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 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.

Residential Roof Replacement – Shingles

Below you will find an article consisting of roof replacement options for both shingled roofs and low-slope systems. When considering a shingle roof replacement in Western Canada there are a number of different considerations to make – hopefully this list will help you!

ROOF REPLACEMENT, ROOF SHINGLE TYPES:

3 Tab Shingles
3 Tab Shingles are the traditional looking shingle. The traditional 3 tab shingles now typically have 25 or 30 year warranties. There are, however, laminate shingles now that look like a 3 Tab shingle, and there are designer 3 Tab shingles that are a laminate. The latter are designed for an Estate Home look like the IKO Royal Estate.

Laminate Shingles (Designer Shingles, Luxury Shingles, Textured Shingles)
Laminate shingles have become the standard. The older 3 tab style is no longer on these shingles typically and the laminates may be double or triple layer laminates of asphalt and fiberglass shingle material. One of the heavier laminates we like to use is the Certainteed Presidential TL.

Asphalt Shingles
An Asphalt Shingle is a type of shingle. Asphalt Shingles is a term for what the shingles are made from. Traditionally shingles were mostly made from waste paper saturated with asphalt. On the top of the shingle is an adhesive asphalt with ceramic granules. Nowadays there are asphalt shingles, asphalt mixed with other products, and asphalt modifiers in shingles.

Fiberglass Shingles
Here again, fiberglass shingle is a term for what material the shingle is made from. Fiberglass shingles typically have a base layer mat of fiberglass.

SBS Modified Shingles (Rubber Shingles)
Here again, SBS modified shingle is a term for what material the shingle is made from. The SBS modified shingle in our opinion is the best shingle you can buy, and is better for weathering and impact resistance. One of our favourite SBS modified shingles is the Malarkey Legacy Shingle. Malarkey has taken great strides in excellence with the Legacy shingle.

High Profile Ridge Cap Shingles
High profile capping is a standard upgrade in modern shingle technology. It gives your roof a high profile look at the roof ridge and roof hips as the capping shingles have a textured high profile. If you are doing a shake roof replacement the high profile ridge cap is essential.

One of our favourite Ridge Cap Shingles is the GAF RidGlass – SBS Modified High Profile Ridge Cap.
GAF RidGlass High Profile Cap

Algae Resistant Shingles
Algae resistant shingle granules contain a coating of leechable copper ceramically coated.

Roof Replacement, Roof Shingle Products and Manufacturers

Malarkey Roof Shingles

IKO Roof Shingles

Certainteed Roof Shingles

Owens Corning Roof Shingles

GAF Roof Shingles

ROOF REPLACEMENT – LOW SLOPE ROOF SHINGLES

Building Code for Low Slope Roofing
Before you listen to anyone that says you can install xyz shingles on a low slope roof, be sure to check your local building code. Typically anything less than 3/12 pitch is not allowed. However, we strongly suggest looking at not putting shingles on anything less than a 4/12 pitch roof unless you really take precautions and that requires the right low slope roofer.

Shingle Manufacturer Specifications for Low Slope Roofing
Shingle manufacturers have specifications for what they will allow for low slope shingle applications. In some instances the warranty is affected or void. Be sure to look up the shingle manufacturer spec first, before purchasing the shingles. Sometimes the shingle manufacturer will ask for 2 ply felt, or ice and water membrane on the whole roof, etc. Malarkey shingles is one of our favorites to use for low – slope.

Low Slope Roof Valley Applications
We close valleys if the roof is 3/12 slope or less. For 4/12 slope or more, we encourage open valleys (with a specific way of installing the valleys of course).

See our Homeowner Guide to Roof Replacement – How to Shingle a Roof.

Roof Underlay for Low Slope Roofing
Usually, if a low slope roof application is allowed by local building code and the shingle manufacturer states that you can install their shingles on a low slope, then either 2 ply’s of tar paper will be required or a complete ice and water membrane (peel and stick) will be required.

Alternative Membranes for Low Slope Roofing (Flat Roof Membrane Options)
When the slope is so low that you will have constant aggravations after the roof replacement is complete, it is better to consider a roof membrane designed for low slope roofing. TPO, PVC, EPDM, or a MODIFIED BITUMEN are all sound choices.

Visit Low Slope / Flat Roof Section of our Website.

ROOF REPLACEMENT, ROOF SHINGLE COLOURS

Typically, shingle colours are more limited on the lower end and on the higher end of the shingle line. When you are considering a roof replacement this is an important place to park for a few minutes. The mid line shingles like an IKO Cambridge has many options as those shingles are used in more roof replacements than, say, high-end Presidential TL.

ROOF REPLACEMENT, ROOF SHINGLES THAT HAVE A SHAKE LOOK (TEXTURE, PROFILE)

If your roof replacement is from a shake roof to a shingle roof or you just simply want the textured shake look to your shingles, there are more and more shake appearance shingles available every year.

The Presidential TL is a great example; the Owens Corning Woodcrest Collection, Certainteed Landmark, IKO ArmourShake, and the Malarkey Legacy shingles are also quality examples.

ROOF REPLACEMENT, ROOF SHINGLE WARRANTIES

Most shingle manufacturers now have Limited Lifetime Warranties on most of their shingles and on the front end the shingles will typically have a “no grief” warranty period of 10 years, or, in the case of IKO the warranty on the front end is 15 years.

GENERAL ROOFING SYSTEMS CANADA DOCUMENTS

General Roofing Systems Canada – How to Shingle a Roof Properly.

Choosing a Roofing Contractor for your Roof Replacement.

What Makes our Shingle Roofing Installers Different – Lifetime Workmanship Guarantee.

Project Portfolio and References of Roof Replacements.

Roofing Shingle Section of our Web Site.

Request Shingle Pricing Online – Roof Price Contact Online Form.

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.

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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.