Every Canadian homeowner knows that summer is the best time to pursue big renovation projects around the house. With the sun shining and the temperatures balmy, it’s a lot easier to contemplate replacing your windows, installing new floors, or just undergoing regular home maintenance tasks. Roofing is no different. Who wants to undergo major repairs to their roof during sub-zero temperatures?
Now that June has come around many homeowners are getting to work on their lists of projects for the summer — it’s prime season don’t put off those repairs being an idea most Canadians can relate to.
Even if you aren’t having your roof replaced this year, you should still consider spending some time and money ensuring your roof system is in good shape by tackling one or more of these roof repair projects this summer.
1. Look After Your Attic Ventilation
Ventilation plays an essential role in guaranteeing the longevity of your roof, but it is an aspect of roof maintenance that is often overlooked. A significant amount of roof damage is caused by a build-up of moisture inside the attic itself during the winter months, and much of this build-up is caused by condensation that forms when warm air from the interior encounters cold outside air in the attic.
If that condensation has nowhere to go, it can cause mould to spread through your house, compromise your roof deck, and, if left unchecked, can even rot out your rafters. Because this damage is largely invisible, homeowners often don’t even know it is happening until it is too late.
This is why it is important to be proactive about ensuring you have sufficient attic ventilation. A well-vented attic ensures that hot rising air is channelled out of your home and that any condensation that does form has a chance to dry out before it settles into the timber. In the hotter months, a well-vented attic has the added benefit of circulating air more effectively and reducing the internal temperature.
If you want to know how to keep your roof cool in summer one of the best things you can do is reconsider the type of attic ventilation you are currently using. Many mid-century Toronto homes were built with simple box vents that rely on wind to draw air into the attic. While these vents are effective when installed correctly, they have been surpassed as the industry standard by modern ridge venting, which provides more venting per square foot and are more aesthetically pleasing.
Better attic venting will also reduce the likelihood that you will need to deal with problems like ice damming.
Ice damming happens in the winter, when warm air from the attic heats up the roof deck and causes snow near the ridge to melt and run down toward the gutters. Because the eaves the overhang the roof are colder than the main part of the roof, the water then freezes along the gutter. If you have noticed that large icicles tend to form on your gutters during the coldest months of the year, this is a sign that your roof is probably suffering from ice dams.
The most visible damage ice damming poses is to the integrity of your gutters, but the worst effects of ice damming are felt under the shingles themselves. As the gutters become clogged with ice, melt water has nowhere to go, and pools along the eaves. This creates large sheets of ice under the shingles, which can cause rot to set in over time.
Better attic ventilation means there is less of a likelihood that the snow on your roof will start melting in the first place, putting less strain on your eaves and gutters and keeping your roof intact for longer.
2. Clean Your Gutters and Install Gutter Guards
Most homeowners understand the importance of cleaning out their gutters. Gutters that are filled with dead leaves and dirt regularly overflow, causing water to pool beside the foundation and creating unsightly hard water stains on your vinyl or wood siding that can be extremely difficult to get out.
But overflowing gutters don’t just cause problems when it comes to channelling water away from your house and ensuring that you don’t have issues with water damage to your external walls. When debris builds up in gutters, it can also push water back up under the shingles, where it can rot your roof deck and reduce the life of the shingles themselves.
Most modern roofing companies install extra protection along the roof eaves for precisely this reason, and if your roof was put in any time in the last twenty years, it probably has a layer of ice and water membrane beneath the shingles to waterproof the roof deck where it meets the gutter. Ice and water membrane is designed to provide a second skin, protecting against any moisture that might be forced up beneath the shingles.
But while ice and water membrane is an essential part of any Canadian roof system, it can only do so much. As with any roofing component, reducing the strain caused by clogged gutters is one of the best ways to extend the life of your roof.
Having your gutters regularly emptied is a great place to start, but installing gutter guards helps ensure that as much water as possible is channelled through the downspouts and away from the house itself.
3. Get New Soffits and Fascia
Soffit boards and fascia play an essential role in protecting your rafters and improving the curb appeal of your home. They are also, like attic ventilation, an often-misunderstood aspect of the roof system.
The fundamental role of soffit boards and fascia is to close in and protect the underside of your roof where it overhangs the eaves. This is a particularly vulnerable part of the home, and without good soffit and fascia, water can easily be blown up and under the eaves and into the house itself, dramatically reducing the lifespan of your roof deck and rafters and potentially causing extensive water damage to your exterior walls.
Homeowners in Toronto have another reason to take care with their soffit boards and fascia. Racoons, birds, and even opossums have been known to make their homes in the relative warmth and dryness of the space between your fascia and your roof, so checking to make sure that you aren’t playing host to unwanted vermin that can wreak havoc on your attic and your insulation is essential.
If you notice any damage to either the soffit boards or the fascia, get in touch with Professional Roofers before you try fixing it yourself. Soffit and fascia are difficult to install, and soliciting the help of experts is essential if the job is to be done right.
4. Replace Your Skylight — Or Get a New One!
Skylights are an incredible feature for any home, and are particularly important in Canada, where the winters are long and dark and daylight is often at a premium.
Skylights have been shown to offer a range of positive impacts for homeowners, including making it easier to get vitamin D, and increasing energy levels. Skylights can also add value to your home, and will even help you save on your electricity bills by reducing your reliance on artificial light.
If you want to install a skylight or replace your old one it is important to make sure that the work is done by experienced roofers who understand how the skylight interacts with the other components of your roof. When installed properly, a skylight is completely safe and provides more than enough insulation, but when the work is not done with sufficient care and attention to creating a watertight and airtight barrier, it can become a real hazard.
If you think a skylight might improve the comfort and pleasure you take in your home, get in touch today to learn how Professional Roofers can help you with the installation. With decades of experience in the industry, our roofing experts can help find exactly the right roofing solution to meet your needs.
Long-time Canadian homeowners know that when it comes to making improvements around the house, undergoing routine maintenance, and tackling renovation projects, there is no season like summer. Taking good care of your roof is a great way to improve the comfort of your home, and a roof that is in good shape will add significant value to it for years to come.
This year, don’t let the summer pass you by without taking on one of these four roof repairs. With the experienced roofing experts at Professional Roofers, making sure your roof is in the best possible shape is easy. Give us a call today to book your consultation!