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What Is A Dead Valley Roof? & How To Fix It

Posted on February 1, 2023

Estimated Reading Time : 6 Min.

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What Is A Dead Valley Roof (& How To Fix It)

A roof is the first line of defense against harsh weather conditions. Your roof is made up of various components, so keeping it in good shape is essential.  The parts of a roof include its shingles, eaves, ridges, and more. 

One crucial area of the roofing system is the valleys. The valley on a roof is an area where two roof slopes meet, form a channel, and direct the flow of water off the roof and into the gutters. Though valleys are a crucial feature of a roof that helps improve your home’s functionality and aesthetic appeal, you have to keep an eye out for issues since this part of your roof is particularly vulnerable. 

In this blog, we will dive into the world of dead valley roofs, which is a common problem most homeowners face at least once. Keep reading to learn what a dead valley roof is, why it’s essential to fix it, and the steps needed to repair it. 

The Problem With Dead Valley Roofs

Usually, most homeowners are aware of valleys on their roofs, but most fail to understand what a dead valley is on a roof. This is also one of the most common questions our team receives.

A valley is a low-lying area on a roof structure that is formed where two sloping roof sections meet. Valleys are an essential component in roof design, but a dead valley is the type of valley that you should be concerned about.

When two slopes of a roof meet, but the valley created is flat, water cannot run down and off easily toward your gutter systems. This is called a dead valley because the flow of water is disrupted, and the water is not directed properly toward the gutters. A dead valley or a flat valley on a roof can be caused by poor installation, wear and tear, or a lack of maintenance. It can also occur if the shingles that you install do not meet the right standards of quality. 

On a dead valley within a roofing system, water accumulates and ponds in the valley, and can cause damage to the structure of a roof and even seep into the home’s interior.

When Is The Dead Valley More Common? 

A dead valley is a feature that you should be aware of so that you can take proper steps to treat the problem. A dead valley occurs where parallel or opposing roof slopes meet. This problem frequently occurs when a roof has a complex design, or there are more pitches on a roof than usual.  

Why Do You Need To Take Care Of A Roof With A Dead Valley? 

A dead valley is an issue that you may hardly notice at first. On the surface, your roofing system may seem to be performing optimally. However, if you do not inspect your roof regularly, then parts of a roof, such as dead valley, may begin to cause serious issues. 

Here are some of the problems that dead valleys can cause to your roof and your home: 

Standing Water/Ponded Water

If you notice water damage or water stains on your ceilings, walls, or floors, it is possible that you have a dead valley on your roof. The accumulation of water in the valley may be the cause of leaks that are seeping into your home, causing water damage.

The accumulation of water in the valley creates standing water that attracts mosquitoes, insects, and other pests. These insects will breed and lay eggs that may lead to potential health risks for you and your family since mosquitoes carry and spread diseases.

Increased Chance Of Roof Leaks 

One of the major problems of a dead valley roof is that it increases the chances of your roof leaking. If you are a homeowner living in Tulsa, then you are no stranger to the problem of roof leaks and the damage they can cause to your home.

Though roof leaks can occur for multiple reasons if you see regular leaks in the same area, or find new leaks that weren’t there before it may be due to the presence of a dead valley. 

If you notice water damage on the interior of your home, it is essential to address the issue as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Contact a roofing professional to take care of this problem. 

Increased Risk Of Mold and Mildew

Leaks can cause water damage to the interior of the home, leading to the growth of mold and mildew. This not only causes structural damage to your home, but it can also pose a health risk to you and your family. Mold is a type of fungus that can grow in damp or humid environments, and it may trigger allergies, headaches, and even respiratory problems.

Roof Sagging

If you notice your roof deck is sagging or rotting, it may be a problem associated with a dead valley roof. The accumulation of water in a dead valley can cause the roof decking to become saturated, leading to sagging or rotting over time. The decking is an essential component of the roof’s structure and supports the shingles. When the decking becomes weakened, it may cause the roof to collapse, causing severe structural damage to your home. 

Roof sagging occurs slowly, and you may need to pay extra attention to spot this problem before it becomes damaged beyond repair. 

Increased Chance Of Ice Dams

A dead valley roof can increase the risk of ice dams during winter. Ice damming occurs due to the temperature difference between the attic and the roof’s eaves. This roofing problem commonly occurs during the peak of winter when the snow melts on the peak of the roof, and the water runs down to the valley, where it re-freezes and starts to back up water. Since the water cannot flow freely off the roof it will begin to seep under the shingles and into the home, causing water damage and leaks.

Dead valley roof
Dead Valley Roof

How Do You Fix A Dead Valley Roof? 

Up to this point, we’ve learned about what a dead valley roof is, and why you should be worried. Now let us move to the next part of our blog, that is, how to fix a dead valley on a roof. 

Though dead valleys are a severe problem, there are some solutions you can take.

Install A Quality Ice And Water Shield

An ice and water membrane is an effective solution to fix a dead roof valley. If you are not aware of what an ice and water membrane is, it is a type of peel-and-stick roofing underlayment that helps protect your roof from the effects of ice dam formation and strong winds.  

These membranes are a long-lasting solution that will help to prevent melting snow from damaging your property and protect your home from water damage during the winter months. You can either install this leak resistance membrane on the entire roof, or only the valleys. For the best results, you can consider installing barriers from GAF or Owens Corning. 

Most states have now made it necessary to install an ice and water shield under the asphalt-based roofing system, so check your local building codes to ensure you have the right type. 

Install Flashing To Protect Roof Valleys 

Another specialized way to protect your roof’s dead valley area is through custom made metal flashing.  Metal flashing is commonly used to protect roof valleys from water damage and leaks. It is made of durable materials, such as aluminum, steel, and copper. 

This flashing material acts as a barrier that directs water away from the roof and enables it to pass through the gutters. It helps create a water-tight seal, which reduces the risk of water damage and leaks. 

Remember that flashing installation is not a DIY job. Hiring a professional roofing contractor ensures that the flashing is installed correctly and that your roof is protected from water damage. 

If you want to learn more about roof flashing, then you can check out our complete guide, called Roof Flashing 101: Materials & Installation

Use Modified Bitumen 

If you want an effective way to treat a dead valley, then modified bitumen is your best option. 

Modified bitumen is a type of roofing material commonly used on flat roof systems. It is a modified form of asphalt roofing that provides superior leak resistance and durability compared to traditional asphalt roofing. 

However, not only can you use high-quality modified bitumen for commercial roofing, you can use it in specific areas on a roof as well, such as the dead valley, to improve water flow and protect your roof from leaks and significant water damage. 

Get The Best Roof Repair Services In Tulsa, OK 

As we have seen, a dead valley roof is a serious problem. The longer you neglect it, the more damage you may be making your home vulnerable to. To avoid this problem, all you need to do is to contact a professional roofing contractor that specializes in roof repairs and can find a dead valley roof solution to keep your roof free from damage. 

A. Fricker Roofing & Waterproofing is an experienced roofing company in Tulsa. We offer the best roof repair services in the area. We assist homeowners in creating beautiful modern homes that not only look good but are durable too. Hiring our expert team will save you time and money in the long run, as a poorly repaired dead valley roof can cause more problems and require additional repairs in the future.

Contact us today at (918) 402-7167 to learn more about how we can help solve all your roofing problems. Don’t wait until it’s too late, protect your home now!

What Is A Dead Valley Roof (& How To Fix It)