If you have a gable end roof and live in an older house, the chances are that you probably have what is known as ‘wet verge’ roofing. The ‘verge’ usually refers to the outer ends of your roof above the gable end commonly an apex.
Traditionally, these areas at the edge of your roof are fixed with a sand/cement mortar mix in order to prevent water ingress and unwanted guest such as birds or bees/wasps nesting in your roof. Roofs rendered with sand/cement mortar for these purposes are what we call ‘wet verges’.
Although there’s no doubt that mortar does the job it’s required to do, it stops unwanted guests getting into your roof and will stop water ingress too. The real problem with sand/cement mortar lies in its durability. Sand/cement mortar will naturally deteriorate over time due to weathering, frost, strong winds etc. Also by the natural movement within a building structure as it usually is built on a wooden structure, which can dislodge the mortar or causing it to crack which can lead to the problems it’s meant to prevent. It can also leave your building looking quite untidy and unsightly.
Mortar requires regular maintenance (usually every few years) to keep functioning, such as repointing. Unfortunately, when it comes to roofing work this is something not everyone can do themselves, such an effective cheap fix can become very expensive and usually will require scaffolding. There is no way to stop the deterioration of mortar, which in turn means maintenance is the only option going forward should you wish to stick with the traditional way.
Thankfully, sand/cement mortar is not the only option for preventing water ingress and pests in your roofing. Same as the dry ridge option for your ridge tiles ‘Dry fixing’ is an increasingly popular roofing option which allows for the weather and pest-proofing of your roof without the need for sand/cement mortar.
Is a dry ridge system the best option?
Dry Ridge is now a building control requirement on all new roofs since BS 5534 was introduced, meaning unless the building is listed or in a conservation area then any new roof must have a dry ridge system. Although repairs to existing roofs are exempt.
The benefits of a dry ridge system are as follows:
Your ridges will not blow off – Dry ridge (if installed correctly) will not blow off in normal conditions, massively reducing the risk from storm damage. This is one of the main reasons it became a building control requirement. No more ridge tiles blowing off onto the floor, your car, your conservatory or more importantly your loved ones after high winds.
Maintenance – Unlike mortar there is nothing to maintain, a dry ridge system effectively leaves your ridges maintenance free.
Ventilation – Dry ridge provides discreet ventilation of the roof space and helps to stop any harmful buildup of condensation.
Movement – Believe it or not roofs move. This can be through vibration (near main roads or train tracks) or through natural expansion and contraction. Dry ridge allows for all types of movement. Your roof is built on a wooden structure, which constantly flexes and moves, a dry ridge system allows this to take place without the cracking and deteriation of traditional sand/cement finishes.
Different types of dry ridge systems
Dry ridge comes in two main ways, although similar to each other they can have their own dedicated fixing systems. As time moves on so does the technology we use and now good dry fix ridge kits are now available that work for both ridges and hip ridges, this is called a universal dry ridge system.
Dry verge roofing is interlocking caps that fit over the edge of your roof tiles and are screwed into the structure of the roof sometimes with the buildup of roofing laths. This in turn offers a much more effective and more importantly, durable alternative to wet verges.
Dry verge caps are made of plastic, which offers some obvious distinct advantages. The most obvious advantage is durability, the plastic verge caps should last you a minimum of 10 years and require very little maintenance in comparison with sand/cement mortar. In effect you won’t need to worry about your roof leaking in or any pesky birds, bees or wasps nesting in your roof!
Plastic’s durability also means that your roof will look better for longer, you will usually get a 10 year colour fast guarantee from the manufacturer. Plastics can offer a clean finish that is guaranteed to last. With times changing and more and more homes adopting the new dry verge systems, your roofline won’t stick out like a sore thumb as a dry verge system looks well alongside plastic roofline.
It goes without saying that dry verge roofing offers all the roofline protection required just as, if not more, effectively than wet verges. Opting for dry verge caps also offers some extra advantages regarding ventilation. They are fitted so that some air is allowed to enter the roof space thus providing the natural ventilation a roofline requires to not get damaged by the elements.