Why a dry ridge system is the best choice for your roof

Marley dry fix system installed on a housing estate

In any roofing project, safety, ventilation and preventing water ingress are essential considerations. Dry ridge systems are the best choice for a pitched roof because they address all these considerations in a simple, reliable, and cost-effective way, giving specifiers, installers, and homeowners peace of mind.

What is a dry ridge system?

Dry ridge systems use mechanical or dry-fixing techniques – typically, nails, screws, or clips – to attach roof ridge and hip tiles to the top of a roof. Dry-fixing eliminates the need for mortar, resulting in a secure, reliable, and durable roof system.

Dry ridge systems are also designed to provide 5mm continuous roof ridge ventilation. This helps to avoid condensation in the roof void and enables specifiers to meet the guidelines of BS 5250 – the code of practice for managing moisture in buildings – while also preventing rainwater ingress.

Why dry ridge systems instead of mortar?

While mortar has long been used in roofing applications, the material has its downsides and dry ridge systems provide a solution to these issues.

Problem: Roofing mortar is likely to crack and degrade over time which creates maintenance issues for the homeowner, safety issues for the roofers who need to repair it, and potential hazards from falling mortar and dislodged ridge tiles. Many roofing contractors will only guarantee the mortar work for two years.
Solution: Dry ridge systems are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. Being mechanically fixed, they are very secure and, if installed to the manufacturer’s instructions, the risk of failure is very low. A well fitted dry ridge can carry a guarantee of up to 15 years

Problem: Mortar is slow to cure and cannot be used in wet weather or where the temperature is likely to fall below 4 degrees. Mortar which has not set dry can be affected by frost which causes premature degradation, and rain which can leave white staining on the roof which can be difficult and hazardous to remove.
Solution: Because dry ridge systems don’t need to dry or cure, they are quick to install. Providing it’s safe for a roofer to be working at height, dry ridge systems can be installed in any weather, rain or shine.

Problem: Mortar is heavy to transport and can be messy. Roofers carrying buckets of heavy mortar increases the risk of manual handling injuries, slips and falls.
Solution: Unlike mortar, dry ridge systems are lightweight and easy to move from ground level to roof height. This makes installation faster, safer and more manageable, saving time and money on site.

Problem: Mortar requires specialist hand skills which can take years to perfect.
Solution: Dry ridge systems are designed for simple installation. They require no specialist skills or tools. Marley dry ridge systems are supplied with all the necessary fixings, as well as detailed instructions and expert customer support is just a phone call away.

Dry ridge systems and BS 5534

In addition to the other benefits of dry ridge systems, they can also help to meet the guidelines set out in BS 5534.

BS 5534 is a code of practice that covers the installation of slates and tiles to standard pitched roofs in new materials. It aims to raise roofing standards and minimise failures. It states that mortar cannot be relied upon as a sole means of fixing roofing components and recommends the use of mechanical fixings to ensure that everything stays in place during high winds.

Meeting the guidance of BS 5534 is not required by law, but it can help achieve compliance with building regulations and other standards.

Specifying dry ridge systems

When specifying dry ridge systems, or any dry fix roofing products, it’s important to ensure that the product meets the requirements of BS 8612 and/or is BBA certified.

With the increasing popularity of dry fix roofing systems, many new products have been released to the market. Unfortunately, many of these products are inferior and cheaply made, and their poor quality can lead to roof leaks, or products becoming loose or dislodged.

BS 8612 was created for users to identify good quality, fully tested dry fix systems and poor quality, cheaply made ones. Published in 2018, this British Standard establishes performance criteria for dry-fix roofing systems. If a product meets the requirements of BS 8612, it should provide years of reliable service and durability.

While BS 8612 compliance is not legally required, it is enforced by the National House Building Council (NHBC) and has also been included in BS 5534. All of the Marley dry-fix roofing products meet the requirements of BS 8612.

How to install a dry ridge system

Dry ridge systems are easy to install and require no specialist skills or tools. For ease of installation, products are available as complete kits that include everything you’ll need to install the system.

The installation of a dry ridge system will vary slightly depending on the roof type and manufacturer. For example, Marley’s Universal RidgeFast system comprises specialist brackets fixed into place along the roof ridge. Battens are secured over the brackets and then the roof covering is installed up to the ridge line. Ridge roll is then laid along the ridge and fixed in place using nails and the built-in adhesive. Roof ridge tiles are then fixed in place over the ridge roll. For a more detailed explanation, watch the video below or download our RidgeFast installation guide.

What are the benefits of a dry ridge system?

Now that we’ve given a thorough explanation of dry ridge systems, let’s quickly review the numerous advantages that these products can provide:

  • Durability with minimal maintenance – Dry ridge systems should last many years and require minimal maintenance. Marley’s roofing system comes with a full 15-year guarantee.
  • Weather resistance – The mechanical fixings on dry-fix systems are designed to meet the requirements of BS 5534, helping to protect the roof covering from damage caused by wind uplift. Dry ridges are also designed to be weather-tight to prevent any rainwater ingress.
  • Quick and easy to install – Requiring no specialist tools or skills, dry ridge systems offer fast installation and there’s no need for drying times
  • Cost-effective – Dry ridge systems are affordable to buy, and thanks to their easy installation and lighter weight, they cut labour hours on-site, saving even more money.
  • Excellent ventilation – Dry ridge systems provide continuous ventilation at the roof ridge, preventing condensation in the roof void and helping to meet the requirements of BS 5250.
  • Safety and reliability – High-quality dry ridge systems that meet the standards set out in BS 8612 provide a high level of safety and reliability. Unlike mortar fixing, they are unlikely to crack or deteriorate in extreme weather, and the mechanical fixings help ensure that heavy roof tiles are fixed securely to the roof, even in heavy winds.
  • Lightweight – Dry ridge systems are relatively lightweight and easy to transport, especially compared to mortar. This cuts down on their environmental footprint and reduces risks associated with lifting and moving heavy objects on site.

Dry ridge roofing systems from Marley

Marley’s RidgeFast dry ridge roofing system provides everything you need to create a dry fix roof ridge quickly and easily. To find out more, check out our RidgeFast product page. You can also get in touch with a member of our team for expert advice and specification guidance. 

Category: Roofing Standards