Roof Problems

Valley Gutters


We use lots of sketches and photos in our building surveys surveyors can provide help and advice with regard to property reports, building surveys, structural surveys, independent valuations, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects report, home buyers reports or any other property matters . As you can see from the article below we use lots of sketches and lots of photos in our reports as the feedback we receive from you the client is that these make the reports easier to read and understand and then easier for you to negotiate with the estate agents and finally much easier for you to get the building work done. In addition to this we like to meet you at the property during the survey when we like to talk through what the survey findings are and the format of our report and you can advise if there are any items that you wish us to specifically look at, for example, if you are considering carrying out an extension or loft conversion. Please free phone 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat with one of our surveyors.

Valley Gutters take several forms

Valley gutters come in a variety of different types and styles however they are rarely seen from ground level.

Valley gutter


What is a Valley Gutter?

Valley gutter defined

A valley gutter is where two main roofs meet or where there is a change in roof direction.

Valley gutters are generally considered to be a problem area. The valley gutter problem areas can be made worse where there are surrounding trees and associated leaves and branches that can block the valley gutters up.


What can I do with problem valley gutters?

The easiest thing to do is to carry out regular maintenance on them and keep them clean particularly during the Autumn months.


Valley gutter needs to be kept constantly clean otherwise water will get into the structure

Valley gutters - common problems
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Valley gutters take many forms

Valley gutters are where two main roofs meet each other or where there is a change in roof direction. The main valley gutter that we come across which has problems is where two pitched roofs meet each other.

Examples of valley gutters


Central Valley Gutters

Valley gutter where two pitched roofs meet

Close up of valley gutter where two pitched roofs meet


Valley gutter

Close up



Central valley gutter

Close up of valley gutter

Drainage in central valley gutter in this case it goes through the parapet wall down onto another roof


Two shallow pitched roofs going into a valley gutter

Small valley gutter which is likely to get blocked


Change of Direction Valley Gutters

Change of Direction valley gutter

Valley gutter to a bow window

Close up of previous valley gutter


Change of direction valley gutter although it is with chimney and part of building

Close up of valley gutter

GRP gutter between two concrete tiled roofs


Tiled valley gutter

Tiled valley gutter


Tiled valley gutter discharges onto flat roof



Valley gutter to a bay window

The valley gutters you do commonly see, particularly on Victorian properties are valley gutters where there is a change of direction. The problems that we find with this type of roof depends upon the material it is made from. Traditionally this would have been a lead valley gutter and it still remains on many Victorian properties. However in more modern properties it has been replaced with a pre-made tile and also with GRP glass or reinforced plastic.

Valley gutters to gable and bay windows


GRP - Glass reinforced plastic defined

This is a fibreglass type of material similar to that used for making surf boards and offers a waterproof rigid layer.


Canted bay window

Hidden valley gutter

Difficult to see Valley gutter on bay windows


Valley gutters and

hipped roofs

Often, where there is a hipped roof, there is also a valley gutter.

Hipped roof


What are valley gutters made of?

We prefer to see valley gutters formed in lead, as all other materials seem to deteriorate fairly rapidly and this in turn allows water into the structure.

Lead valley gutter

Lead valley gutter where concrete sides have failed


Tiled valley gutter

Cement repairs to a tile valley gutter

Concrete valley gutter


The valley gutters are GRP.

You can see where the GRP is lifting


The valley gutter needs to have a fall

The following photos were of a hidden valley gutter, the valley gutter doesn't take the water away and doesn't have sufficient fall to do this. Parts of it are covered in debris and silt, etc. It needs to be taken up and re-laid with a suitable fall to allow it to clear of water, etc and check how the valley is sealed beneath the tiles.

Close up of silt and debris sitting in the valley gutter

Another close up

Again, close up of silt and debris sitting in the valley gutter


You may also find the following articles of interest:

Changing quick weather causing spring house problems!

Not so common pitched roofs

Why you have never seen any building surveys or structural surveys like ours

Homebuyers Report or Structural Survey?


Hopper head detail to

parapet wall

The detailing to a parapet wall is essential, such as the hopper head, to ensure that dampness does not penetrate the walls. You need to ensure that it does not get blocked and therefore discharge rainwater onto the walls. The opposite sketch is used in our surveys to illustrate the problem area.

Parapet wall hopper head detail

Do all surveyors look at valley gutters?

In our experience some surveyors will not look at valley gutters if it is difficult. Knowing what problems they can cause we make every effort to actually view the valley gutter itself. I'm sure a Health and Safety Officer would have a lot to say about the ways that we have accessed roofs over the years!


On very left hand corner of this photo you can see the very small roof light that we accessed this roof through. It is essential that valley gutters are accessible to regularly clear and maintain


Underside of the valley


As well as standing on the roof as this is the only way to get a good view of it, you also need to look underneath the roof covering at the roof timbers beneath to see if any dampness is getting in.


Underside of valley gutter is a great place for seeing if the valley gutter is leaking in this case it isn't


When wouldn't you access a valley gutter?

Recently we decided not to access a valley gutter because we could see a lot of broken slate and the building was four storeys in height and it was a windy day. Other than things like this when we use our digital zoom cameras (x16 zoom), we would always access the roof.


Independent Surveyors

If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a building surveyor we are happy to do valuations, building surveys, structural surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects reports, home buyers reports or any other property matters. Please contact us on 0 800 298 5424 to have a free of charge friendly chat with one of our surveyors.

We feel our surveys are quite unique, as they are written to your level of knowledge. The surveys include photos and sketches and definitions. The survey will also include an action required section and an estimate of costs in the executive summary. We are more than happy to meet you at the property whilst carrying out the survey to discuss any specific issues you may have or have a general chat about what we have found at the end of the survey.


Commercial Property

If you are looking for commercial property, whether it is freehold or leasehold, we would recommend a survey as this will prevent dilapidations claims in the long run. You may wish to look at our Dilapidations Website at and for Disputes go to our Disputes Help site , both of which we have been advised are very helpful!

We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).

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