Peak Performance: Which Leak More, Multiple or Single-Peaked Roofs?

Let’s start off with a key point, and that is: many of the causes of and reasons for roof leaks will affect any roof, regardless of the number of peaks it has. With that in mind, here’s a look at the ABCs of what can compromise peak performance and bring up the need to fix roof leaks.

Major Factors for the Need to Fix Roof Leaks

There are three fundamental components influencing tendencies towards leaks in a roof. Here are some of the specifics for each one. 

  • Quality of the original design.  

Regardless of the complexity of a roof, its actual design can determine whether it will tend to leak or resist leaking. A poorly designed single-peaked roof, therefore, may end up leaking sooner or more often than a well-designed multi-peaked roof.

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    1. Design should be appropriate to the application and environment. For instance, a roof on a traditional Swiss building has an extreme pitch. (Pitch is defined as number of inches in rise over each foot of horizontal distance covered.) A higher pitch allows easier shedding of snow and water.
    2. Changes in roof slopes and adjacent structures, such as chimneys and vent tubes, have to allow for stresses from built-up snow, ice and wind, and settling of buildings.  They must also allow for effective joining and flashing techniques to be done correctly.
    3. Poor designs may result in settling, distortion or separation of critical areas, causing the need to fix roof leaks.
    4. Underlying structure must account for proper weight distribution and support, even when loaded with unusual amounts of snow and ice or, especially in Vancouver, with pooled water.
    5. Some roofline changes require special transitional elements to avoid water pooling or snow collection between steep-pitched areas or above chimneys. If missing, these can usually be retro-fitted.
    6. Poorly designed ventilation flows will lead to heat loss, inordinate snow melts and ice buildups that can result in roof damage and leakage.


  • Execution of the design.

 Even the very best roof design can be undone by poor workmanship or execution.

  • Lax standards and poor techniques may allow any roof to leak. This is especially evident when the craftsman has to properly join, flash and finish a roof with complex changes in angles and pitches. When properly done, these can last as long as any other part of the roof.
  • Substitution of inferior materials will undermine the design’s effectiveness.
  • Poorly insulated attics also contribute to icing difficulties.


  • Maintenance and repair over the life of the roof.

 The best design and execution will only hold up as well as it is maintained and repaired when necessary.

  • Buildup of debris and rubbish will degrade any roof, simple or complex. More complex designs, of course, present more opportunities for this to occur.
  • Lack of inspection and repair after major weather events opens the door to premature leak conditions.
  • Ill-advised maintenance techniques and do-it-yourself actions (such as ice removal from roofs) can do more harm than good.

fix roof leaksAs a generality, multi-peaked roofs probably do leak more often than single peaked roofs, simply because they present more possible places and therefore opportunities for the above factors to come into play.

When faced with the need to fix roof leaks, use only well-qualified, experienced roofing experts.

Be sure to get a complete evaluation of your roof structure and a plan on how to optimize it for service and longevity.


vancouver-rooferAs a renovator Doug did many rot repairs which gave him a good understanding of where and why buildings leak, and how to prevent it. He realized the need for a different approach to roofing; one that educated the customer enough to make good decisions. With better trained installers and a quality inspection process Absolute Roof Solutions was born…” Read more.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to ABSOLUTE ROOF SOLUTIONS.

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