Leak at valley/wall intersection

An acquaintance of mine had this home built a year ago. She had leaks right away, which they came out and “fixed” last summer. Last month (cold and icy here in SW Ohio) she had leaking in the same area.

The leak is happening under the left front side of the garage gable. Looking at the design here, which creates a river up against the house, I’m not surprised. My first comment to her was that with this design, the builder would have to create a very robust system at that intersection if they didn’t want to expect leaks. I have a feeling they just have a “normal” roof wall intersection there.
Here’s a picture of the cricket or diverter they installed after the leak. This is at the front of the house, left side of the garage gable. It’s super flimsy to the touch.

From the inside, looking under the same area, I could see daylight. There weren’t any birds in the attic yet, but the hole is just the right size, my little chickadee. The drywall (garage ceiling) under my glove was puffy from moisture.

Here’s a closer shot of the valley in question. I’ve pointed to one nail I saw right through the face of a shingle. At least slap some tar and roof granules on that to hide your shame - jeesh! I also wonder about the bulged siding - probably detached at that point. Also worth mentioning is the upper downspout emptying out into just about the worst spot on this roof to add extra water.

Another thing I didn’t like was no insulation in the attic above the attached garage. Now, the garage is not a heated space, so maybe it isn’t required, but I’ve got to think it wouldn’t be/have been a bad idea. Especially since the builder is saying her problem is ice damming and that is a “natural” thing. There is very little ventilation of this space - just a total of 2-3 feet of vented soffit under the stubby gutters on either side of the garage. As is, it’s an ice dam manufacturing facility. Would it be out of line for her to tell the builder they need to install a few feet of ridge vent, $6 worth of baffles to keep the soffit vents clear, and blow in a foot or so of insulation? The attic hatch was a chute/bucket of plywood at least that tall, so somebody was thinking they were going to be putting insulation in there.

Pretty comfortable that there are things here that aren’t “best practice”, but I’m wondering if the builder would just say this is within acceptable practice or requirements. I’m thinking she’s probably going to need a lawyer if she wants them to do more than another caulk job. Speaking of which …


I see a lot of common issues, including poor roof design.

Where do you wish to begin? My recommendation is to have a competent contractor write up everything that’s wrong (to fix the leak and other issues properly) then take it to the builder to see what they think and then consult with an attorney to see what can be done to force the builder to remedy or pay the bill if the builder refuses to assist. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to force a shady builder to do anything.

This is the reason every buyer should always retain services of a competent home inspector to inspect the dwelling before final payment is made to the builder.


In a nutshell… it should all be ripped off and redone beginning with…



poor design made worse by sloppy work, It looks like there was some kind of contest to see which trade could do worse work…I think they will have to start over…tear it off fix the sheathing and flashing first…that siding should be up off of those shingles…and that downspout if it cant be relocated should be extended to the gutter not dumped on the roof in such a vulnerable location…I’m sure there is more but I am tired of typing…

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and You are not going to win on the insulation issue…over the garage is an upcharge buyers choice around here…It’s on her dime if she wants it…

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Like the others have said, there are a lot of issues and need onsite evaluation.
Here is one of many issues, unsupported sheathing most likely pitched towards the sidewall.


Whoever designed that dwelling, should be crucified. I would start there and let the designer battle it out with the builder. In such case the builder designed it, crucify him.


That is some piss poor workmanship and personally, I don’t know if I’d want the same roofer out to “fix it” again.

Ice damning is a “natural” thing — that shouldn’t happen if built right (See the post by Jeffry above). Also as Jim stated above, insulation in the attic area over the garage is optional at an additional cost to the buyer if they want. As for adding vents, my guess is they’ll laugh at her if she tells them to install additional vent in that area, The house has already passed inspection and therefore the builder will tell her that the vent meets minimal standards set forth, not that that makes it right.

I would tell her to document everything and if they don’t fix it and fix it right, she should seek a good attorney. Another option is to have Ray St. Clair, or another company with the reputation of doing it right the first time, come out and fix it and then bill the builder for repairs.

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Thanks for the replies. I appreciate the perspective.
And Kevin, I grew up near the St. Clairs - good people!

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I have done hundreds of IR jobs because of this issue. The primary defect is the gutter discharge. I call out the gutter guy every time. Secondary is wall flashing issues that generally only observable in the interior of the attic. But if you overload the flashing with bad gutter design, they will fail, even if done right.

What’s “Kickout Flashing?”, I hear from roofers, brick layers and gutter guys all the time.
Actually, who is responsible for it’s install? The gutter guy the mason, or the roofer? The gutter guy should not discharge to the roof without one, but the roofer and mason are the ones who needs to install it.


As for ice dam issues, damming is a weather event. If you don’t want leaks, don’t pit the water there. Water will melt at below freezing temps on roofs that have conditioned space below. Water will always freeze on a roof that is not. Insulation has nothing to do with anything, in fact it makes things worse most of the time.

In this case, the downspout can not be seen from the road, and there is no reason not to discharge directly into the lower gutter.

My rule: never discharge water from an upper roof to a lower roof.

Step back and look at the roof and gutter system. How many sq.ft. of roof area is cascading to the ground. Will it overload the lower gutter design?

Water flowing across a roof spreads in an inverted V shape. Will it make it to the eave before it hits an adjacent wall?

You can determine this w/o it raining. Dry staining will occur and give you grounds to call it out.


W style metal valley flashing would go a long way to relieve the runoff reaching the sidewall flashing. Like said, many more issues, starting with very bad roof design.

Agreed, the designer needs to be contacted for solutions/liability.

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