Roof Snow Removal: Alaska Digs Out

General Roofing Systems Canada removes snow and ice throughout Canada. Flat Roof Repair; Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler, Winnipeg, Toronto and points between. British Columbia. Alberta. Saskatchewan. Manitoba. Ontario.

CAUTION: DO NOT REMOVE SNOW FROM THE ROOF YOURSELF!

GRS Canada, Inc. has removed snow and ice from hundreds of residential, commercial, and industrial rooftops throughout Alberta, BC, and Saskatchewan.

We have also consulted facility managers at commercial and industrial facilities all over the world on proper snow removal protocols, techniques, and adherence to structural engineering. Live loads on rooftops are important to consider, proer safety for the workers on a roof is critical, and knowing how to remove snow from a roof may just save the lives of the workers and occupants in the building.

Our article on rooftop safety and roof snow removal was spurred by the roof collapse in Anchorage, Alaska and the subsequent news reports talking about “roof snow removal parties”. Our concern is that folks think it is OK to remove snow from roofs without using professional providers.

MUNICIPALITY OF ANCHORAGE ISSUES PRESS RELEASE MARCH 2, 2012

ANCHORAGE– In the last few weeks several roofs in Anchorage have failed due
to stress from snow. The buildings involved were generally older (pre-1980) with
flat roofs. Several, but not all, failed where snow had drifted.
Newly fallen snow is not very dense. However, over the course of the winter
accumulated snow on roofs becomes denser. Per current code the design snow
load in Anchorage is 40 pounds per square foot (psf), which is equivalent to
approximately two feet of dense snow. A roof designed to current code should
not have problems until the load is significantly higher than 40 psf.
It is recommended that building owners and managers monitor the snow loads
on their roofs. Of special concern are older buildings with flat roofs, and those
with areas of snow drifting, such as at parapets and lower roofs. Special
attention should also be paid to long overhangs where snow blankets are draping
over the roof edge.
If one hears creaking in the roof, observes excess deflection in trusses or beams,
or sees bowing of columns, immediate investigation by a structural engineer is
warranted.
Conditions on roofs may worsen as additional snow falls in March and April,
building owners should consider preventative roof shoveling. Shoveling a roof is
inherently dangerous, so special precautions should be taken. The intent is to
lighten the roof load by removing a significant portion of the snow, not
necessarily all of it. Trying to remove all of the snow down to the roofing could
increase the danger of a shoveler sliding off the roof as well as causing damage
to the roofing materials.”

DO NOT REMOVE THE SNOW FROM YOUR ROOF YOURSELF – ROOFS COLLAPSE.

Firefighters responded to a callers reporting structural collapse at the South Anchorage church Friday March 2, 2012. Firefighters initially were called with reports of a fire at the Abbott Loop Community Church at 2626 Abbott Rd. shortly after 6 p.m. Callers reported smoke, including one caller reporting an explosion.

ROOF SNOW REMOVAL PROTOCOLS AND CONSIDERATIONS

How much snow is too much?

Live loads are an important consideration when assessing rooftop snow and possible removal. You need to know how much snow and ice rooftaps can hold safely, what the effects are of ice buildup on roof systems, and how to properly remove the snow so that the building does not become structurally unsound and collapse while you are removing the snow.

Generally speaking – and depending on where you live – most flat roof systems are constructed to safely hold a maximum of 15 to 20 cm or ice or 35 to 40 cm of hard pack snow (70 to 80 cm of fresh snow).

There are many other considerations such as the engineering and age of teh building, or how often the roof can withstand the snow loads.

In Alberta, building codes (as of 2006) require roofs to withstand about 40 lb. of snow per square foot once every 50 years. In this fashion, one can predicate how much their building can withstand every years.

If the snow load on your roof is getting close to the calculations above, you need to have the snow removed from your roof.

Time is also important when considering roof load capacity – this is called the fatigue factor.

Roof collapse can occur on roof systems that have half or less of the live load described above.

Measuring Roof Snow Loads

A “safe” amount of snow or ice on a roof is none at all. Removing the snow will mitigate ice damming, which will keep the roof membrane in a good condition. Regular removal will also keep the roof drains working properly.

When the ice and snow starts melting in the spring, be sure a knowledgeable roofing contractor or a trained maintenance person is regularly checking the roof drains or scuppers to ensure that the water is flowing down the drains, as opposed to filling your flat roof up like a pond.

If you are still convinced that you can remove the snow and ice from the roof yourself, please refer to our blog article here. We provide safety considerations as well as a “how-to” guide.

IN THE PRESS…

From the Edmonton Sun Newspaper:

“General Roofing Systems advises that the snow isn’t as much 
of the problem as is the ice build-up underneath. Snow melts, it freezes and then is covered by a new layer of snow. The process repeats until the ice sheet becomes too heavy for the roof to bear. Trouble may not show up until the spring thaw when water that ended up freezing in the attic melts and comes through the ceiling. Then, of course there is the possibility that all that weight will 
cause structural failure.”

Contact Us:
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)

24 Hour Emergency Roof Repair: Call +1.877.497.3528 toll-free. info@grscanadainc.com.

 

British Columbia | Alberta | Saskatchewan | Manitoba | Ontario

Pros and Cons of Different Flat Roof Systems

General Roofing Systems Canada Repairs flat roofs throughout Canada. Flat Roof Repair; Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler, Winnipeg, Toronto and points between. British Columbia. Alberta. Saskatchewan. Manitoba. Ontario.

Below you will find the pros and cons of each type of flat roofing system we offer written by our Alberta roofing repair crew. A link has also been provided below to our main website describing each.

Spray Foam

While moderately low in price, this is largely based only on individual perceptions. As far as material efficacy goes, spray foam is seamless and light. However, in Canadian weather, it is subject to cracking due to extreme hot/cold shifts, and a failure can result in a complete re-roofing being required. As well, maintenance mandates top-coating, which contributes to expenses – nullifying perceptions about spray foam being a low cost solution.

Single-ply Systems (EPDM/PVC/TPO)

While these have been excellent systems in terms of performance and a lower initial price, they do not have the longevity of 4-ply tar and gravel or 4-ply liquid rubber. As well, these systems are vulnerable to tearing over time. The installation process also entails using mechanical fasteners, which provides another damage vector with respect to water and strong weather conditions.

Tar and Gravel

A seamless and versatile system, which also has a long life if maintained properly. However, the installation process can be quite messy. As far as maintenance goes, leaks can be difficult to find. As a result, maintenance costs are higher than single-ply systems and liquid rubber application. Maintenance or repair with tar and gravel systems often entails a vacuuming as well if damaged sites are difficult to locate.

SBS Torch-on

This system is lighter than 4-ply and has a broad range of application methods. However, torching is not seamless and the life cycle is shorter than 4-ply systems. A fire watch is also required during installation, which contributes to a higher price point.

Liquid Rubber

Seamless, UV stable, and elastic, this is a system which we have had a lot of success with in the Canadian climate. The 1000% expansion rate provides a “cushion” for extreme weather changes, which makes it resilient to tearing and leaks. The system is also multi-purpose, having applications in gutters, too. However, the price point is initially higher. In terms of total life cycle cost, it is similar to all other systems.

Summary

We usually recommend single-ply systems and liquid rubber to our clients. Single-ply systems are more economical on the front-end and perform well. Liquid rubber also has the least chance of failure, as it is the most predictable and is 4-ply. Also, it is the system most suited to Canadian weather due to its elasticity.

For more information about each system we have described, visit our main site by clicking here for more information on flat roofing.

Contact Us:
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)

24 Hour Emergency Roof Repair: Call +1.877.497.3528 toll-free. info@grscanadainc.com.

British Columbia | Alberta | Saskatchewan | Manitoba | Ontario

Metal Roof Repairs | Flat and Metal Coating & Restoration

General Roofing Systems Canada Repairs metal roofs throughout Canada. Metal Roof Repair; Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler, Winnipeg, Toronto and points between. British Columbia. Alberta. Saskatchewan. Manitoba. Ontario.

Repairs to metal roofs are quite often due to metal seams expanding or contracting, screw holes that have expanded over time, or roof penetrations that are improperly flashed.

The first step is to assess the repairs from a repair or remediation perspective. Some high end caulking, underlayment, and flashing knowledge is required. We use a journeyman that can assess the conduct the repairs to this end.

Once the repairs are done, you may have to consider one of the many options in metal roof coatings if your roof is low slope or irreparable.

Flat Metal Roofs – Low Slope Roofing Considerations

A roof coating or restoration will likely be required in addition to the repairs, especially if you have a flat or low slope system. We often service these types in commercial and industrial facilities.

Flat roofing is more difficult as “waterproofing” becomes key. A high slope roof can be looked at as a “watershed”, so are a little easier in terms of this type of maintenance.

There are many different options for metal roof restorations/roof coatings. A proper metal roof restoration, with the right people doing the application coupled with the right materials, should get you (conservatively) about ten years or more out of your metal roofing system. As well, a high quality coating will cost you about half the price of a brand new metal roof. In the meantime, you will have another decade free to plan for your roof replacement when it has reached end of life.

The reason a roof coating or restoration is typically required when you have run into metal roof issues especially flat ones) is that the issues are most often installation or design issues that cannot be permanently fixed. Any fix we do to mitigate a roof leakage, for example, will most often be temporary repairs.

For more information on roof coatings, flat roofing, industrial and commercial coatings, and metal roof systems, visit our website for roof repair and re-roofing information. At the bottom of the main page you will find links that discuss various issues, repairs, systems, hiring contractors, and related topics. You can also search this blog by keyword using the built-in search function.

Contact Us:
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)

24 Hour Emergency Roof Repair: Call +1.877.497.3528 toll-free. info@grscanadainc.com.

British Columbia | Alberta | Saskatchewan | Manitoba | Ontario

Metal Roofing

General Roofing Systems Canada Repairs metal Roofs throughout Canada. Metal Roof Repair; Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler, Winnipeg, Toronto and points between. British Columbia. Alberta. Saskatchewan. Manitoba. Ontario.

 

One of the most common calls that come into our switchboard are those with reference to metal roofs.

Frequently Asked Questions:

From prospective buyers

  • How much are metal roofs? For the most part, people inherently know they are higher in price than a shingle roof.
  • How long does a metal roof last? Most folks know a metal roof is supposed to last longer than shingles.
  • What colours/profiles are available? Most often our clients have seen, at one point or another, a metal roof that really stood out which they really liked, and they have also seen others they did not like the look of at all.

From metal roof owners that have a leaky roof

  • Why does my metal roof leak?
  • How can I avoid leaks?
  • Are the seams leaking?
  • I can’t figure out if the leaks are coming from the screws.

In fact, we had a call this morning in which the caller, a golf course facility manager in Alberta, said he had changed out every screw on the roof (exposed fastening system) and caulked every screw head and seam and he still had two leaks he just could not pin down.

From metal roof owners frustrated by their leaky roof

  • I’m done with this roof, I’ve tried everything to stop the leaks. What other types of roofs are there?
  • I’m done trying to seal or caulk this roof, can we look at roof coating options?

The truth is, a metal roof is like any other roof. Metal roofing systems have benefits and they have inherent problems.

Hidden fasteners
Hidden fasteners

A metal roof can be the best roof you will ever own. It can be installed so that it does not leak, as well as look great and last almost a lifetime.

In saying that, we endeavour below to address the most important highlights of purchasing considerations, installation procedures, as well as leak repairs, coatings, and restorations.

When purchasing a new metal roof or when considering a roof replacement

 

The cost of poor worksmanship, poor metal roof design, or poor

Industrial metal roof
Industrial metal roof

quality metals:

People considering a metal roof purchase call us all the time with aesthetic and cost questions, and we cannot blame you. I know when I am searching for a new truck or my wife is looking for a new car, some of the first thoughts we have are regarding colour, style, and cost.

However, we should be thinking most in terms of what will get the job done right and what meets our needs most appropriately. Of course, budgets and pricing comes into play, but first and foremost the consideration should be: “what does it cost to do the job right?”

If a metal roof is incorrectly installed, or you have chosen a metal roofing system that has inherent problems or a low quality material was used, it will not so much matter how inexpensive it was when you consider the cost of leaks, repairs, roof coatings, and constant aggravations.

Metal roof coils, prior to machine
Metal roof coils, prior to machine

Case in point, to coat a metal roof or to do a metal roof restoration properly due to a leaking roof caused by a compromise during installation, it is about 50% to 70% of the cost of what it would have been to just install one properly the first time. Unfortunately, that is the most important thing to keep at the top of your mind when shopping for a metal roof.

The Right Questions

Commercial metal roof deck
Commercial metal roof deck

About the contractor

Experience with metal roofs specifically, regardless of its application, (residential, commercial, industrial) is paramount. Challenge the contractor, get references, check out their portfolio, and ask lots of questions. Unless their information is easily and publicly available, questions are your only weapon. You can find a guideline here for how to hire a roofing contractor on our main website.

The proposed metal roof system

When you are talking to roofing contractors about systems, I am not speaking of colours, cost, or the fancy names they give them [the systems]. Ask the contractor the follow questions. If the contractor can confidently carry this conversation with you, then you know you have a great chance at getting a roof that will, in fact, last near a lifetime and will have that aesthetic appeal you were looking for. A metal roof should not “oilcan”, should never leak, vent improperly, or require a full replacement after only a couple of years.

Questions:

Red metal roof, metal panels
Red metal roof, metal panels
  • If there are exposed fasteners, what kind are they?
  • If there are hidden fasteners, what kind of clips are being used and where are the clips fastened?
  • Are the clips being fastened directly to the roof deck; and if so, is there an underlay going under or over?
  • Ask whether the contractor will be hand cutting and wrapping the panels at the eave and at the ridge. If not at the eave, will you see the underside white of the panel from below when standing on the ground? If not, what are the wind lift considerations?
  • Is the system as monolithic as possible?
  • Are the seams hand crimped?
  • Where each seam is crimped or comes together, are they using a caulking underneath, or a caulking tape? How long does it last?
  • Will the underlay be synthetic, or tar paper? If it’s Ice & Water, what grade?
  • Will the underlayment be monolithic with base sheet torching?
  • If the contractor tries to “assure” you there will be no negative laps on the underlayment, gauge their reaction when you ask to see the roof for yourself.
  • Will there be strapping, and if so will it be going on before or after the underlayment
  • Will the system be able to breathe?
  • Will the metal panels be manufactured off-site? If so, what assurance is there that they will fit?

Once you have gone through this process, and the contractor’s answers have been vetted, then pick a colour, get a competitive and fair price, and pay your chosen roofers on time for a job well done.

Commercial metal roofers
Commercial metal roofers
Standing seam, hidden fastener roof
Standing seam, hidden fastener roof

When repairing a metal roof or considering a metal roof coating or restoration

This is a little easier than the questions you should be asking when you are considering a new metal roof.

Repairs are quite often due to the metal seams expanding or contracting, screw holes that have been expanded over time, or roof penetrations that are not flashed in properly.

The first step is to assess repairs from a remediation perspective. Some high end caulking, underlayment like Ice & Water, and flashing knowledge is required. We use a journeyman that can assess and conduct the repairs.

Once the repairs are done, then you will most likely have to do a roof coating at some point.

There are many different options for roof restorations that we will not go into here, but essentially a proper roof restoration with the right people doing the application should get you, under a conservative estimate, about ten more years out of your system and will cost you about 50% of the price of a new metal roof.

The reason a coating or roof restoration is typically required when you have run into metal roof issues is that they are most often installation or design ones that cannot be permanently fixed. Any fix we do to mitigate a leakage, for instance, will most often be temporary repairs.

For more information on roof coatings and metal roof systems, visit our roof repair and roofing replacement website. At the bottom of the main page their are links that discuss various issues, repairs, systems, hiring contractors, etc. You can also search this blog and the documents or links to the site by typing in your search key words and that may assist you also.

Ultimately, you can pick up the phone anytime and more often than not we have very experienced roofers that will either answer your call right away or one will get back to you in short order (we do our best to have our most senior roofers answer live on the front end as much as possible). We will give you a hand with whatever questions you may have.

Contact Us:
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)

24 Hour Emergency Roof Repair: Call +1.877.497.3528 toll-free. info@grscanadainc.com.

British Columbia | Alberta | Saskatchewan | Manitoba | Ontario

Commercial Re-Roofing Process

General Roofing Systems Canada Repairs commercial roofs throughout Canada. Commercial Roof Repair; Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler, Winnipeg, Toronto and points between. British Columbia. Alberta. Saskatchewan. Manitoba. Ontario.

 

Whether you are a project manager, engineer, architect, business owner, or facility manager, planning a commercial re-roof is a significant multifaceted task where due diligence becomes essential.

In our estimation, the most important thing to keep at the top of your mind when considering a commercial re-roof is the experience of the contractor you are entrusting.

From roof analysis to the design phase, and from the start of your project to its conclusion, as well as the after-installation service, roofing experience is key. Experience trumps all other considerations. A roofing contractor that does not have the appropriate, successful experience is ill-equipped to be sure a commercial re-roof is successful. The consequence of an error when planning or executing a flat roof replacement can be disastrous. The cheapest or most convenient roofing contractor may not be the best long term choice.

Contact Us:
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)

24 Hour Emergency Roof Repair: Call +1.877.497.3528 toll-free. info@grscanadainc.com.

British Columbia | Alberta | Saskatchewan | Manitoba | Ontario