Doug Horgan

At my company we specialize in high-end remodels—typically large additions or extensive interior renovations—on homes throughout the Washington, D.C., metro area. We invest a lot of time in our clients, placing a high priority on maintaining relationships. As a result, our past clients continue to call us for years and we end up doing many little projects in addition to big ones—whatever it takes to service those past clients. With this business model, we have to continually train our crews and subcontractors on best-practice details. Training, as well as overseeing the quality of work, is largely my role. In this article—the first of a number of articles in which I'll discuss common problems we find and the solutions we train on—I'll look at a troublesome area that frequently gets overlooked: the transition between a steep-slope roof and a low-slope roof.

This is a small but vulnerable spot, and we often see it detailed incorrectly on existing work. Valleys are prone to collecting leaves, particularly if someone sets up an antenna at the base of the valley. The lower roof unavoidably slows down water drainage, and when the valley is clogged, a significant amount of water coming down that valley...

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