Spring Roof Maintenance Tips for Toronto Homeowners

Spring has come to Toronto again, and for many homeowners, the return of warm weather offers the perfect opportunity to get a head start on cleaning and maintenance work around the house.

After months of snowstorms and ice storms, of freezes and thaws and blustery nights, there is plenty of maintenance needed, but the first priority should always be the roof of your home, for the simple reason that a roof that has been damaged by winter will only suffer more damage once the spring rains start to fall.

As a lakeside city, Toronto sometimes benefits from milder weather than the rest of the province — but it is also frequently buffeted by icy gales and lake-effect snow, and it must weather frequent heating and cooling which can cause buildings to age much more quickly than they would in colder but more predictable climates.

These factors can have an especially serious impact on your home’s roof, which is why making sure it is in good condition is a smart way to kick off the season’s maintenance work. If you want to guarantee a leak free spring, make sure you follow these three tips for checking up on your roof.

Start with a Thorough Inspection

As with any maintenance task, the first thing to do is find out what state your roof is in. As soon as it is safe to do so (and only if you are comfortable getting on the roof yourself), take a walk around your roof to see what state it is in.

You will want to observe whether there are any problems with the shingles themselves, of course, but it is also important to look at any chimneys, gables, gutters, flue pipes, and other elements of your roof system to ensure that they have not sustained damage over the winter. A roof inspection is also a great opportunity to clear away debris that may have fallen onto it over the winter.

Once you have given the roof an external inspection, check your attic to see if there is any internal damage. Be careful, though — it is not uncommon for raccoons and other animals to take shelter in the attics of older houses during the winter.

Generally speaking, there are three common types of minor roof damage you should look out for. While each of these problems is easy to solve, if left alone it can lead to major issues down the road.

1. Deteriorated Flashing

Some parts of a roof (the edges of dormers and gable gutters, for example, or chimney stacks) are weaker than others, which is why Toronto roofers install galvanized steel flashing to provide added protection.

Most of the time, flashing is invisible and provides a hidden layer of extra-resistant waterproofing, but as your roof ages, this flashing can become corroded and damaged by the elements. If the flashing on your roof is showing its age, it’s important to have it replaced immediately.

2. Cracked Shingles

While curling shingle is a sure sign of an ageing roof, cracked shingles can be caused by a number of different things, and aren’t only an issue on older roofs. High winds, falling limbs, rapid temperature changes, and hail can all cause tears, punctures, and cracks to form in shingles. Just because you have a few broken shingles doesn’t necessarily mean you will need to replace your entire roof, but if you aren’t sure whether a patch job will be sufficient, get in touch with Professional Roofers to get an expert Toronto roofer opinion.

3. Moisture Damage

You may find that, while the external roof deck is in good shape, there are signs of moisture damage inside your attic. This is usually caused by poor ventilation, and if left alone, it can eventually do serious damage to your home’s structural integrity in the coming years. The best thing to do is call a Toronto roofing company like Professional Roofers to come to install new ridge venting to ensure that your attic stays dry.

Experienced homeowners may be able to handle some of these repairs on their own. But if you aren’t sure about what you’re doing, make sure you get in touch with Toronto roofers who can fix your roof for you. You don’t want to take any risks with such an important part of your house!

 

If Your Roof is Damaged, Have it Replaced

Why it is Important to Make Sure Your Roof is Summer-Ready

In some cases, of course, repairs won’t be enough, and when conducting your spring inspections, you should be on the lookout for warning signs you need to replace your roof in the coming months.

After a long, difficult winter that has seen heavy snows and plummeting temperatures, many houses (especially in older Toronto neighbourhoods like Parkdale, Kensington Market, Little Portugal, Palmerston-Little Italy, Leslieville, and The Beaches) will have suffered significant damage. If your roof was already starting to show signs of age, the rapid fluctuations between mild weather and arctic vortices may have been enough to put it over the edge.

For this reason, it is important to be on the lookout in particular for the following signs of wear and tear:

1. Sagging

Sagging is the number one sign that your roof is in trouble. Sagging can be caused by a wide range of different factors but it usually indicates structural damage of some kind — rotting roof decks or damaged beams being the usual culprits. If your roof is sagging, you will definitely need the help of roof repair services in Toronto and the GTA who can provide you with solutions that will restore the structural integrity of your roof.

2. Curling Shingles

Most roofs in suburban Toronto neighbourhoods in Scarborough, North York, and Etobicoke — and many in the downtown core — are built using asphalt shingle. Asphalt shingle is popular because it is both durable and affordable, and an asphalt shingle roof usually lasts anywhere from fifteen to thirty years.

But as the shingles age, they will start to lose their gravel coating and will curl up, making them less effective at channelling away water and more likely to cause leaks. If your shingles are starting to curl, it’s time to replace them.

3. Ceiling Leaks

Finally, it is important to remember that no matter what your roof looks like from the outside, if your ceiling is showing signs of leaking, or if you have noticed that your attic insulation is excessively damp, it is important to get in touch with a Toronto roofing company like Professional Roofers right away. If water is getting in, then your roof is clearly in trouble.

If you notice any of these warnings signs this spring, making sure to get in touch with roofing Toronto experts like Professional Roofers. We have extensive experience working on all kinds of Toronto roofs, and we can guarantee you an effective, affordable roofing solution that will restore the integrity of your roof for years to come.

Don’t Take Any Chances: Always Ask an Expert 

While the previous points should cover most of the common problems in Toronto homes and roofs, it is essential for Toronto homeowners to understand that even if your roof isn’t sagging, leaking, or curling yet, that doesn’t mean it is necessarily in good health. Heavy wind storms, lashing rain, and surprise blizzards can age your roof in unseen ways, and whether you have noticed problems or not, it’s a good idea to keep track of how much time has elapsed since your roof was last replaced.

If your roof is more than fifteen years old, it’s a good idea to have it professionally inspected, so you can determine its general condition and find out whether there are more specific things you should be on the lookout for.

Remember, much of the damage a leaking roof causes will be invisible until it’s too late: long before your ceiling starts dripping water, moisture can be rotting your roof deck, spreading fungus and mould throughout your house, and can even compromise structural integrity. If you want to make sure that your home is properly protected from the elements, take steps to replace your roof before it starts to become a problem.

And when it comes to fixing or replacing your roof, remember to go with a roofing company that has extensive local experience. At Professional Roofers, we understand intimately the kind of pressures and stresses that Toronto homes and roofs face, just as we understand the different challenges posed by a three-storey nineteenth century home in Yorkville compared to a thirty-year-old bungalow in Cooksville.

We are dedicated to helping you get the best roof for your home, and for that reason, we offer a wide range of services and solutions, from flat roof repair to metal roofing, soffit and fascia, and attic ventilation. Give us a call today to find out how Professional Roofers Toronto can provide you with the help you need with spring roof maintenance today!

5 Tips to Get Your Flat Roof Ready for Spring

5 Tips to Get Your Flat Roof Ready for Spring

If you’ve ever taken a stroll through stylish up-and-coming neighbourhoods like Leslieville, Yorkville, Little Portugal, and Bloordale, you’ve probably noticed that one of the hottest design trends for new or heavily renovated single-family homes is the flat roof.

In addition to being economical and energy efficient, flat roofs give houses that clean, modern profile that is increasingly in vogue. And because flat roofs are multi-purpose spaces that can be converted into rooftop gardens or patios, they are also a practical extension of a home’s living space in a city increasingly defined by massive growth.

Over the past twenty years, flat roofs have become increasingly popular across the Greater Toronto Area. But while flat roofs come with numerous benefits, for homeowners used to traditional pitched roofs, they also come with new challenges.

Unlike pitched roofs, which require minimal care, flat roofs require regular cleaning and maintenance if they are to be kept in good condition. Now that spring has arrived, homeowners whose houses have flat roofs will need to be thoroughly inspected and cleaned, and it may even be necessary to hire flat roofing services from Toronto roofing companies like Professional Roofers to help them make repairs if winter damage has been serious enough.

If you want to get the most out of your flat roof now that the weather is warming up, here are five key steps you should take to make sure your flat roof is ready for spring.

 

1. Remove Debris

5 Tips to Get Your Flat Roof Ready for Spring

One of the things that makes Toronto such an attractive city to live in is the many beautiful old shade trees that line residential streets, parks, and ravines. But all of this greenery means that debris builds up quickly on flat roofs across the city, and the first thing you need to do once the snow has finished melting is collect all the debris that has gathered over the winter

If even if your flat roof didn’t have problems this winter with more serious issues like downed trees, fallen tree branches, or animal nests, the regular build-up of dirt and organic matter will need to be dealt with as soon as the snow is clear if you don’t want to run into more serious problems with drainage once the spring rains start to fall.

 

2. Clean all Outlets

Contrary to popular belief, a flat roof is not actually flat. Flat roofs are designed to slope gently towards drainage outlets either on the sides of the roof or in the centre. As any Toronto roofer will tell you, keeping these drainage outlets from clogging is the key to keeping your flat roof from leaking.

Once a drain is clogged, water will back up and pool on your roof, putting stress on the roof’s structural integrity and increasing the likelihood that water will find its way through the roofing membrane, into the roof insulation, and eventually through your ceiling itself.

One of the disadvantages of having a flat roof is that even if you take steps to protect your drainage outlets by installing leaf guards and other protective grilles to catch garbage and debris before it gets into the drains themselves, you are going to have to clean your roof regularly if you want to keep those drains clear.

For this reason, it is important to regularly sweep and clean your roof throughout the summer and fall, but especially during the crucial months of spring, when heavy rains and lots of accumulated gunk from the winter can cause drains to become overwhelmed quickly.

In the event that your drains do become clogged (and in a city like Toronto, this is pretty likely — especially if you live in the older-style flat-roofed houses found along Dundas Street West, Queen Street, and College Street), you will need to have it snaked. This can usually be done with a normal plumbing snake, but if the clog is bad enough, you may need to use a pipe brush or even a pressure washer.

 

3. Check for Punctures

Once the roof is clean and the drains are in good working order, you’ll want to check the roofing membrane more thoroughly for punctures, rips, or tears. The type of membrane will vary depending on what kind of flat roof you have, but most Toronto roofing membranes are made from PVC Membrane, modified bitumen, or EPDM.

Most of these materials are applied in layers and sealed to provide a watertight barrier, but winter damage can cause holes to form that allow water to seep through. As your flat roof ages, the materials will weaken somewhat, and these punctures will become more common, so it is a good idea to keep an eye out for these issues and to give us a call if you believe your roof may need to be repaired.

While roofing membranes are the most common material used in flat roofing, they are not necessarily the best flat roofing solution. At Professional Roofers, we are proud to be one of the only roofers in Toronto that offer Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) solutions as a more durable alternative.

SPF is a spray foam that hardens on contact with your roof and, when properly treated, provides an impermeable barrier to moisture and water. SPF is fast, affordable, and environmentally friendly, so if you are unhappy with your current flat roof and are considering a replacement, call us anytime to ask about the benefits of an SPF flat roof Toronto.

 

4. Inspect Parapet Wall Seams

One of the distinctive elements of Toronto’s older flat roofs is the parapet wall running along the edges of the roof overlooking the streets and alleys. These parapet walls are designed for safety and serve a variety of other architectural purposes as well (they also give the house a sharper and more pleasing profile).

But parapets can pose particular challenges when it comes to flat roof maintenance in the spring, and if your house has parapet walls, it is important to make sure they don’t compromise the integrity of your flat roof.

Because separate swaths of roofing membrane are generally used to roof the parapet wall and the roof deck, a seam usually runs along the base of the parapet wall connecting the roofing membrane of the roof deck to the membrane running up the sides of the parapet.

For obvious reasons, these seams tend to be a weak point and are particularly prone to tears and rips. And because these seams run along the edge of the wall, leaks at these joints often cause more damage to the house itself. Before you get your roof ready for summer fun, you should make sure there are no gaps or tears in these seams (one of the benefits of using SPF spray roofing as opposed to traditional membranes is that they do not have this problem).

 

5. Install a Flat Roof Deck

5 Tips to Get Your Flat Roof Ready for Spring

Now that you have made sure that your roof is clean, your drains are not clogged, and there are no punctures or tears on your flat roof, you can start turning it into a summer oasis. But before you haul up the patio chairs and the flower boxes, remember that protecting your flat roof from damage from foot traffic is essential if you want to keep it in good working condition for years to come.

One of the best ways to protect your flat roof while still being able to enjoy it is by installing a floating roof deck during the summer months. A floating roof deck is one that is not actually attached to the structure of your house, but merely rests on it. This guarantees that you can access your roof if you need to make repairs, and it protects the surface of the roof from damage.

There are plenty of design options when it comes to floating roof decks, but the best ones combine quick and easy installation with durable, waterproof materials.

Across Toronto, flat roofs have become the style of choice among homeowners who want to give their houses a modern edge while also improving energy efficiency and expanding their living space. But taking care of your flat roof requires work, and especially in the spring.

This year, make sure you start the season off right by clearing your roof, unclogging your drains, and fixing any tears or punctures before setting up for the first barbecue of the season. Not only will this help ensure you have a clean, safe, and convenient space to relax in, it will also guarantee that you can continue to enjoy your flat roof for years to come.