Dry-fix popularity through the roof

New standards in construction combined with increasingly adverse weather has seen dry-fix systems grow in popularity. Mark Parsons of Russell Roof Tiles takes a look at why more house builders are specifying such products.

In the face of ever-changing weather patterns and new standards, dry-fix systems can help roofs remain maintenance free for years and have now become commonplace when specifying roofing accessories today.

Despite having been on the market for more than 25 years, the industry has only in the last few years seen a strong increase in orders of dry-fix products, and manufacturers have invested heavily to meet the increased growth.

Russell Roof Tiles has recently made significant investment in upgrading dry-verge injection moulding machinery equipment and technology even further in order to continue producing dry-fix products in a quick and efficient timeframe. Manufacturers need to ensure they do this in order to remain ahead of the game, while also being able to provide the best customer service.

Dry-fix solutions have a proven track record. The product is renowned for providing a more reliable and effective roofing fixing solution than mortar bedding, which as a result has now been declining for many years.

From dry-verge systems to dry ridges, dry-fix accessories are high quality and provide excellent waterproof resistance. The products have been designed to be easily mechanically fixed or interlocked with tiles to provide a neat roofing finish.

Dry-fix accessories can be fitted quickly with just a few tools, saving valuable time and money. During the winter months specifically, dry-fix products are excellent for ensuring that the job is achieved in a tight time frame, despite bad weather conditions.

Specifying both tiles and dry-fix accessories from a single manufacturer also ensures that the products will be creating a more reliable and better performing all-in-one roofing fixing solution, as the tiles and accessories are designed to work together.

Historically, dry-fix was used more across the north of England and Scotland. However, as we are all too aware, weather conditions are getting worse across the whole of the UK.

In the last 12 months alone, severe snow storms gripped the country in February and Hurricane Ophelia brought strong winds to the west of the UK in November. This has naturally been a growing problem that the roofing industry has had to overcome over in the last few years.

As a result of adverse weather, in 2012 the National House Building Council (NHBC) stated that all ridge and hip tiles had to be mechanically fixed. Then in 2014, the BS 5534 Code of Practice for Slating and Tiling highlighted that mortar bedding for ridge, hip and verge tiles was no longer deemed to be a long term secure reliable fixing method. Construction now required a more sustainable roofing solution.

The decline in mortar bedding was highly significant for dry-fix systems and these changes paved the way for the product to make its mark in the industry. Dry-fix solutions were soon adopted across all regions of the UK because it was a quick, secure and more costeffective method.

But this demand for dry-fix solutions also brought with it a need for stronger regulations. For this reason, the industry largely welcomed the introduction of the new BS 8612: Dry-Fixed Ridge, Hip and Verge Systems for Slating and Tiling – Specification standard earlier this year, to reflect this.

The new standard helps in preventing some inferior and inadequate dry-fix products from being sold, as it specifies the requirements and methods of testing for dry-fix products by setting out both quality and performance criteria.

When looking for a suitable roofing solution, customers will now have more control of their products and should now get the assurance they deserve.

While the new standard is not a legal requirement for manufacturers to follow, specifiers can ensure that the standard is being met in all fixing specifications and their roofing solutions are durable and long-lasting. This in turn will allow leading manufacturers to be recognised for their high quality and standards.

It is important that the manufacturers continue to work closely with the contractors and developers to ensure that they have the best fixing specification which will in turn ensure a sustainable and reliable roofing solution. As dry-fix products continue to grow in popularity, this will become more important than ever.

Mark Parsons is technical director at Russell Roof Tiles