Roof Repair 101 – Flat Roof Repair. Materials and Option to Choose From.

Flat Roofing Repair Toronto, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Vancouver and all points between. British Columbia. Alberta. Saskatchewan. Manitoba. Ontario.

July 26, 2016 by Tyler Sinclair | 1.877.497.3528 24 Hour Service

Leaky Flat Roof? Below are the options for flat roof repair and replacement.

While I write this I am looking out my office window at corner of John Street and King Street downtown Toronto and there is a massive rain storm – I am watching the water levels rise on many of the flat roofs and wondering about their drainage and how many are leaking right now.

Toronto, Roof, Repairs, Leaky
From office at 50 John Street (John and King Street) looking at likely Toronto flat roofing repairs and leaky roofs from rain storm.

Flat roofs leak. Even new flat roofs can leak because they are custom installed and expansion and contraction or improper installation can cause leaks. Storms, ice dams, the suns rays, aging low slope membranes, plugged drains, flashing problems and more can cause roof leaks.

What to do if your flat roof is leaking.

The first thing to do is to assess whether it is an emergency roof repair or if the repair can wait until the next business day (if it happens on the weekend or at night). If there is a concern with patron or pedestrian safety or the roof may collapse due to weight loads from water or snow loads then it is best to call our emergency roof repair dispatch that is available 24 hours a day.

Emergency, Roof Repair, Calgary, Metal Roof
Our roofers at an Industrial Metal Roof – Emergency Roof Repair in Calgary, Alberta.

While you are waiting for our crew to arrive to inspect and repair the leak be sure to catch any water you can coming in the ceiling with buckets and mop up the area to protect public safety (if commercial building). If the roof could collapse you may have to have people evacuate (this occurred with many buildings in 2011 in Edmonton, Alberta). If you attend to the roof be safe and always be careful with using ladders.

How Our Roofers Will Help With Your Roof Leak.

The first step is to inspect the flat roof. Our flat roofing expert will attend to your roof to assess the roof and provide you a verbal and/or written report and options for repair, replacement and pricing options.

Roof Drain, Repair, Roof, Inspection, Edmonton
Flat Roofing Repair Inspection in Edmonton, AB. Roof drain problems.

When your roof has been inspected and you have the report with costs for repair or replacement you can then make decisions. Sometimes this needs to be done immediately so our roofer will provide you with verbal inspection results and pricing and you may want to authorize the repairs at that moment.

Flat Roof Problem Areas – What to Inspect When Experiencing a Roof Leak.

When inspecting a flat roof check the sealants to be sure they are not dried out and cracked. Be sure roof drains are clear and allowing water to flow down (or scuppers and downspouts). Sometimes leaves or snow and ice can plug roof drains. Check all mechanical units such as air conditioner curbs and any roof tie-ins and parapet walls flashing.

Mississauga, Roof, Inspection, Torch-On
Flat roof inspection of torch-on roof in Mississauga shows improper installation.

A common place for problems on a flat roof are at rooftop unit curbs and flashing. Also check membrane for holes, punctures, blistering, splitting, ridging and any other irregularities.

Typical Flat Roof Repair Costs and Options

Most flat roof repairs are fast and relatively inexpensive, unless you have allowed the roof to deteriorate over the years without proper annual maintenance.

Most repairs a simple repairs to blisters on tar and gravel, torch on patches on SBS modified bitumen roofing, quick rubber patches on EPDM and for TPO and PVC roofing the repair is usually a quick heat weld to seams or rooftop penetrations.

Metal roofs can usually be repaired and maintenance with roof coatings and spot repair to the fasteners, seams and rooftop vents.

Metal Roof Leaks, Coating, Liquid Rubber, Regina
Liquid Rubber Roof Coating in Regina Repairs Metal Roof Leaks for a Reasonable Cost.

Materials Available for Flat Roofing

Modern membranes include many options not available when most flat roofs in Canada were originally installed. Over recent decades there are many options beyond traditional built-up tar and gravel.

Our main website has a complete article dedicated to flat roof membranes.

When we prepare pricing for flat roof repairs and replacement we include all options. Some are as follows:

Tar and Gravel, Roof
Picture of a tar and gravel flat roof on mall in Calgary.

Tar and Gravel Roofing (Built-Up).

Tar and gravel is the standard flat roof (old school style) you may have seen. There are pebbles (pea gravel) on top to protect the layers of mopped on bitumen from the suns UV rays. If the rocks are larger then it is not likely a standard tar and gravel built up roof (BUR) – it is most often a ballasted EPDM or inverted roof system.

Torch-On Roofing (SBS Modified Bitumen).

Torch-On, Membrane, 2 Ply, Toronto
Picture of 2 Ply SBS Modified Bitumen Torch On Roof Membrane in Toronto, Ontario.

SBS modified can also be applied as a cold application or mopped on. Typically SBS Modified is torched on however.

This product choice is newer than tar and gravel systems and comes in rolls that are usually torched on. The granules are on top and many customers refer to it as the shingle looking roll style when they call me for service.

Single-Ply Membranes.

EPDM, Membrane, Single-Ply
Picture of an Edmonton EPDM roof on a commercial building.

Next came the single ply roof membranes. Standard in Canada are EPDM, TPO and PVC.

EPDM is a rubber roll usually 10 x 100 (but comes in many sizes) that is applied by way of glue, mechanically fastened or with rock ballast (a rock similar to river rock). The picture to the right is a fully adhered EPDM membrane in Edmonton, AB on a commercial property.

TPO and PVC.

TPO, Membrane, Vancouver
Vancouver TPO roof inspection shows improper welding of seams.

TPO (thermal plastic olefin) is another type of single ply membrane and is usually white in color. The rolls are welded together with a heat welder vs. using adhesive as with EPDM (above).

PVC (poly vinyl chloride) is similar to TPO and the seams are welded in the same fashion as TPO. The chloride in the PVC caused some issue with the market when it was released so TPO was brought to market shortly after.

Roof Coatings. Fluid Applied.

Another category of products are the liquid applied products such as liquid rubber (which is a cold application coating), Spray Foam (SPF) and there are also hot applied rubberized asphalt coatings.

Liquid Rubber, Roof Coating, Metal, Industrial
Leduc, AB. Roof Coating being installed on an industrial metal roof (liquid rubber).

Liquid rubber / elastomeric roof coatings are typically used to coat metal roof systems. Liquid rubber is available in various colors.

In Canada it is best to stay with a darker coating but lighter coatings such as white and reflective are also available. You can click here to learn more and visit our roof coatings repair website.

And finally spray foam (SPF) is available which is a spray foam that is applied over top of the roof and a coating (usually polyurea but also silicone and liquid rubber are used) is sprayed on top of the spray foam.

Spray Foam, Roof, SPF, Cracking, Peeling
Leaking spray foam roof (SPF). Top coat on spray foam was not applied properly and it is cracking and peeling.

The biggest challenge with spray foam roofing in Canada is that spray foam expands and contracts and the top coating can peel if not the right top coat or if done improperly. Be sure you have a good contractor if you choose spray foam – it has to be right or there can be big problems.

Our inspection report and pricing options will detail the pros and cons of each product and provide pricing for each membrane type. Our quotations also provide pricing details for replacement of insulation, metal flashing for parapets and deck (substrate) sheathing if required.

Toronto green roof installed at 80 Front Street East.
Green Roof at 80 Front St E in Toronto.

Eco Roofing.

Eco-roofing is a green roof (low slope / flat roof) that supports vegetation or is a cool roof (reflective white roof) that reflects the sun’s thermal energy away from the building.

A green roof (eco friendly) is one that has growing vegetation over a significant proportion of the area of the roof. Water and energy conservation is the goal with a green roof. The low slope assembly is made up of a waterproofing membrane (such as above – EPDM, TPO, or PVC), a drainage layer, an organic growing medium (soil) and vegetation.

A cool or white roof is one that reflects solar and thermal emissivity and reduces heat build – up in the building. A white reflective roof (or cool roof) is applied as a coating over an existing system such as a low slope metal roof or over an existing or new waterproofing membrane (listed above) on a flat roof.

Toronto has grants for green and cool roofs. Since 2009, the City of Toronto’s Eco-Roof Incentive Program has helped fund the installation of more than 100 green and cool roofs on buildings across the city. You can find the Toronto Eco Roof program here.

Patio Membrane - DecTec Installed at Condo on 100 Ave in Edmonton.
Google Earth Image of Balcony Membrane Repairs at 11618 100 Ave Edmonton, Alberta – DecTec Rooftop Patio Membrane

Balcony Waterproofing Membranes / Rooftop Decks / Patios.

If you have a balcony membrane that is leaking (also used on rooftop decks or patios) our journeyman install material such as DecTec to deck areas.

If your deck or patio is above a living area (including a garage) then you need a waterproofing membrane material such as DecTec (a PVC product) that is suitable as both a flat roof and a patio membrane. It is very important to choose a material that is suitable for both uses.

Conclusion

If your flat roof needs repair or replacement my best suggestion is to be sure that you are provided with ALL options for replacement material and methods. Ask for a complete and detailed report and pricing explaining the pros and cons of each material type and method.

For more reading I will direct you to our main website at www.grscanadainc.com or visit these links:

Wikipedia –  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_roof

Different Types of Flat Roof Material Options – http://homerepair.about.com/od/exteriorhomerepair/ss/Types-of-Flat-Roof-Materials.htm#step1

Thank you for considering us for your roof repair needs! Call anytime 1.877.497.3528 and speak to our local expert in your area.

Cheers!

Tyler Sinclair

Flat Roof Repairs in Toronto, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Vancouver and all points between. British Columbia. Alberta. Saskatchewan. Manitoba. Ontario.

 

Metal, Membranes, and Roof Shingles for Low-Slope Systems

General Roofing Systems Canada installs IKO shingles throughout Canada. Installations are completed in the following cities: 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.

Edmonton Flat Roofing Repair

When completing low slope re-roofing systems it is important to take into consideration the correct election of material that adheres to the local building codes and material manufacturer’s specifications.
Below we have provided a guideline for low slope shingles, roof membranes of flat roofs, and metal roofing.

Low Slope Roofing Shingles

Serious thought is required when you are considering re-roofing a roof that has a slope that is less than a 4/12 pitch. Malarkey Roofing

For roofing with a 3/12 pitch regular shingles can usually be installed with 2 ply 15 lb roofing felt paper as underlay ( Be sure to check with your specific building code and the shingle manufacturer).

The General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS) specification for how to install roofing shingles is to never use felt paper. We prefer to use Ice & Water protection on eaves, valleys, and around chimney flashing.  In addition to Ice & Water,  we also use a  synthetic roof underlay such as titanium.

A roof that has a 2/12 – 3/12 slope is more tentative and the risk for leaks increases. Some shingle manufacturers such as IKO with the Cambridge shingle will warranty their shingles on a low slope roof for twelve years. Malarkey shingles will honour a 30 year warranty on low-slope roofing.

A roof that is 2/12 or less in slope should have a “flat roof” or traditional “low slope membrane” installed. We like to see any roof that is less than a 4/12 slope get a low slope membrane that is fully adhered, mechanically fastened, or ballasted.

Other information:

IKO Shingles

IKO Low Slope Shingle Bulletin – Installation of Asphalt Shingles on Low Sloped Roofs

IKO Roofing – Applying Asphalt Shingles on Low Slopes (covers 3 tab shingles, eave protection, etc.)

Low Slope Roof Membranes (Flat Roofing)

General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS) Edmonton Flat Roofers

Low slope membranes for flat roofing come in a few categories;

  1. Single Ply Membrane: Single ply membranes come in the form of EPDM (rubber), TPO (Thermal Plastic), or PVC (Poly Vinyl). Single membranes are either fully adhered, mechanically fastened, or ballasted.
  2. Two Ply Membrane: The primary two ply membrane is the SBS Modified Bitumen that can be torched down or cold applied.

  3. Built up Roofing: Built up roofing is another way of describing multi-layer roofing. An example would be the traditional  roofs tops that are commonly referred to as tar and gravel roofs or flat-top tar roofs.

  4. New Built up Roofing: More recently, modern technologies have advanced the built up roof and newer built up flat roof systems. They now utilize environmentally friendly products and modifiers vs. the tar or bitumen that has been more commonly used in tar roof systems. The newer versions of built up roof systems are extremely tough and will outlast almost any other roof. They are VOC free, making them perfect sustainable offerings to low slope roof assemblies. Tough Roof is an example of the modern built up roof systems as is the GRS Liquid Rubber Built up Flat Roof (a four layer voc free engineered liquid rubber flat roof with 800% elasticity and contains environmentally friendly synthetic fabric between layers vs. traditional tar felt paper.

Low Slope Metal Roofing

Roof Coating, Industrial Roof, Metal Roof, Leduc II

Low slope metal roofing (steel roofing, roof cladding, standing seam metal roofing) has been used for decades. This is  primarily used in commercial and  industrial roof settings.

With residential buildings, metal roofing is more typically found on steeper  roofs. GRS installs several of metal roofing systems to Mountain villages such as Whistler, Squamish, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Fernie, etc.  More and more metal panel and metal shingle roof residential installations are growing,yet the greatest volume of metal work being completed is on industrial facilities.

An issue with this type of roofing is that there is no other form of roofing material that expands or contracts as much as the metal roofing does. The seams between the roof panels, the fasteners, roof openings at vents, chimneys, flashings, and skylights are consistently expanding and contracting . Due to this factor metal roofing systems are prone to leaks.
Another issue with the metal roofing systems is condensation.  Many roof leaks in homes or businesses are actually not leaky roofs, they in fact a pooling of water in the ceiling due to condensation.  It is important to deal with any condensation or leak issue before installing a new metal roof.
We are able to solve the problem of metal roof leaks by installing a premium roof membrane under the metal roof system. We use a premium caulking tape at the seams in addition to using hidden fasteners. Now one effective way to solve the potential of leaks or condensation issues is to torch a SBS modified membrane or spray liquid rubber before putting the metal roof on.

For a commercial roof and industrial metal roof that is leaking, typically we would coat the roof with liquid rubber. By doing this it helps to ensure that the roof  will be good for another 10 years or more. Trying to locate metal roof leaks and deal with them in an isolated way can be quite time consuming and unfortunately highly frustrating . For more information Click on the following link to go to our roof coating section of our website.

Until next time,

The Team at GRS

CONTACT US:
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)
24 Hour Emergency Roof Repair: Call +1.877.497.3528 toll-free.

info@grscanadainc.com

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.

 

Survey of the Commercial Roofing Process

General Roofing Systems Canada provides repairs to Commercial Roofs throughout Canada. Commercial Roof Repairs are completed in the following cities: 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

Maintenance, Restoration, or Replacement?

When reviewing the process of commercial roofing, the first step is to decide what method of roofing is required. Of course, there will be decisions in regards to the metal used, yet this all depends on whether or not you have a flat roof. For example, you may be looking to repair your roof, perform annual maintenance, completely replace or restore your existing system.

Repairing Your Commercial Roof

Commercial roofing repairs are best done by a roofing contractor that complete repairs on a daily basis and who is aware of all the commonly accepted standards. GRS employees are highly trained to work with all varieties of commercial roofs; our crews undergo extensive training that help them to assess and repair any and all issues. Flat roof repairs are specific to the type of commercial roof such as; Tar and Gravel, Torch-on SBS, TPO, EPDM, PVC, Roof Coatings, or SPF – Spray Foam. It is important to have roofers that are aware of the type of commercial roof membrane that is being repaired.

Metal roof repairs on commercial buildings are also type-specific. These common types are are metal cladding roofs, standing seam metal roof systems, and coatings with a reflective coating or black rubber liquid coating.

The objective is to locate a commercial roofing contractor that has technicians with the knowledge of all commercial roof types.

Preventative Maintenance

Commercial roofing systems require regular maintenance. In most instances maintenance on a commercial roof (flat roof) should be completed a minimum of twice a year. It is recommended to have this completed once in the fall and once in the spring. GRS has specific commercial roofers that specialize in roof maintenance. Our roofers are aware what to look for and how to solve specific commercial roof problems. Our web site contains a step by step list for commercial flat roofing repair and maintenance:

Metal Roof Maintenance

Metal commercial roof systems also require regular maintenance. Maintenance should be performed on all the metal seams, metal roof fasteners, and roof openings. Sometimes this only requires a simple process of caulking (be sure to use high-end metal caulking). Yet with scenarios, when the metal roof is beginning to fail due to rust or expansion/contraction of the metal seams and holes for the fasteners, more extensive roof repair or roof restoration becomes a necessity. This is another area where it would be beneficial to have type-specific contractors completing the work.

Our roofing blog has numerous articles regarding metal roofing, metal roof repair, and metal roof restoration. Simply search your topic by category on the left hand side of the page.

Roof Restoration

Restoring Your metal or flat commercial Roof when regular commercial roof repair and maintenance doesn’t alleviate the problems you are experiencing with your metal or flat roof, more extensive restoration is required. One significant advantage of restoring your commercial roof rather than replacing it is the tax benefit. Roof restoration is considered maintenance and not typically considered a capital cost as it would with a complete roof replacement.

Metal roof systems are filled with challenges, especially in colder climates like Alberta and Saskatchewan. For example, in Edmonton, AB last winter, the snow loads were so immense with the ice damming on the metal roofs, as well as the heavy weight loads, that several metal commercial roofs were affected. Our metal restoration crews have been working nonstop since last winter to repair and restore metal roof systems on numerous commercial and industrial facilities. The advantage of having a metal roof on your commercial facility is the longevity of the material. Metal roofs are known to last several decades before requiring full replacemetns.

The inherent challenge with commercial metal roofing is that the metal expands and contracts. This is especially true in our unpredictable Western Canadian climate. Unfortunately, many leaks occur as a consequence.

When thinking about restoring a metal roof it simply comes down to two things. First is whether or not you would want white reflective metal roof restoration, or do you want a black roof?

In today’s market, there are several advancements to metal roof coatings. One primary example would be the liquid rubber polymers that were created for waterproofing commercial metal roof systems.

The challenge with reflective coatings for metal roofs is that coatings such as acrylic, which are highly reflective, also contain the disadvantage of cracking and peeling. The important items to be considered when choosing a restoration process or coating for your commercial roof is to be sure that the roofing contractor you hire is experienced and knowledgeable as to what is required. It is also important to inspect the coating material being used on your commercial roof. This is important due to market factors drastically changing over the past few years.

The same applies for flat roofing as it does for metal as we described above.
Coatings for commercial roof systems in this day and age have radically changed as restoring a flat roof today is not the same it was 3 years ago. At one time (and we still restore tar and gravel commercial flat roof this way), we would re-coat flat roofs with bitumen or tar from a hot kettle. Or in the case of a rubberized asphalt commercial flat roof, we would re-coat with hot rubberized asphalt.

Commercial roofing today has many more options. More recently many commercial property owners have been having roofing contractors spray foam their roof systems. With this process you skirt around the entire old method all together. Once the spray foam has been laid down you then add an acrylic reflective top coat to the SPF.

The process of spraying foam over an existing commercial roof is highly effective and cost efficient  – although this isn’t always the best method for an extended amount of time. There are coatings that are asphalt based that contain fiberglass that can be used to coat roof systems and emulsions. And then more recently elastomeric coatings have become available. This newer type sprays right over top of the existing system. Finally the most recent to come forward on the market is liquid rubber coating. Liquid rubber coating has been an excellent success for both roofers and owners alike.

Roof Overlays or Retrofits

An example of a roof overlay or retrofit is when your current commercial roof system has a tar and gravel roof. Instead of coating the roof and completely ripping out the roof and replacing it entirely, you can retrofit or recover it. There are many forms of flat roof recovery. One method is for our roofers to scrape or spud the gravel off. Our roofers will then install an insulation board and the roofing membrane right over top. For more information on retrofitting you can reference our blog and website.

Complete Roof Replacement

Complete roof replacements are a massive undertaking. In order to have this procedure completed correctly it is extremely important to choose the right contractor for your project. The contractor you choose must have roofers that are trained and have accurate knowledge of all roofing systems. In addition to this you will need to choose the right method of roof replacement or retrofit. Once you have done that, the next item to select will be the right membrane and search out a reasonable competitive price.

GRS has written extensive articles to assist commercial property owners with the process of completing roof replacements, some of which are on our blog and website. Here are some articles for your consideration when planning a commercial roof replacement:

https://www.grscanadainc.com/Commercial_Roof_Replacement.html – Considerations for Commercial Roof Replacements

https://www.grscanadainc.com/Replacing_a_Flat_Roof.html – The process of Commercial Roof Replacement

Until next time,

The Roofers at GRS

CONTACT US
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)
24 Hour Emergency Roof Repair: Call +1.877.497.3528 toll-free.

info@grscanadainc.com

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.

Roof Vents and Attic Ventilation: Problems and Solutions

General Roofing Systems Canada provides roof ventilation repairs to  throughout Canada.  Roof ventilation Repairs are completed in the following cities; 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

Roof Ventilation Changed for Proper Attic Air Flow (Condensation Problems)

This is the time of year that we receive a number of calls from homeowners regarding  leaking roof problems.

Some of the top reasons for leaking roof problems are:

  1. Chimney flashing is installed incorrectly and is leaking.
Roof Repair Roof Leak
Replacement of Flashing around the Chimney is done correctly using roof membrane (ice and water) and then proper flashing is installed to back and side of chimney
  1. Skylight flashing has leaks due to incorrect installation.
100_0709 - Copy
Skylight Repair and Replacement in Progress. Premium roof underlay membrane is installed around the skylight which keeps it from leaking.


3. Valleys on roof are leaking. Shingles in roof valleys are commonly done wrong.

100_0702 - Copy
Roof Valley being installed correctly with roof underlay. Roof flashing installed on top, and synthetic roof underlay to rest of roof.
  1. Attic condensation that causes moisture in the attic. The attic moisture manifests as “roof leaks” due to poor roof ventilation. Roof ventilation is not adequate at either the ridge of the roof (exhaust) or at the soffit area (intake).
Roof Sheeting Mold, Attic Mold, Condensation II
Attic Ventilation Problems Cause Condensation and Roof Rot, Mold, Energy Loss, and More

 

  1. Improper Installation of Roof Underlayment.
Re-Roofing, Shake to Asphalt, Coloured Metal Drip Edge - Eave Edge
Properly Installed Roof Underlay : The Ice and Water Shield is installed to roof deck at roof eave edge and synthetic premium underlay installed to rest of roof (complete roof area covered and no wood is left to show, roof tar felt is not used as it dries out and cracks and causes leaks)

 

  1. Improper Installation of Roof Vents and Penetrations
Ice and Water Membrane to Back and Sides of Roof Openings, Wall, Step
Above is an example of proper roof vent installation. This method can be used with any penetration at the roof deck. Roof vent has caulking under vent, high quality ice and water underlay is applied to both sides and to the back of vent which will not allow ice build up to enter under shingles to cause any roof leaks.
  1. Improper Installation of Roof Flashing at Wall (where roof meets a wall).

Shake Roofing, Shake Roof Repair Alberta, General Roofing Systems Canada (Alberta)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Roof Flashing at wall base on this home was not done correctly (non existent) on this cedar roof resulting in the home-owner experiencing leaks.

 

The home in the photos of this roof repair were experiencing leaks in there skylights. To resolve this issue, we changed the skylight flashing, which brought forth further attic condensation problems. The combination of the two problems resulted in the roof ventilation needing  to be repaired.

The steps to complete this repair are as follows:

Remove roof vents at peak of roof. 

  1. Remove IKO shingles around roof vents to expose roof underlay.
  2. Remove roof underlayment to roof deck (sheathing).
  3. Remove DuroFlo vent to expose roof attic space.
  4. Inspect exposed roof deck for damage due to attic moisture (condensation).
  5. Install backing to opening and fasten roof deck patch to holes.
  6. Install patch cut to fit each hole.
  7. Install new roof underlay.
  8. Install IKO shingles as needed.

Install 2 new Whirlybird turbine roof vents at peak:
1. Remove IKO shingles at location on roof.
2. Remove roof underlay to expose roof deck.
3. Inspect roof boards for condensation.
4. Cut hole in roof deck to install new vents
5. Attach whirley bird vents to roof deck over vent access.
6. Install new underlayment.
7. Install IKO shingles as needed

Roof Repair, Residence has Attic Condensation Problems

Roof Repair - Attic Ventilation - Whirley Birds

Attic Ventilation, Remove Duroflo Vents to Whirley
Attic Ventilation, Remove DuroFlo Vents and change to Whirlybird turbines
Shingle Roof Repair
New IKO Shingles installed
Roof Repair,
IKO Dual Black Shingles installed Over Vent Hole
Roof Repair - Attic Ventilation - Whirley Birds
Whirlybird Installation for Attic ventilation repair
Attic Vents - Whirley Bird
Attic Vents – Whirlybird
Roof Vents - Remove Duroflo Vents
Nearing job Completion

 

About Roof Ventilation:

Correct attic ventilation provides your roof with the correct amount of airflow to prevent moisture buildup. Moisture in the attic space causes roofing to rot and release condensation. Proper ventilation will help energy costs by regulating the temperature of your home.

Attic ventilation is important to reduce the buildup of heat in your attic which can cause ice dams, shingle decay, condensation, higher energy costs and even mould. Additional ventilation is often required in older homes to meet the BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan Building regulations. This is also required to meet  the shingle manufacturer warranty requirements.

Attic ventilation can be corrected:

The roof repair above shows us adding roof vent turbines (whirley birds) to increase air flow to the attic in this home. You can also install ridge vents or more conventional roof vents.

How to Calculate Proper Attic Ventilation:

There is no such thing as having too much attic ventilation.  Realistically you want your attic to be the same temperature as it is outside in the winter and in the summer you want  to be able to get the warm air out.

The primary focus when  ventilating an attic is to not actually bring down the attic temperature (of course this would be beneficial in summer when your house and attic are hot). The main reason for ventilating the attic is to eliminate the moisture in your attic space that causes roof leaks and a host of other problems such as; ice dams, rot, shingle warranty problems, paint peeling and mould. Improper venting causes your house to sweat and not breath right.

The following is how you would calculate the proper amount of ventilation required for an attic:

  1. Multiply the total square footage of your attic space by 144.
  2. Divide the total above by 2.
  3. Divide total above by by 300.
  4. What is called the “net free” area you now know. The net free square inch area required for intake ventilation (for example at soffit) and the exhaust ventilation (for example the vents at the ridge as in the photos above).
  5. Divide the “net free” area by the ‘”net free'” area the Ventilation Product Manufacturer provides on the box. This will be your calculation for how many roof vents you need to install for correct attic ventilation.

Attic Solution – Keep the Heat Under Control With Proper Attic Ventilation!!!

Until Next Time,

The Team at GRS

CONTACT US:
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)
24 Hour Emergency Roof Repair: Call +1.877.497.3528 toll-free.

info@grscanadainc.com

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

Low Slope Shingle Conversion to Flat Roof Membrane

Re-Roofing? Converting Low Slope Shingles to Flat Roof Membrane Roofing on Your Home or Considering Converting a Flat Roof to a Pitched Roof?

General Roofing Systems Canada Re-roofs Low Slope Roofs throughout Canada. Our roofing services are available in Toronto, Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler and points between.

Below you will find comments regarding various aspects of roofing conversions from our senior project manager.

One common challenge homeowners have when considering re-roofing a flat roof or a low slope roof on their home (we receive many inquiries about) are homes with a low slope pitch that currently have shingles on the roof and the homeowner is considering a conversion to a flat roof membrane when they re-roof instead of the shingles. Or, homeowners are considering converting a flat roof on their home to a pitched or sloped roof instead.

Low Slope Roofing Challenges

Low slope roofs on residential homes (in colder climates like most of Canada) can pose a significant challenge.

Vaulted Ceilings: Often these homes have vaulted or cathedral ceilings. The vault in the ceiling replaces the traditional steep pitch home attic space. The issue with this home design is that hot air from the inside of the house can more easily get to the underside of the roof sheathing. The problem with this is that the warm air causes snow on the roof to melt. Then when it cools down at night the melting snow turns in to ice and over time ice dams develop on the roof.

Attic / Roof Space Insulation: In these homes it is often the case that the insulation value is poor. Either as a result of moisture (roof leaks or condensation) or in many instances when the home was built very little insulation was placed in the roof cavity. Lack of insulation allows the hot air from in your home to get to the underside of the roof causing ice dams. It is critical to have proper insulation R values in your roof.

Ice Dams: The problem with ice dams is that they wreck roof membranes and roof shingles and cause leaks into your home. So basically what occurs is that the heat from in your home gets in to the roof assembly (sometimes the vapor barrier is non existent or faulty), gets past the vapor barrier, through a lack of insulation and heats the underside of the sheathing and ice dams build up. A steep slope roof has more opportunity to vent the hot air out of the attic because of the larger space available in the attic, the intake cold air at the soffits and the exhaust vents at the ridge (and the pitch is steep and taller which helps). Ice dams will work their way up the roof slope as freeze thaw continues. As the ice dams work their way up the slope the ice dams push up shingles and get under the shingles and melt as a result of the hot air from your home entering the roof cavity and this causes leaks in to the home. Low slope membranes are not as susceptible to this problem because the membrane systems are harder for ice to get under. If you stay with shingles vs. a low slope membrane you can also use Ice & Water membrane under shingles. A good drip edge at the eave edge may also help.

Ice & Water Membrane (for under shingles): Ice & Water membrane is a self-adhered membrane that should be installed in warm weather (commonly referred to as a peel and stick). With a low slope roof like a 3:12 you can get away with using Ice & Water on the whole roof and installing shingles over top. “Get away with” is a loose term I suppose – it isn’t guaranteed that just this step will solve your condensation or roof leak issues from ice damming. Your roof assembly and / or attic system is like the lung of your home. Just solving one of the many potential problems (such as installing Ice & Water) may or may not solve the problem. If your roof is a steeper pitch like 5:12 or more then I would only recommend Ice & Water at the eave area (about 44″), in valleys (under valley metal), and around penetrations etc. Our main website has a lot of information about these details at www.grscanadainc.com. Click on “steep slope roofing” and view the various article, links, etc.

Anyway, back to low slope roofing issues and Ice & Water membranes…

Ice & Water membrane is suggested because when the hot air from your home gets to the underside of the shingles and ice dams melt under your shingles the Ice & Water may keep the water from getting into your home. But it may not. At issue is that when one installs the shingles over the Ice & Water, the shingle nails are now penetrating the Ice & Water membrane. BE CAUTIOUS with claims by roofing salespeople that tell you this is not a problem because the Ice & Water or peel and stick will “self heal”. In other words, the claim is that when the nail penetrates the membrane that the membrane will seal around the nail – or self heal. Not all peel and stick membranes do this and you are relying on it actually occurring – there is no way to know if it did or did not seal around the nails because the shingles are now installed over top of the membrane.

Frost and Condensation: Frost will collect on the underside of your roof deck sheathing if hot air from your home gets to that area. When the frost melts it can appear as though you have a roof leak when water appears on the ceiling. Condensation can also make itself appear as a roof leak. As warm air enters the attic or roof assembly and has no where to go (your roof exhaust vents are not performing properly) then the condensation can turn in to leaks. This will typically manifest at walls, windows and doorways. Condensation can slowly ruin the complete structural components of any home. Leaks can be occurring over years inside walls and slowly destroying your home, not to mention the issues with mold and mildew.

Attic Ventilation: Attic ventilation is critical. Venting your attic or roof space (limited in vaulted or cathedral ceiling homes) is critical. If you do not get the warm air out of the attic or roof assembly in an efficient manner that heat will cause many problems (as above – ice dams, frost, and condensation that cause leaks).

Soffit: Also known as the cold air intake portion. The soffit area of your home is the breath in part of your roof assembly lung. The soffits are located under the roof overhang. Sometimes they are located at the wall or vertical part of the exterior of your home. This scenario (soffits at the wall) is common in “architecturally designed” homes that are looking for a certain street appeal. Anyway, intake soffits are critical. The cold air must enter the roof assembly and travel along the underside of the sheathing and in the process take the warm air from your home (that is entering the attic) out and be exhausted by way of a rooftop vent, whirlybird or ridge vent system.

Be sure the soffit intake air is not being hindered by attic insulation. Very often home owners that do not understand the principals of attic ventilation that do their own home renovations will put insulation over the intake vents of soffits. Be sure there is no insulation over the vent areas around the edges of your attic space.

Roof Vents: The exhaust portion of your attic or roof assembly. Roof exhaust ventilation is critical. Their are various guides for how much roof ventilation a home needs, but the problem with these guidelines is that every roof system and attic or roof assembly is different. The common guide is that for every 100 – 300 square feet of attic space you should have at least one square foot of rooftop ventilation (exhaust). We can help you design a roof vent exhaust plan to bring your probability of success as high as possible.

One quick side note about roof vents… I very often am witness to home-owners that get so frustrated trying to solve ice dam, ventilation, leaks, condensation and the like (especially with low slope roofs) that they end up listening to any snake oil or uneducated roofing salesman or roofer. And what occurs is that they end up with a combination of roof vents on their roof. DO NOT allow just anyone to start adding roof vents. A whirly bird installed near static vents on a roof will not work. It will cause the air to get sucked in to the roof attic and run immediately to the other vent and out – which does not help the cause to say the least.

Vapor Barrier: And finally we get to the vapor barrier. The problem with the vapor barrier is that finding gaps or holes in a vapor barrier can take time. Look for any penetrations through the vapor barrier. Inspect these areas closely. You may want to re-tape or caulk or seal in some way all penetration just to be sure they are air tight. If you have a low slope roof assembly this is near impossible because you can’t crawl in to the roof space typically.

Is there good news? I feel bad for homeowners that have these problems – they put their life savings into a home that in some cases becomes such an aggravation that much of their life can become consumed with the problem because in some instances the problem is literally destroying their home, the family peace, and their life long investment.

There is good news, but often it takes a lot of patience with the person or company that is helping you and it often takes significant investment.

My advice is to be sure you have an expert. An expert can take you through a logical process of elimination. In other words, the possible reasons for the problem are such… and the list is in order of priority… and at each step of remediation lets take a look at how the roof assembly now performs under different weather and seasons.

Our experts are often booked months in advance and I know that anyone else that I’ve met that is an expert at this is also booked well in advance normally. Don’t let that discourage you, book with an expert and take the time it takes to get it done right and save your investment money and peace of mind. And be very careful with quick fix salespeople in this category of work because you could be throwing good money after bad if you choose the wrong company or so-called expert.

Call or write us anytime… in this instance I would recommend you write us and email your situation to info@grscanadainc.com. The issue with just a phone call to our call center is that you will be put on a waiting list that could be for many months. But a letter can be tackled sometimes remotely by staff that have some extra time while in the office. Be sure to include when you purchased your home, the issues you are facing with your attic or roof, if the leaks or condensation issues are occurring only when it melts on a nice winter day or if issues are present when it is bitter cold in winter or even in summer. It really helps to get photos of your home from street view and rooftop view because we can often suggest solutions even before we attend for a rooftop and attic inspection.

Some considerations for low slope re-roof planning for your home:

Low Slope Roof Membranes

Today there are many more options than once available for home-owners considering flat roof or low slope roofing membranes for re-roofing. We can remove the shingles on your home and apply a number of different systems.

Homeowners call us with concerns over the cost of low slope or flat roof membranes (relative to shingles) and this becomes a serious consideration when planning for a residential re-roof project.

Low slope roofing has changed and many options are now available for re-roofing your home that are much less costly than the traditional low slope tar roofing or torch down roll roofing.

The other thing that home-owners often call about is taking a low slope or a flat roof and having it turned in to a pitched (or a high slope) roof.

Today, solutions are available for low slope residential roofs that don’t require the cost of traditional flat roofing or the expense to go from a flat roof to a pitched slope roof on a home.

Newer low slope roofing membranes are “single ply”. EPDM is a single ply low slope roofing membrane that has a 10 – 30 year membrane warranty (the membrane warranty is available for residential re-roofing as well as commercial re-roofing) and some flat roofers will tell you they expect the newer single ply roofing membranes to last 30 or 40 years. TPO is also a single ply low slope white roofing membrane. Also available is PVC – PVC is similar to TPO in that it is single ply and typically installed as white.

There are the older style systems being the torch down sbs modified bitumen roofing membrane (or roll roofing) and Tar and Gravel flat roofing (or BUR / built-up roofing).

All membrane systems listed above work on low slope re-roofing projects.

And finally, there are metal roof or steel roofing systems for low slope re-roofing and even shingles for slopes to about a 4/12 pitch. Some roofing contractors are applying low slope shingles to 3/12 but we consider it a tentative practice at 3:12.

Low Slope Residential Re-Roofing

EPDM Membrane: The residential low slope roof in the pictures of this post are of a residential low slope roof that we are re-roofing this week. The low slope shingles are being torn off and replaced or re-roofed and converted to an EPDM flat roof membrane. The EPDM roofing membrane system carries a 20 year manufacturer warranty.

Attic Insulation: Also in the re-roofing process, we are removing the sheathing from this home and an attic insulator is blowing in insulation. We are then re-sheeting the roof deck substrate and adding a low slope insulation board and finishing the roof assembly with EPDM low slope roofing.

Flashing: All the roof flashings are being replaced in the re-roofing process – the eave, gable, chimney etc will be replaced as will all roof penetrations. The two low slope skylights are being replaced.

Ventilation: The venting of this low slope re-roofing project will be redesigned and installed at the ridge or peak of the roof with a custom made ridge ventilation system that will have a curb framed in first and then the ridge vent along the ridge. This will allow for proper attic / roof space airflow and ventilation, it will keep snow from covering the ridge vent, as well the custom framed curb for the vent will keep snow from entering the roof system.

You can follow this residential re-roof project by checking back regularly on our roofing blog as we will post pictures showing the process of re-roofing from a low slope shingle roof to a low slope flat roofing membrane.

Until next time,

The Roofers at GRS

CONTACT US:
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)
24 Hour Emergency Roof Repair: Call +1.877.497.3528 toll-free.

info@grscanadainc.com

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.

Emergency Roof Repair Situations

General Roofing Systems Canada provides roof repairs throughout Canada. Roof Repairs are completed in the following cities; 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.

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Emergency Roofing Repairs

Wind Warnings and Torrential RainFall has been causing roof failures in British Columbia, while meanwhile in Southern Alberta high Winds are Blowing Shingles, Shakes, and Tiles off Roofs Again.

This week has been tough on roof systems from the West Coast all the way to Saskatchewan. Our call center has been over-whelmed with wind related roofing repairs calls along the West Coast including Victoria, Vancouver Island, Vancouver, Vancouver North Shore, and in the Fraser Valley. While in Southern Alberta such areas like Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Okotoks, and even into Calgary have been experiencing wind gusts of up to 120 km/h.

The unusual high winds have been tearing shingles off roofs and causing general havoc with a variety of roofs types. We have received calls with complaints of skylights blowing off or leaking, roof vents, flashing, and even roof hatches needing repair.

With the heavy rain on the West Coast, this has caused flat roofs to fail, this particularly has applied to those that have drainage issues or drains that are plugged. With the cycles of having warm air thawing to only freeze again due to the Chinooks in areas like Calgary, AB, this has been resulted in our 24 Hour Toll Free Emergency Roof Repair line to receive several repair calls.

We are finding that Roofs with improper attic ventilation are having condensation issues to areas even as far north as Edmonton and flat roofs are requiring more maintenance to clear drains that are freezing over with ice.

Solutions for Roof Repairs, Attic Condensation, and Roof Drainage Issues

There are some solutions we can offer to help with the various problems roofs have this time of year. However If you cannot solve the repair or maintenance issue by yourself, call our 24 hour emergency roof repair toll free number at 1.877.497.3528 and schedule a repair person to attend.

Flat Roof Membranes
Repair Crew Fixing Flat Roof Connected to an Industrial Metal Roof

Flat Roof Drainage Problems: Flat roofs unfortunately do require some regular maintenance, especially in high winds and freeze-thaw cycles.

Roof Drainage: The roof drains are prone to clog from leaves, tree branches, and with the ice and snow melting and freezing on the roof. Drainage problems on flat roofs can also be compounded by an inadequate slope of the roof. Nonetheless, a spring and fall maintenance of the roof is key to ensuring the roof bears well during bad weather. Click here to see our  Flat Roof Maintenance check list.

Roof Inspection: Extreme winds, heavy rain-fall, and snow and ice melting should trigger an inspections to be completed. It is preferable that this is completed during the storms to ensure our technician’s ability to see if the roof drains are clear.

Roof Slope Problems: With improperly sloped flat roof systems, there are solutions to mitigate these issues. An improper roof slope can be examined with our technician at the time of inspection or while we are performing maintenance to your roof.

Condensation in Attic Spaces

Roof Sheeting Mold, Attic Mold, Condensation II
Condensation in Attic Space

Sloped or Pitched Roof Attic Condensation Problems Attic condensation repairs or remediation tend to be a more involved process requiring a number of steps.

Solving Attic Condensation

Your attic require proper ventilation. You need to check the intake air typically at the roof soffits to be sure that there is enough air coming in to your attic space. Be sure to check that insulation is not covering the air from entering your attic by following the air flow along the roof sheathing to where you come to the ridge or peak of the roof.

Check the exhaust vents (typically by each square foot or along the ridge) to be sure they are not plugged with snow and see if there are enough roof vents. You will need about 1 square foot of roof venting per 100 – 300 square feet of attic. A calculation commonly used by our roofers for attic / roof ventilation is 1:250. If the air vents exhausting the intake air is appropriate then you need to check the vapor barrier of the attic. It cannot be compromised and be letting warm air in.

Warm air rises through the attic into the roof sheathing. The snow on the roof then melts and creates ice dams. The ice dams then back up under shingles, shakes, and tiles causing leaks in to attics and then ultimately in to your house through the ceiling. If none of these problems can be found in your attic, it is best for you to then call the experts.

Shingles Torn off in winds

Wind Blows Shingles off Improperly Installed Shingle Roof in Calgary
Shingles Torn off in Winds

High Wind damage and Roof Repairs to Shingles, Tiles, and Shakes Repairing Damaged Roofs: Ultimately, after the installation of shingles, tiles, or shakes are complete and the winds begin to increase, you can now face blow-off problems. The best we can do is repair the windblown damaged roof.

How to Shingle a Roof: Prior to having your roof replaced, it is a good idea to know the specifications and the proper way to shingle a roof to ensure your roofing contractor is in check at time a roof replacement is required. Our website has a series on How to Shingle a Roof that explains the process of shingling for areas with high winds and how to avoid costly repairs due to wind damage.

Roof Underlay: Beyond the actual installation principles when replacing your shingles, shakes, or tiles there is the issue of the roof underlay. If the proper roof underlay is used and is installed correctly, then one does not have a concern in regards to shingles, shakes, or tiles being blown off. The roof underlay or membrane will keep the roof water-tight with-out the shingles so no leaks occur.

Shingles for High Winds: Finally, there are roofing shingles available that are designed to withstand high winds. Shingles like the Malarkey Legacy have high wind ratings of up to 170KM per HR which gives areas like the West Coast, North Shore of Vancouver, Calgary, Lethbridge etc. some advantage over the winds that damage roofs every year.
Should you have any questions or concerns regarding your roof, our office is always able to provide over the phone advice, set up inspections or arrange for a complete repair.

Until Next Time,

The Team at GRS

CONTACT US:
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)
24 Hour Emergency Roof Repair: Call +1.877.497.3528 toll-free.

info@grscanadainc.com

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.

Low Slope Roofing- Choosing the Right Flat Roof Membrane

General Roofing Systems Canada provides low slope installations throughout Canada. Low slope installations are completed in the following cities; 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

The inquiry below came in to our call center today, we thought it best to post it as an article to our blog to assist others who have questions regarding Low Slope Roof Membranes.

The email conversation below contains standard questions and answers that our clients have when choosing the correct “low slope roofing” or “flat roof membranes”.

The following items are a listing of the topics covered amongst the email; low slope roof life cycle costs, choosing the right roofing contractor, low slope roof prices, roof installation quality, choosing the right flat roof membrane, differences between various flat roof systems, and many more.

RE: A roofers perspective of low slope / flat roof costs, life cycle costs, torch down 2difference between flat roof systems, and most importantly  roof craftsmanship.

Email Conversation:

Hello,

I am presently in the middle of preparing to build a new office space with a low slope. My architect was advising the TPO material for it being more “green” and its heat reflection.

 However,in my internet search, the results and outlook for TPO roofs is still in question. I am looking towards the old standby 2 ply SBS and I writing this letter to you as you do all these products.

 Which one would last longer and what is the cost difference between the 2 products… also include PVC if you can.

 Regards,

 

Dear valued client;

Thank you for your inquiry.

We have been receiving a lot of the same sort of inquiry lately (what are the cost of flat roofs, the life cycle cost of flat or low slope roofing, and the difference between low slope or flat roof membranes).

Generally we tend to receive these types of inquiries at this time of year, this is primarily due to commercial, industrial and home owners having time to complete research as a result of the holiday season.

With saying that, I am going to post your questions about low slope roofing to our blog along with my answers (in article form) so that our conversation(s) will assist others when researching about low slope roof membranes and roofing contractors.

Your “Roof Life Cycle Cost” will be determined as follows: 90% will be a result of the roof installation quality and 10% will be determined from which low slope roof membrane is selected.

For every ten hours you put in planning for your new flat roof, nine of those ten hours should be researching and selecting the right contractor for your project. If you put in a total of 5 hours planning your flat roof project, 30 minutes should be spent considering the different flat roof membranes available and 4.5 hours should be spent researching, selecting, and communicating with your new flat roofing contractor.

The most important aspects to considering a Flat Roofing Contractors is; Roof Workmanship Quality, WCB, BBB reports, Insurance, Liability, Warranty, Guarantee, Safety programs. Although it is not necessary that the flat roofer is a member of the BBB because complaints can be lodged whether a company is a member or not.

Random consumer complaints are not that important due to the fact that anyone can rant about anything online (It is impossible to make everyone happy 100% all the time), yet complaints to the BBB should be given serious consideration as the BBB has a highly professional process required for authenticating complaints.

The workmanship guarantee is to be considered one of the greatest factors to take into consideration.  In some ways this is even more important than the roof membrane manufacturer warranty.

Alongside this there are other considerations to keep in mind such as insurance coverages for example:

A) Work Safe / WCB clearances (you are able to get one from Worksafe / WCB),

B) Commercial Liability Insurance (which should be 5,000,000.00 – some go as low as having only 2,000,000.00 insurance),

C) Roofing Contractor’s Safety Program (which ensures the workers are actually being safe while on your site including the use of hard hats, vests, harnesses, daily hazard assessments etc.)

These are all important considerations that help protect the customers. An injury to a worker can be a significant issue for a home or business owner if the roofing contractor has not followed the proper compliance procedures. Such an event like this can cause you considerable expense and aggravation.

TPO Roof Life Cycle Costs

Now in regards to your question pertaining to TPO Roofing and life cycle costs, unfortunately this is still unknown. Perhaps not scientifically, but from a flat roof installer perspective it is.

Statistically speaking, we have more data specified to PVC roofs than we do TPO. The reality is that all low slope roof membranes have similar life cycle costs. Yet when you consider them statistically or scientifically they do vary, but all in all, low slope or flat roof membranes all perform quite well.

However, coming from a “roofer’s perspective”, here is what I can tell you; An issue that we as roofers see every day on the roofs, which in truth should be your highest priority in research is the actual installation of the material itself. Numerous building and home owners alike are unaware of the actual process, procedures and potential roof failures due to improper installation of the flat roof.

Another area of concern is the other workers that will attend the roof during construction or after, such as HVAC installers for an HVAC retro-fitter.

Now with the assumption that the contractor is reliable and adheres to all the proper regulation, the reality is that things can happen when a flat roofs are being installed. No company is flawless and has a perfect flat roof installation every-time.

In the offices, we here several conversations about how things can and do go wrong, yet it is how we deal with the problem that separates us from success or failure with other roofing contractors. We see time and time again, people that do not do their proper due diligence because they assume things should just go without incident. Although this is not like buying a car. Hiring a trade is much different.

Of course on the other side of managing roofers or the installation of flat roofs is that there is the pro-active side of things that says there are things that we can do as the roofing contractors before problems arise to assist in a higher probability of a proper roof installation occurring.

Now, in our instance we have done things like institute our industry with an Unconditional Lifetime Guarantee which causes our roofing staff to be more aware of the day-to-day incidents that could occur. It is our responsibility to provide superior roof craftsmanship. This has our staff in a more stringent project path for a flat roof installation quality control system. Ultimately, the craftsmanship itself is what most determines the true cost of your flat roof and not which flat roof membrane or flat roof system was chosen.

Once you get past the issue of the quality of installation for your roof and hiring the right contractor you can then consider which roof membrane to use.

Now to provide some answers specific to your questions, here are some considerations for your low slope roof membrane research;

 

With respect to traditional low slope roofing (SBS, TPO, PVC, EPDM, BUR) I would recommend using 2 ply SBS modified with complete confidence.

The reason is that with a single ply, you have opportunity for what we call catastrophic Failure. In other words, a hole the size of a quarter in the membrane can cause significant damage to the complete system as the water can travel. With SBS, it is torched down and the opportunity for water migration is less. Here’s one other factor to consider with SBS modified, if you have roof installer that does not install the membrane correctly, this will result in you having significant issues. The deficiency list can be considerable and cost more than replacing the roof in the first place.

Now, You didn’t ask about multi-ply low slope roofing specifically, yet I am going to take the liberty of giving you a couple of thoughts regarding those systems. You are able to get a multi-ply low slope roof like the Tough Roof System that will give you the reflective values you desire. Additionally, you will get the sense of security knowing your roof will have maintained durability. The Tough Roof is a multi-ply built up (BUR) roof system that has layers of bitumen (in this case a synthetic layer in between instead of the traditional felt mats between each layer) and on the top, Tough Roof uses white elastomeric roof coating which contributes to the reflective component.

The other option you have in these newer systems is a multi-ply liquid rubber system which is VOC free, completely environmentally friendly and you can cover it with an acrylic reflective top coat. The system is a proprietary system from General Roofing that includes 2-4 layers of liquid rubber with a synthetic fabric between layers of built up and with an optional top coat of acrylic reflective roof coating. Of all the systems you can get, this particular system is most environmentally friendly, it is bullet proof like the built up roofs, and it can be as reflective as you choose.

So ultimately your choices are; traditional 3-4 layer built up roofing (Tar and Gravel) which is 3-4 layers of tar with tar felt paper in between, then the 2 ply modified bitumen which is torched down, the single ply roofing (EPDM, TPO, PVC) which is mechanically fastened, fully adhered, or ballasted, and then the newer type of built up roof like the Tough Roof which is 3-4 ply of tar with synthetic fabric between the layers with an elastomeric top coat for reflectivity and the newer built up liquid rubber systems from GRS that are 2-4 layers of built up liquid rubber with a synthetic fabric between the layers with the option of a reflective top coat of acrylic elastomeric roof coating.

From least expensive to most expensive the roof membrane systems typically go from least expensive to most costly as follows; Spray Foam, EPDM, TPO, PVC, 2 Ply, GRS Liquid Rubber BUR, Traditional BUR, Tough Roof. However, it is important to note when considering the cost of a flat roof or a low slope roof system two things. First, the cost difference between flat roof systems as you go from one to the next is small in comparison to expected life cycle cost planning. For example, EPDM roofing is moderately more costly than Spray Foam, and PVC moderately more cost than TPO and on and on as you go through each system. Yet the important consideration is the cost of the roof over a period of time. A properly installed Tar and Gravel roof or properly installed 2 Ply SBS Torch on Roof will likely last much longer than EPDM, TPO, or even PVC – “likely” has a number of considerations…. weather, application, service workers on the roof, etc. And a Liquid Rubber Built Up Roof and the Tough Roof built up systems have almost unlimited life cycle as they both come with maintenance agreements to renew the top reflective layer of elastomeric coating.

I hope this has helped answer your questions, please feel free to contact us any time should you require more information or would like to ask us more questions.

Until next time

The staff at GRS

 

CONTACT US:
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)
24 Hour Emergency Roof Repair: Call +1.877.497.3528 toll-free. Email info@grscanadainc.com

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.