Flat Roof Drainage and Leaks: It May Be Plumbing and NOT the Roof

General Roofing Systems Canada provides Flat Roof Repairs throughout Canada. 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.

Below you will find a simple account of a service call inquiry. Oftentimes, there are multiple contracting parties involved in a roof repair. This includes plumbers, the roofers themselves, other construction services in the area, and obviously the stakeholders themselves.

In this case, a simple misunderstanding concerning the purpose of water testing culminated in repeated requests for service calls outside of the ongoing work we had been performing for the client. Finally, our client’s property manager provided us with the implements to deal with the problem. As suspected, it was the plumbing – not the roofing system itself – which was causing major leaks.

We have included a comprehensive explanation from our national project manager as well as a follow-up correspondence by a third-party plumbing contractor concerning this matter.

Water Source Needed to Test Drainage System

As you know, for about a year and a half, GRS has been requesting a water source at the building to be able to test your drains. On each occasion, we have been told that a water source is being to be made available. As well, our crews have been told that it is likely the water source has been covered up in construction, but that we may be able to use a neighbour’s water source until a proper solution could be found. Up until today, no water source has been offered.

The Reasons Drains Need to be Tested

a. The source of the leaks were previously at the drain system. We requested the drain assembly (the connection to a new drain and U-Flow, and the connection to the drain) be redone with a plumber – we would provide the roofing services and the plumber would provide the connection services. This was not done at that time. My understanding is that the plumber only cleared the drain system. So, we requested a water source so that we could test the drains/plumbing ourselves to eliminate them as the main issue, or conclude that they are the suspected cause of your leaks.

b. The plumbing system and assemblies are old. It is common for drainage during times of heavy rain (which is when your building is having issues) to back up and leak at the drain bowl assembly connection to the drain pipes. As the water rises and then meets the bowl assembly, if there is not a U-Flow expander and/or proper drain bowl, the water will then get between the pipe and the connection to the bowl. What occurs is the water that is backing up will then get into the roof assembly and begin to run along various areas and manifest themselves through the ceiling. At the time of your roof replacement, there was no work order for the plumbing and drainage to be modernized, and normally this is not an issue. This this does become one, it is typically solved with a quick water test and simple remediation work (such as bowl replacement, U-Flow backup expander installations, and/or repairs to the drain pipes).

Discussion with the Site Manager

Water testing only works when it is not raining and is intended to isolate the drainage system from the roof membrane that we replaced. This is the reason for the need of an external/outside water source. We test the drainage system with a hose, which allows us to isolate the drainage system on its own. If that test does not show that it is the drainage system, then we go on to retest the membrane. We also test various other penetrations, such as rooftop units and/or vents, pipe boots, etc. Finally, we move onto testing various other components of the building envelope, such as the connection of the roof to the wall and the flashing areas.

Your site manager also asked that an emergency be done (such as pumping water off the roof), to which I replied that we could, if requested, dispatch an emergency crew for that, but we would have to charge extra because we have requested on numerous occasions for the water test to be done to the drainage system, and that has not been done. The site manager did not seem to want the emergency service under those terms.

I should also note that on the other occasions that we did respond in this fashion, that we did not charge for the emergency service. We did this despite finding that it was a drainage problem by the plumbers at that time. Furthermore, I will also note that on each occasion we did recoat the roof and did not charge for that either.

The only reason we are now saying that we have no choice but to charge a service fee is because we have requested number times to have water access. Part of our servicing parameters included that should the water test not to be done, that we would charge a fee for the emergency service.

You also asked us about why water was pooling on the roof. I explained to the site manager that at the time of the roof replacement, an engineered sloped insulation package and rebuild of the building exterior (parapet wall construction, sheet metal, siding, etc.). We were only approved to go ahead with the roof membrane replacement only. He asked why that was so, and I said that it is an option and that not all (in fact, less than 50%) of the buildings we service have a sloped insulation package installed. I directed him to all the neighbouring buildings as examples of those that do not have such sloped systems.

Discussion with the Property Manager

I explained to the general property manager that we needed to test the various components of plumbing, membrane, units, vents, plumbing boots, and possibly the building envelope at the roof to wall connections. Finally, we have been promised an external water source to isolate the issue based on our tests.

Plumbing Contractor’s Follow-up with the Property Manager

August 21, 2015:

I was sent out to have a look at water leaking in the building. I found that the roof was full of water and it is what was pouring into the suites. The one drain was working, but very slowly. I called in the drain cleaners and went through it with them.

The snake was getting caught up on something, so I had them use the camera and we found there is something stuck in the piping. We traced it to the piping in the ceiling of a first floor room. We will need to return when the water is all gone and open the ceiling, remove the piping, and then get the cause of the blocking out. As it stands, the system is draining as much as it can with whatever is causing the blockage.

Also, the building has some piping up to the roof drains. These are not ran well and are back-graded for parts of the system. I have left it disconnected for the drain that has the problem.

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.

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.

 

Low Slope Roofing: Metal, Shingles

Low Slope Flat Roof & Metal Roof
Low Slope Flat Roof & Metal Roof

General Roofing Systems Canada installed low slope roofing systems throughout Canada. Roof installation; 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.

When re-roofing low slope roofing systems it is important to be sure you are using the right material for the right roof slope, local building code, and roof material manufacturer specification.

Below we provide a guideline for low slope shingles, roof membranes of flat roofs, and metal roofing.

Low Slope Roofing Shingles

Serious consideration is required when you are considering re-roofing a sloped system that is less than a 4/12 pitch.

For roofing with a 3/12 pitch, regular shingles can usually be installed with a two-ply 15 lb. roofing felt paper as underlay.

The GRS specification for installing roofing shingles is to never use felt paper. Instead, we use Ice & Water protector on eaves, valleys, around chimney flashing, etc. and use synthetic roof underlay such as titanium. In this instance (with a 3/12 roof), I would consider seriously using only an Ice & Water membrane versus the two-ply roofing felt. This is especially important around chimney and skylight flashing, and any roof vents, valleys, and openings.

A roof that has a 2/12 – 3/12 slope is more tentative and the risk increases. Some shingle manufacturers such as IKO with the Cambridge shingle will put a 12-year warranty on low slope roofs. Malarkey shingles will honour a 30-year warranty.Malarkey 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 (PDF):

Malarkey Shingle Installation Guide – Includes Install Instruction for Low Slope 2/12 – 4/12

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)

IKO Shingles
IKO Shingles

Low Slope Roof Membranes (Flat Roofing)

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

  1. Single-ply membranes in the form of EPDM (rubber), TPO (thermal plastic), or PVC (polyvinyl chloride). They are either fully adhered, mechanically fastened, or ballasted.
  2. Two-ply membrane, the primary choice being SBS modified bitumen that can be torched down or cold applied.
  3. Built-up roofing (BUR). Another way of describing multilayer roofing. An examples would be the traditional tar and gravel roofs, or flat-top tar roofs.
  4. New BUR. More recently, modern technologies have advanced the built-up roof so that they utilize environmentally friendly products and modifiers versus the tar or bitumen commonly used in tar roof systems. These newer versions are extremely tough, will outlast almost any other roof (in our opinion), and are VOC-free, making them sustainable offerings to low slope roof assemblies. The GRS liquid rubber built-up flat roof is an example of a modern system with 800% elasticity and environmentally-friendly synthetic fabric between layers, as opposed to employing the use of traditional tar felt paper.
  5. Spray Foam Roofing.
Low Slope Roof
Low Slope Roof

Low Slope Metal Roofing

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

With residential roofing, metal is more typically found on steeper residential roofs. We install a lot of metal systems at mountains villages like Squanism, Canmore, Banff, Cranbrook, Fernie, etc. We also do a lot of residential metal roof shingle installations in cities like Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary. Residential metal panel and shingle installations are growing in popularity, but the greatest volume of metal work is on industrial facilities by far.

Low Slope Metal Roof
Low Slope Metal Roof

At issue with metal roofing is that no other form of roofing material expands or contracts as much as metal does. The seams between roof panels, the fasteners, roof openings at vents, chimneys, flashings, and skylights are expanding and contracting all the time. Ultimately, metal roofing leaks due to this expansion and contraction.

Also, condensation with metal or steel roof systems can be an extremely frustrating situation. Many roof leaks with homes or businesses are actually not leaky roofs. Instead, it is water coming through the ceiling as a result of condensation.

Dealing with the potential leak or condensation issues with metal roofing in advance of installing a new system is key.

We solve the problem of metal roof leaks with installing a premium roof membrane under the metal roof system, using a premium caulking tape at the seams, and installing hidden fasteners. If you really want to solve the potential of leaks or condensation in advance, torch an SBS modified membrane or spray liquid rubber in advance of putting the metal roof on.

For commercial roofing and industrial roofing that already has a metal roof on that is leaking, typically we will coat the roof with liquid rubber and it will be good for another 10 years or more. Trying to locate metal roof leaks and deal with them in an isolated way is not usually a good investment of time. Click here to visit the 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.

British Columbia | Alberta | Saskatchewan | Manitoba | Ontario