
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It's true that a new roof shouldn't leak. During winter, ice dams can create leaks where there would not be leaks under normal conditions.

In order to do it right, the copper valley should have been removed. Ice and Water Shield is sticky on one side, and needs to be applied directly to the sheeting. If this was not done in the valleys, well, in my opinion, he just created his own problem. The facts are, the roof leaked, ice damming caused water to back up to the point that it bypassed the ice membrane somewhere along the line. This is why roofers insurance premiums are so high.
Old 02-11-05, 05:41 AM
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When I state that a new roof sould not leak , that's what I mean. Are there conditions which can occur which can overide even a redundant roof system? Yes. But when roofing in any specific region of the country, one would think that the guy hired takes into account ALL possibllities given the weather in that region. Roofs installed in the southwest desert area obviously don't require the built-in redundantcy that the Rocky Mountains or the midwest/northeast regions require.
Creeping ice/ice damming is a yearly fact in many parts of the country, and in that regard is not an exscuse for brand spanking new valleys to leak, IMO.
In addition, plenty of leaking roofs have been seen which had all the required elements installed, but due to a near total lack of workmanship were no better than your typical bumsrush job, IME.

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