MAXWELL’S TIPS: How To Shingle a Valley, Paint Wood & Cool Your Home the Best Way

The Best Way to Shingle Valleys

Q: What’s your opinion on closed roof valleys? In my day roof valleys were always shingled with exposed valleys, but contractors seem to be saving time by running shingles right over the valleys now. Which method is better?

woven_valley_close A: Roof valleys happen where two roofs meet and form a kind of trough, and you’re right about open valleys being the only way of doing things for many decades in the past. When I first started shingling in the 1980s, I’d never seen anything other that open valleys with shingles trimmed back, exposing the metal or asphalt roll roofing in the middle of the valley itself. In the summer of 1989, research led me to the whole idea of closed valleys, with shingles installed right over the valley area. I thought this made sense so I gave it a try on a project with an open valley that always leaked in hard rain. The closed valley completely solved this perennial problem, plus it looked nicer and was faster to complete. Since then I’ve shingled every roof I’ve done with closed valleys and encouraged other tradespeople to do the same. The bottom line is that closed valleys look better, they’re quicker to install and they’re more reliable. Closed valleys are all positive with no negatives that I’ve seen in 25 years of watching and installing them in Canada.

Interior Wood Painting Tips

Q: What’s the best wood to use for making an indoor sign? Pine? I’m looking for a stained wood look overall, with white painted lettering on a brown background.

paint_bleed_knot A: The challenge you face is the same as for any kind of interior wood finishing. And though pine is a great wood for an indoor sign, you should use lumber without knots. Pine knots are notorious for allowing small amounts of sap to bleed through paint and sealer in time, discoloring the wood in that area. This goes for any kind of trim and interior woodwork, not just signs. Trouble is, knot-free pine is quite expensive. A more economical option is something called paint-grade poplar. It’s always sold knot-free and is much less expensive than clear pine. You could also make your sign from a sheet material called MDF if you want to save even more money and don’t need an authentic woodgrain background. Trim intended for painting is often made from MDF and it works well. Sand, stain and seal your wood with urethane, then let it dry for two weeks before painting the letters. Acrylic paint works well over this kind of base.

 Cooling a Duct-Free House

mini-split_a:cQ: What’s the best way to cool our split level home? It’s got radiant heating in the ceilings and baseboard heaters on the lower floor. No ducts.

 A: There’s no question that a ductless mini-split air conditioner will work well for you. These include a compressor unit that sits outside (either on the ground or suspended on an outside wall), and one or more indoor cooling units mounted high up on walls. Small pipes connect the compressor with the cooling unit, so they can be located anywhere. Ductless mini-splits are highly efficient because they have no loss of cooled air within furnace ducts. They work especially well because they sit high on interior walls, just where cooled air should be delivered from. You can also cool different rooms independently, and set the cooling action to kick in automatically on a timed schedule. Ductless mini-splits are made by most of the main manufacturers now, and any heating and ventilation contractor can order and install one. Be sure to ask for and check references on contractors you’re considering. Ask for references from recent clients, as well as some homeowners they’ve worked with 3 or 4 years back to get a sense of quality and service delivered over time.