If you have a gable roof and live in an older house, the chances are that you have ‘wet verge’ roofing. The ‘verge’ refers to the outer ends of your roof above the gable end (the wall above which two verges meet). Traditionally, these areas at the edge of your roof are fixed with mortar in order to prevent water ingress and pests such as birds nesting in your roof. Roofs rendered with mortar for these purposes are what we refer to as ‘wet verges’.
There’s no doubt that mortar does the job it’s built for; it stops pests getting into your roof and will stop water leaking through too. The real problem with mortar lies in its durability. Mortar naturally deteriorates over time due to weathering caused by facing the elements and the natural movement within a building structure, which can dislodge the mortar. This leads to cracks in the mortar which can lead to the problems it’s meant to prevent. It can also leave your roofline looking quite unsightly.
Mortar requires regular maintenance to keep functioning, such as repointing. Unfortunately, this isn’t the sort of task you’re able to carry out in an hour on a Sunday afternoon – it often requires scaffolding to be erected which can be costly. There is no way to stop the deterioration of mortar, which means the only guarantee you get from it is maintenance costs further down the line.
Thankfully, mortar isn’t the only option for preventing water ingress and pests in your roofing. ‘Dry fixing’ is an increasingly popular roofing option which allows for the weather and pest-proofing of your roof without the need for mortar.
Dry verge roofing makes use of interlocking caps that fit over the edge of your roof tiles, and offers an effective and, more importantly, durable alternative to wet verges.
Dry verge caps are usually made of plastic, which in itself offers some distinct advantages. The most obvious advantage is plastic’s durability; plastic verge caps should last you at least 10 years and require a fraction (if any) of the maintenance associated with mortar. Essentially, you won’t need to worry about your roof leaking in or any pesky birds nesting in your roof!
Plastic’s durability also means that your roof will look better for longer. It’s a bit of a myth in the building trade that traditional materials such as mortar look better on older houses and that plastic can be a bit ‘impersonal’ and ‘cold’. This isn’t the case; plastic offers a clean finish that is guaranteed to last. With more and more homes adopting dry verge systems, your roofline won’t stick out like a sore thumb either.
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 distinct advantages regarding ventilation. They are fitted so that some air is allowed to enter, thus providing the natural ventilation a roofline requires to not get damaged by the elements.
If your mortar is starting to look a bit shabby, don’t waste your money on expensive repointing that will only last for a few years – look at investing in dry verges instead. You can buy dry verge caps from various outlets, but given the nature of the job we’d recommend calling in the experts for proper installation.
What is a dry ridge system? Dry ridge refers to a method of mechanically fixing ridge tiles or hip ridge tiles to a roof without the use of traditional sand and cement mortar. If you are looking for the cost of fitting dry ridge it can be found via the link or at bottom of the page.
Dry ridge, rather than relying on mortar for a bond, instead employs a dry fix system that typically uses screws – often stainless steel – to attach clamps between the joints of every ridge tile, clamping them to the roof. Beneath these screws are waterproof unions that catch any small amount of direct rainfall and disperse it sideways back onto the roof itself.
Dry ridge system – This gives a brief overview of the dry fix system used to secure ridge tiles. Ridge tiles by their nature sit at the apex of a roof and as such suffer only direct rain strike and not running water.
Does Dry Ridge Roofing Work?
In a word yes. In fact they are now a building control requirement on all new roofs since BS 5534 was introduced, although repairs to existing roofs are exempt, as are some listed and period properties under the right conditions. The benefits of a dry ridge system are as follows.
Will not blow off – There are many things that can affect the lifespan or bond of mortar bonded ridge tiles. Dry ridge however (as long as it has been installed correctly) will not blow off under normal conditions, greatly reducing the risk from storm damage. No more ridge tiles landing on the floor, car or conservatory after high winds.Maintenance – Unlike mortar there is nothing to maintain, mortar mixes will degrade over time, sometimes prematurely.Ventilation – Dry ridge provides discreet ventilation of the roof space and helps to stop any harmful buildup of condensation, as described on my roof ventilation page.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.