Snow And Your Flat Roof

There are a few common misconceptions regarding flat roofs that are stubbornly persistent. One of them is that flat roofs leak more easily than pitched ones. Another is that they cannot handle as much snow weight as pitched roofs because the snow sits directly on the roof. Neither of these are accurate. Here at Pro Roofers, we specialize in flat roof installation and maintenance and over the years, we have gathered a wealth of expertise concerning flat roofs, so let’s set the record straight.

Weight & Insulation

First of all, if you live in a cold climate such as Toronto, Canada, you will want to install a roof with a solid thickness to leave room for sufficient insulation – say a 12-inch depth – to keep the heat in during the winter months. A roof this thick will be able to support any amount of snow, barring an avalanche, and you will have nothing to worry about. Furthermore, when you do get a solid snowfall, the snow itself will actually add to the overall insulation of your home, saving you money on your heating bill. In a paradoxical twist, this is a situation where snow will actually make you warmer! For the design and insulation to function properly, however, the roof must be installed with great care and expertise, so be sure to call our Toronto roofing experts when it comes time to install your new flat roof.

Maintenance, Leaks & Drainage

When you are working with flat roofs, the actual material is made from weather-proof membranes that are much larger than shingles. These membranes are often cost-effective depending on the size of the roof, and these days, commercial buildings often opt for flat roofs to save money and because they are more practical. A flat roof is no more or less likely to leak than a pitched roof – it all comes down to the design and the competence with which it is installed. Flat roofs must be installed on a very specific, mild slope so that the water can drain off properly, and if the drains and scuppers aren’t cleared regularly, this increases the chance of a leak or roof damage. As with anything else, vigilance and regular inspections mitigate the chances of a problem growing worse. If you have a skylight, this can sometimes add to complications as well, but getting a problem fixed quickly will always save you money in the long run – don’t let your sky light issues worsen once you’ve noticed, call Pro Roofers to remedy the problem.

Integration with Nature

From an aesthetic standpoint, a house in the country with a flat roof blends in much better than a house with a pitched roof. It’s true than in a city neighbourhood with predominantly older houses, flat roofs stick out, but it is the opposite in the country-side: a flat roof sits cleaner on the horizon and breaks up the scenery less. A consideration if you’re a lover of nature.

If you’re considering hiring someone for roof installation or maintenance, make sure you read the reviews from our customers – our solid reputation is a strong argument in our favour. As a small, family business, we have your interests at heart, whether your roof is flat, pitched or somewhere in between!

Pro Roofers Style Guide: Spotlight On Rosedale

As we progress deeper and deeper in the frigid Canadian winter, more and more snow piles up and we all do our best to keep our homes warm and cozy. Even though we have a tendency to stay inside our homes as much as possible in the winter months, on snowy days it is often tempting to brave the cold and take in the nice scenery. As some of the most sought after roofers in Toronto and the GTA, we’ve had the privilege of exploring most of the beautiful neighbourhoods in our fair city in depth and we have to say, the upscale area of Rosedale is certainly one of the most beautiful. In winter it takes on a fairy-tale like quality when the snow starts to fall. If you haven’t had a chance to explore it, we highly recommend you check it out.

One thing you’ll notice when you go on a stroll through Rosedale is that some of the huge mansions are very old, historical properties. Maintaining the shingled roofs on these houses is a huge undertaking, and since the roofs cover such a vast surface, it is often a very big job. Fortunately, here at Pro Roofers we’re no strangers to large-scale re-shingling projects; when you need your shingles redone in the spring after a harsh winter, you should certainly contact us.     

To return to the beauty of Rosedale: most of the houses are ancient red brick structures with vines growing on them and turrets that make them seem like castles. On the other hand, there are a few properties where the residents have gone against the grain and completely rebuilt. While some of the newer houses conform to the Victorian/ Edwardian aesthetic of the area, some folks have built sleek modern houses with lots of flat lines, shiny glass facades and flat roofs with weatherproof membranes.

One wonders if, over time, all of the houses in Rosedale will be converted into residences in the modern style, but for now there are still many examples of grand, historical houses with shingled roofs. While the current, more modern houses in Rosedale do upset the overall aesthetic, we must admit that flat roofs appeal to us for so many reasons. Flat roofs allow for more space in your home, and since owning a mansion comes with the perk of having lots of space, you may be inclined to maximize those high, luxurious ceilings. Having lots of space over your head feels really good, though you may not think about it too often. Just imagine being in a museum or a cathedral with a high ceiling overhead – it’s a nice feeling!

The other advantage of a flat roof is that the weatherproof membrane lasts longer than shingles and keeps the weather out very well. Furthermore, if you get into roll roofing (discussed in a previous post on the blog), then you will save money on energy bills and experienced a prolonged life in your roof.

Give us a call if you have a roofing emergency this winter and need immediate assistance. Come Spring we’ll be happy to come patch up any damage the winter has inflicted as well. Stay warm and good luck!   

Roofing Style Guide: Spotlight On Cabbagetown

Of all the neighbourhoods in the GTA, there’s something about Cabbagetown that makes it feel the most “Toronto.” As we’ve discussed on previous Pro Roofer blog posts, part of it is the many Victorian style bay and gable houses with big windows. Adjacent to Riverdale Farm, the streets are paved with cobblestone and open out into a beautiful courtyard style park. Cabbagetown also comprises community housing and apartment buildings with flat roofs, making it a neighbourhood that represents Toronto’s architectural diversity. As as an expert roofing company in Toronto and the GTA, we’ve worked on many historic and modern houses in Cabbagetown over the years, and we always enjoy its warm, welcoming atmosphere.

In this post we’ll discuss some of the more interesting points regarding Cabbagetown roofs and also offer up a few points of interest in the neighbourhood.

Cabbagetown is a great place to go for a wander and get a little bit lost. There’s the fantastic Jet Fuel Coffee where you can grab a cup of java, and Izakaya Kingyo has some of the best Japanese food in the city. Once you’ve got some food and coffee in you, get lost down some side streets and check out the unique architecture.

The steep slope of many Victorian roofs and the area are adorned with extremely ornate bargeboards carved with great care. Especial in December, with a bit of snow, some of the houses look a bit like gingerbread houses and you might feel like you’re in a little village in Switzerland. While the sharp, dynamic slope of these Victorian roofs is pleasing to the eye, it would certainly be a slippery surface for Santa Claus to tread on! While these historic roofs are very beautiful they also require a decent amount of upkeep to stay functional – if you require roof repairs in Toronto or the GTA for your historic roof, don’t hesitate to give us a shout!

The nearby Toronto Necropolis is a very cool place to visit, provided that graveyards don’t creep you out. The ancient chapel is a great example of high gothic Victorian architecture, and the wooden entryway showcases that stylized bargeboard detailing writ large. Many individuals from Toronto’s colourful history are buried in the necropolis, it’s a great place to go and connect with the past.

Across the street at Riverdale Farm, some of the asphalt shingled roofs are covered in moss and in need of repair. However, if the barns are housing pigs rather than humans, keeping out the wet may not be as much of a priority.

As with any neighbourhood in the city, some old handyman specials have been torn down and replaced by slick modern homes that list at astronomical price points. While this trend is slightly disruptive to the cohesive aesthetic of the neighbourhood, a flat roof is extremely practical and allows for additional space in the interior of a house. If you happen to be the owner of one of these more modern flat roofed homes and you are experiencing problems with your flat roof in Toronto or the GTA (or Cabbagetown, obviously), our technicians can be on sight in no time.

There you have it – the wonders of Cabbagetown. Take your family for a stroll this winter and experience the GTA’s most “Toronto” neighbourhood.

Christmas Edition: A Guide To Chimneys

While modern furnaces have more or less rendered fireplaces redundant, a wood burning furnace or a really nice hearth still hold a great deal of aesthetic value. If you’re trying to make your home warmer or cozier, there are few things as beneficial as adding a fireplace. Furthermore, if you have young children who are expecting Santa Clause this Christmas, how can you expect the gift giving saint to deliver the goods without a chimney?

In this special Christmas edition of the Pro Roofers’ blog, we’re going to take a look at fireplace and chimney design, both classic and modern. Whether you want a slick, functional, gas fireplace with a prefab metal chimney, or a good old fashioned wood burning masonry fireplace with a brick chimney, we’ve got the info you need. As the premier professional roofing company in Toronto, we’ve constructed, demolished and repaired about any type of chimney you can imagine, so trust us – we know chimneys.     

Types of Fireplace and Chimney:

Masonry: If you want a real deal, classic fireplace, masonry is definitely the way to go – however, a proper brick fireplace requires a good deal of commitment. For one thing, it will take up quite a lot of space in your home and require regular cleaning and maintenance. These types of fireplaces are also incredibly heavy, so installing them can be a real pain. Once your fireplace is installed, however, heat will radiate out through the stone throughout the entire house, creating a good deal of warmth in those nasty winter months. Another benefit to a masonry fireplace is that it adds to the value of your property. If you ever decide to sell, a functional brick fireplace will be a huge perk. The brick chimneys can be somewhat difficult to maintain, especially if they were installed earlier in the 20th century. If you have any issues with a dilapidated chimney or need our roof repair services for any other reasons, call us immediately.    

Prefabricated: Prefab fireplaces are constructed from light metal, they take up less space than masonry fireplaces and are easier to integrate with custom home design. They are typically paired with metal prefab chimneys which are less visually pleasing than brick ones. Prefab fireplaces turn on at the press of a button, so if you like building a fire this is not a good option. If you’re looking for an easy, cheap, flexible option, however, a prefab fireplace is perfect.

Wood Burning Stove: Believe it or not, some cottage style homes in Toronto are still heated by wood burning stoves. With the increase in cost of power, it’s actually a fairly economical – if labour intensive – method of heating a house. Wood burning stoves can attach to either a masonry chimney, or a prefab. From an aesthetic perspective, they are extremely rustic and attractive.

Whether you heat your home with a traditional furnace or a cozy fireplace this Christmas, we hope you manage to keep the cold out. If you want to learn more about Professional Roofers and the services we offer, read these roofing FAQs and check back next month for more Pro Roofers blog posts. Merry Christmas!  

Avoid A Roofing Catastrophe This Christmas

Christmas time is all about relaxing with your family in a warm house, drinking eggnog, building a fire and opening presents. Typically, it’s also about skiing, sledding and building a quinzee. Hopefully, if you performed autumn roof maintenance, your roof will be up to the task of keeping the snow and ice on the outside of your house. If on the other hand, you were so caught up in back-to-school season that your roof went uninspected, the wear and tear of winter storms could erode your roof and make for a chilly winter – if you find yourself in this situation, call Professional Roofers immediately. 

The last thing you want when you’re trying to impress the in-laws is a nasty draft blowing through the house. If you don’t have great insulation and you haven’t had your roof serviced in awhile, this could be a real problem. Since guest bedrooms are often located in gabled dormers – which typically jut out on the front of a house – the draft could be especially bad in that room. If your in-laws end up with pneumonia, that’s seriously bad news.

Even if you’ve never even thought about your roof and landed on this page because you’re experiencing a last minute emergency, fret not, you’re in the right place! Our company is a longstanding independent business that provides quality service at a fair price point – check out these testimonials from past clients if you’re still not sure! The truth is, even if your roof is being ravaged by winter storms, unless it’s more than twenty years old, there’s a good chance it just needs a bit of tender love and care. So if you’ve got snow in your attic and wind blowing through your bedroom, don’t freak out, just pick up the phone and give us a call.

Once you’ve had your roof properly inspected and patched, the best possible thing you can do is install insulation. Not only does this help keep out the cold, it also helps keep out the heat and – most importantly – the moisture in the summertime. Between keeping a fire going in the living room and installing proper insulation, you can save plenty of cash on your heating and cooling bills in the more extreme months.

If you’re building a new house or it’s come to the point where you need to replace your old roof, give us a call today and consult with our experts on what materials to use. Asphalt shingles were invented over a hundred years ago, and while they are still the most popular material for constructing a roof, they are not necessarily the best. At Pro Roofers, we specialize in flat roofs, which facilitate more space in your home and are crafted from weatherproof membranes that last a long, long time and are easy to maintain. Roll roofing is also a strategy – one that we’ve covered in depth on the blog – that can give your flat roof an extra layer of strength and protection. Additionally, metal roofs are great for deterring precipitation and are also excellent for durability.

Whatever your concerns this Christmas season, whether it’s overdue maintenance or a last minute emergency, we’ve got your back. Call Professional Roofers today to find out more.

Mouse Proof You Roof With Vent Guards!

The winter is upon us, and you’re not the only one who is settling in for a long, cold, cozy season. Mice are busy through the late summer and fall gathering food to store in whatever structure they can find to protect them from the elements – and this structure may well end up being your house! Mice are tiny little creatures that can fit through many little holes that offer entry point to your home: weep vents; gaps between building materials; window frames and doors; HVAC and utility lines, and of course, roofing vents.

If mice get into your home through a lower entry point, chances are that you’ll see them scurrying around your kitchen or living room. In this case, you’ll probably invest in some mouse traps or humane contraptions that keep the critters alive but allow you to get rid of them. If you live in a shared student house, you may end up keeping them around as pets to save money, but we wouldn’t advise this course of action – mice are dirty and can quickly deteriorate many aspects of your home!

While there are different methods to deal with the lower entry points, at Professional Roofers we’re mostly concerned with mouse proofing your roofing vents, where mice will often get into your attic and make a home for themselves. The problem with having mice in your attic is that you may not know they’re there until they’ve been there for months. Mouse patter is extremely quiet (hence the saying: quiet as a mouse), so you won’t hear them, and since you may not spend a ton of time in your storage attic, you may not notice the droppings and chewed up wires for a long time.

Our expert roof repair services cover a broad spectrum of work, and our talented staff is always ready to install a vent cover when they come around. In general, roof ventilation is extremely important: it prevents ice dams from forming in the wintertime (a topic that we discussed in a separate post this month), as well as mold from growing in the muggy summer months. If you have ridge vents or attic vents installed this winter, it’s no trouble to add on some vent covers while you’re at it.

The longer you wait, the better chance there is that debris and perhaps the materials for a bird’s nest may build up in your vents, or even the ventilation holes in your eaves. By installing vent covers and nailing in hardware cloth early, you nip the problem in the bud. Once you have mice hiding out in the attic, its like guerrilla warfare; keeping them out to begin with is easier. Furthermore, once you have mice, other, larger animals that feed on mice may smell their nest and try and muscle their way in to feast on the little rodents – it’s a slippery slope!

Our flat roof repair experts will happily install state of the art vents in your weatherproof membrane and help you feel a sense of security by installing quality guards designed to protect your home against the rodent invasion. Don’t let your attic become a habitat for rodents, keep it clean and well ventilated with the help of Pro Roofers!

Roofing Style Guide: Spotlight On The Annex

Last month on the Pro Roofers blog, we looked at roofs and general style on the east end of the city of Toronto, where we are based. We looked not only at roofs, but at design in general, as well as the overall mood of the neighbourhoods that make up the east. Today, we’re going to talk about another one of our favourite neighbourhoods: The Annex. Many consider The Annex to be the heart of Toronto, and it’s hard to argue otherwise. First of all, it’s central location surrounding Bloor and Bathurst makes it a solid candidate. Secondly, its funky vibe, overall friendliness and a large quantity of trees and Victorian gables on the houses all give it a specific Toronto energy that cannot be emulated.

As we have been your expert roofing company in the GTA for many years, we’ve worked in pretty much every neighbourhood you can imagine. It constantly amazes us that there are little unexplored nooks of the city that we always end up in. However, neighbourhoods like the Annex are old friends that we have become intimately familiar with.

One thing we’ve noticed about roofs in the Annex over the years is that they are often highly stylized and super colourful. One trick that we’ve noticed is that homeowners will often paint the bargeboard, soffit and fascia a vibrant colour like purple or orange to give their house a cool high-light. While we are primarily concerned with the functionality and lifespan of a roof, we also appreciate how a roof looks from an aesthetic point of view, and we think that painting the bargeboard an interesting colour is always a great way to add character to your home’s exterior.

Another characteristic look that is prevalent in The Annex is the bay and gable design that is also popular in the Cabbagetown neighbourhood. Often you will see houses that have been sectioned off in semi-detached units over the years, but have maintained a consistency of style throughout these changes. It’s nice to see the beauty of these structures keeping their consistency as the neighbourhood experiences change.

As with pretty much every neighbourhood in Toronto, you will also see a fair share of flat roofs. Flat roofs are practical and facilitate extra space in the home, so with many modern structures this is the clear design choice. Weatherproof membrane also typically lasts longer than asphalt shingles, so there are other reasons why flat roofs are slowly starting to edge out more traditional pitched roofs. At Pro Roofers, we specialize in flat roof repairs – whether or not you live in The Annex, if you need help fixing your roof in Toronto, give us a call.

Finally, we’ve noticed that The Annex is home to couple of houses with Spanish Colonial style roofing tiles. This is not often a style that we see in Canada, and it provides and interesting accent in a neighbourhood that is already very diverse in terms of design and architectural style. If you haven’t visited The Annex in a while, consider taking a walk next weekend, and if you need maintenance performed on your roof, contact us today to speak with one of our representatives.

Do Heating Cables Really Prevent Ice Dams?

Once again, winter is upon us and we are faced with another season of snow build-up and potential ice-dams. Hopefully you’ve performed fall maintenance and your roof is up to the task of protecting your home, however, unless you have functional ridge vents and soffit vents to prevent the snow from melting and trickling down to freeze on cold spots, you may need a quick fix like heating cables to prevent these dams from forming. If you don’t have ventilation or heating cables, you may experience a leak and significant damage to your roof that will not become apparent until the spring. If serious ice dams form on your home, it would be prudent to contact roofers you can trust to remedy the situation, otherwise you could be looking at a significant problem down the line.

Ice dams form like this: once a thick slab of snow is covering your roof, some of it may melt from the warmth of the house. The liquid from the melted snow trickles down, but it doesn’t flow right off the roof, instead it will typically refreeze when it hits a cold spot; most likely the metal gutter. This dam can create a significant block of frozen matter – an elemental force to be reckoned with.

Most people think that having snow on their roof is bad, and would want it to melt off and drain away, but actually the whole process is counter-intuitive. You want cold air to circulate and make sure that the snow on your roof is evenly distributed. Unless there is an incredible amount of snow on your roof, the snow itself will not cause any problems. It’s only once the snow melts and becomes unevenly dispersed – freezing in blocks as it rolls off your house – that you’re in trouble.

If you happen to have a flat roof, ice dams can still form, since your roof has a subtle slant designed to drain off rain water. We can fix your flat roof issues if an excessive amount of ice is collecting, either by removing the ice, or by installing heating cables or increasing ventilation.

If you go the route of heating cables, you need to be extremely meticulous when installing them. Remember: heat causes ice dams in the first place, so if you are using heat to solve the problem you need to guide the melting water over the drip edge of the roof, rather than allowing it to get trapped at the gutter. Some roofers even advise against using heating cables, since there is such a high chance that they will backfire and make the problem worse. 

Hiring one of our experts to install the heating cables may be your best bet, if you pay attention and take our advice, then next time around you might be able to install them yourself. We take care of your roof problems so you don’t have to, but we’re also happy to share our methods so that you can be more involved with the maintenance of your own roof. Furthermore, if it gets to a point where dams have built up and heating cables won’t do you any good, we have ways of manually removing the ice so that your roof won’t suffer further damage.

Winter Is Coming: Preparing Your Roof For Inclement Weather

Here in our fair city of Toronto, it is often said that autumn is the most beautiful season; the season in which the GTA really comes into its own. The weather is still pleasant, the trees turn that golden mixture of yellow and orange and bicycling around the city is a joy (just look out for those dreaded wet leaves). Working as full-time roofers in Toronto and the GTA, we really appreciate working outdoors at this time of year. While we’ve talked a lot about summer maintenance here on the blog, it’s time to shift our attention to another important matter: preparing your roof for the onslaught of winter.

The main thing to think about here is the fact that your roof will be largely inaccessible (or at least, increasingly inaccessible) during the winter months. As we’ve stressed here on the blog before: we discourage you from going up on your roof during the winter months to clear snow or patch fractures; the snow disperses itself evenly across the roof and poses no threat. If you have a serious problem with your roof, do the smart thing and enlist our professional roof repair services in Toronto – the last thing you want is a broken arm from slipping off your roof.

An important thing to keep an eye on throughout the fall season is the buildup of leaves in your gutters that could potentially block your spouts and allow water to cause damage to your shingles, soffit and fascia. If you happen to have a flat roof and you’re confident in your ability to navigate it, you can clear leaves out of those gutters and sweep away debris. Obviously it’s a pain to constantly do this: we suggest gutter screens and guards as a protective measure to allow your spouts and gutters to function properly. If there is a more serious problem, call us to perform flat roof repairs and perhaps even install a treatment that can prevent moss and mildew from eroding your shingles and causing leaks.      

Next on our checklist is the extremely important matter of insulation. Wood fiber is an extremely common basic option composed of wood mixed with binding fibers and potentially impregnated with asphalt. There is an option to have this material treated to resist moisture, which is great for preventing mold. Polystyrene, cellular glass and gypsum board are other options that you can look at to figure out what will work best for your home. You certainly want to make sure that your home is retaining as much heat as possible, but also keep in mind the importance of ventilation – standing air can create a sour acrid smell (that terrible smell you sometimes get in basements and attics) due to wood rot and mold. Again, the purpose of this post is to prepare you for winter, so you may want to take these matters into account before you batten down the hatches.

To recap: clearing debris off of your roof and making sure the gutters and downspouts are functioning properly is paramount to good roof maintenance – especially in our moist, cool climate. Insulation is another issue that is important, but some people forget about insulation because it is hidden from sight. If you are unsure about your roof this autumn, call us up and we’ll be happy to come perform an inspection!   

A Roof Enthusiast’s Guide To The East End Of Toronto

While we love to work all over the city of Toronto, there are certain neighbourhoods that have a certain magic to them, a certain je ne sais quoi. While we’ve operated for many years in Toronto’s bustling and fast-growing west end, we’ve noticed something the past couple of years: as the west end of the city begins to reach a saturation point, the east end real estate market has caught fire. With a large number of housing contractors doing extensive renovations and straight-up gutting houses in order to modernize them, there’s been a lot of action in the east. As Toronto roofing experts with a solid reputation, we’ve been called in on so many jobs out towards the Beaches, it seems like we go there almost every day!

A lot of these jobs are flat-roof installations on brand new structures, and we always relish the opportunity to install weather-proof flat roof membranes at just the right angle to facilitate a run-off of precipitation like water off a duck’s back. At the same time, with many young families moving into these houses, we’ve also found ourselves out that way performing standard roof maintenance, roof-repairs and even the odd emergency roof repair (especially with all of the storms we experienced this past summer). We don’t mean to play favourites though – if you need help to repair your flat roof anywhere in Toronto, don’t hesitate to give us a call, night or day.

Visiting the east has given us a chance to really appreciate all the different types of houses that intermingle out that way, from modern flat roof houses, to classic old A-frames with weathered asphalt shingles and bay and gable houses reminiscent of Victorian design.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the neighbourhoods out east and what we love about them:

Leslieville

This Strip of Queen East just east of Riverside has been on the up and up for many years now. It’s home to a lot of incredible restaurants and shops and the residential streets seem to have maintained a fairly classic Toronto vibe. Many of the houses in Leslieville have been renovated or restored, but you rarely see a tear down that’s been completely rebuilt. Up towards the Danforth, we see big fancy modern houses that have been erected more recently, which are nice as well – but we have a soft spot in our hearts for the quaint historical houses in Leslieville.

Coxwell & Greenwood

Lots of funky houses populate this stretch that doesn’t have a proper name. If you ever get a chance to walk up Craven road – home to the Craven Road fence – you’ll see a range of modern, Victorian, cottage, coach houses – even one beautiful bungalow with a decidedly Japanese flavour. We appreciate this neighbourhood for its unmatched eclecticism!

The Beaches

A neighbourhood that feels more like its own small town, this lush, upscale neighbourhood with plenty of green space is home to some of the biggest, oldest houses in Toronto, as well as some pretty spiffy townhouses that line the lakeshore down Northern Dancer Boulevard and across the beachfront. Always a joy to visit the beaches.

We hope this post has inspired you to explore the architecture of some of Toronto’s gorgeous east end neighbourhoods. If you need to hire a roof expert in Toronto, we’re at your beck and call, additionally, we can always point you towards a nice neighbourhood to take a stroll in!