Summer: The Prime Time For Roof Work

We often encourage our customers to book a roof inspection heading into winter at the end of fall, as well as coming out of winter in the spring. The autumn inspection ensures that your roof is in good shape going into the harshest season; the spring inspection is to ensure that your roof has sustained no serious damage in those harsh months. While these seasonal checkups can be extremely useful for identifying roofing problems and patching small issues, if you want to undertake a serious overhaul to your roof or do something drastic like installing ridge vents or a skylight, summer truly is the best time to get it done.

At Professional Roofers here in Toronto and the GTA, we get a ton of calls in the springtime to book summer roof repairs and roof renovations. If you’re looking at getting some roof work done this summer, we highly recommend you call to book immediately. We often get a lot of re-shingling work in the summer, simply because of logistical reasons: shingles need to dry and adhere; the hot summer sun helps give them the dry environment they need for optimal performance. It is also extremely helpful for the plywood underneath the shingles to stay dry, so that mold does not begin to grow. Of course, there is rain in the summer as well, but the hot, dry days in between help the rain evaporate and let the roof dry out so that your freshly repaired roof has a chance to settle in before the onslaught of winter.

The other challenge of a rainy summer – like the one we had in 2017 – is that the precipitation can pool and cause problems if the pitch of your roof isn’t precisely what it ought to be. This is why, as flat roof specialists, we always emphasize the importance of the pitch in the weatherproof membrane that constitutes your flat roof. If the pitch isn’t right, the water won’t roll off, or it will roll off and pool at your home’s foundation – and that’s a whole other headache.

You may not think that your home’s foundation falls into the concerns of a roofing company, but if you take a holistic approach to home care, it’s easy to see how the two are related. In addition to making sure your roof is angled properly, it is important to fix your eavestroughs and downspouts when they are broken. If you leave them in disrepair, then water will collect and damage your basement and foundation. A functional roof pitch, in conjunction with a proper drainage system, will direct water away from your home and into the city’s sewage system, where it belongs.    

Finally (and of course this is a slightly selfish reason), roof work in the summer is best because it provides a safe, comfortable atmosphere in which to work. While our pros provide expert roof repair help all year round, it is easiest to perform this work in the fresh, warm summer air. Additionally, there is less of a chance that work will need to halt due to poor weather, and for obvious reasons, halting an extensive renovation on a roof can be extremely problematic. 

Famous Toronto Roofs

With Cherry Blossom season in full swing, spring and summer are definitely announcing themselves loudly in our fair city of Toronto. As we mentioned in a separate post this month, we love summer because it is a great time to work outdoors and we tend to get a lot of work in the summer – an ideal situation. While we certainly enjoy providing roof repair services to every type of home in the city, ranging from super sleek modern houses with flat roofs, to historic, cottage style houses in Cabbagetown, we also like to take some time to appreciate roofs of Toronto’s historic landmarks in the summertime.

In this post, we’re going to look at some of Toronto’s historic monuments and the roofing styles they’re sporting. With nice weather and Doors Open going on in the summer, now is the time to get to know your city and its historic architecture a bit better – it’s a good excuse to get outside, and you’ll be a much better guide when your friends come to visit! So while we love all of our clients’ roofs equally, here are some truly exceptional buildings with roofs that are true works of art!

Spadina House: Spadina House’s roof is actually flat, for the most part, though it is made up of traditional shingles rather than weatherproof membranes. The historic buildings roofs do slant gradually at the edges, facilitating the existence of some beautiful dormers with bay windows on the upper floor. The roof is broken up by traditional stone chimneys, which give it some nice character. The house is representative of what the wealthiest estates in the city would have looked like a century ago, and it’s a real beauty!

Casa Loma: Adjacent to Spadina house is an extremely famous landmark: Casa Loma! While Casa Loma has graced the silver screen in such films as X-Men, Strange Brew and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, it is still open for the public to visit and even hosts escape room games regularly! The roof over the stone castle is composed of terra-cotta tiles that are very stylish and keep the rain out, as well. Some of the towers have nifty conical roofs that are very medieval indeed. If we ever got the chance to work on this historic roof, we’d leap at the opportunity!

Studio Building: Studio Building is a lesser-known historic landmark in the Rosedale Ravine. It was constructed by the artist Lawren Harris in 1914, paid for out of his considerable share of the Harris family fortune and devised as a place where talented artists could live and work without needing to waste their energies on practical affairs. The buildings itself is a brick minimalist masterpiece with a flat roof. Our roof repair services in Toronto often focus on flat roofs that need a little tender love and care, and we love seeing this kind of slick modernist design on a subtle artistic landmark. 

While this is only a short introduction to all of the great architecture and roofing that Toronto has to offer, we hope to have at least piqued your interest. The summer is a great time to explore the city, and Toronto is a really great city to explore. If you have any concerns or question about your own roof, take a flip through the roofing FAQs on our website, or simply give us a call when you get a chance!

Skylight Delight

Here at Professional Roofers, we’ve been all over Toronto and the surrounding region installing roofs, repairing roofs and making sure that your homes are safe from the elements. While roofing, for the most part, is a practical business that addresses the basic necessity of keeping leaks, drafts, mold and animals out of your houses and buildings, there is also, of course, an aesthetic side to roofing that is less discussed.

While the design of a roof is up to you and your architect, at Professional Roofers we pride ourselves on offering quality affordable materials in many different colours so that you can build a highly customized roof and save money doing it! Whether it’s a shingle roof, a flat roof made up of weatherproof membranes, a metal roof or a tiled roof (rare, but not unheard of in Toronto), we can get you the supplies you need and the right workers to install it.

So you see, while we primarily concern ourselves with practical work and value-added services, we also care about the way your home looks, about your overall happiness and the curb appeal of your house. One feature that often adds a lot to the aesthetic value of a house is a skylight. In Canada, where we get so little natural light in the winter months, it is highly desirable to have extra light sources in whatever form possible. If you live in an old house or apartment with a skylight and haven’t had it inspected since the time you moved in, you may want to get in touch with us and book an appointment as soon as possible. When improperly installed or neglected, skylights can create problems related to leaking and heat loss. In our opinion, the benefits outweigh the negative, but like anything in life that is valuable, some vigilance and upkeep are required.

Because a skylight creates a gap in your roof, it is essential that it is expertly sealed and reinforced with flashing so that complications do not arise. If the installation was performed by an inferior roofing company, there is a good chance you will experience unwanted complications.

If your home lacks natural light and you’ve always wanted a skylight, we specialize in installation as well. If you want the benefits of a skylight that is perfectly integrated with your home, our expert contractors are almost certainly your best bet. These testimonials from past clients will give you some indication that we offer a superior service at competitive rates; call us up and we talk over the installation or repair so that you understand exactly what your money is going towards and so that you are satisfied with the rate.     

Skylights come in many different styles depending on your roof and your tastes. The extra warmth – literally and metaphorically – added to your house is invaluable: many people who have skylights can’t imagine life without them. When you’re cooking breakfast, lounging in your favourite reading nook or playing with your children, you’ll definitely appreciate the positive mood created by a bit of extra sunlight. Check back next month for more blog posts and skylight style tips for your roof and home! 

Catching Up On Roof Repair Basics: Part Two

Here at Professional Roofers, we are very fortunate to have so many great clients. Because we are a small, family owned business we are able to maintain good relationships with you – our customers! There are various methods that we’ve established over the years to save ourselves money, and these savings are reflected in the rates that we offer. Our state of the art disposal system, and the excellent rates we get from our suppliers are two key places where we are able to save money, so that when you need roof repair specialists in Toronto or the GTA, we can give you the most competitive price, while upholding a high level of service.

Thus, when you realize that you need to call in the pros, we’re probably the first people you think of – and while we don’t want your roof to fall into disrepair, we’re always happy to hear from you and to be able to remedy the situation. 

In part two of this two-part post, we’re going to go over a couple quick things that will help you understand the fundamentals of roof and roof repairs, fundamentals that can be supplemented by the roofing FAQs already posted on our site for your perusal:

Basic Installations to Prevent Leaking:

Since the primary purpose of a roof is to shield you from the elements, it is only logical that you would take every possible precaution to prevent leaking. One measure you can take is to install ice and water shields around your valleys, dormers, chimneys, skylights and most definitely at the edges when the roof is less than 5/12 pitch. Water shields usually come in the form of self adhering underlayment that can easily be installed, beneath the top layer of your roof. Obviously it’s easiest to install the shield when the roof is being installed, and once it’s on there you’ll rest easy at night knowing your roof is weatherproof. We can also install and replace metal flashing to discourage leaking; metal is extremely moisture resistant, which is another good reason that metal roofs are so popular as well.

The Importance of Downspouts and Eavestroughs

The importance of the tools that divert water away from your roof and flush it safely into the sewer without pooling cannot be overstated. If water pools over and over again, there’s only so much that flashing and water shields can do. On our end, things that jump to mind are leaf guards, pitch repair, basic cleaning and re-hanging the downspout outright. These services are all very reasonably priced and can solve a lot of problems before they become serious.

Draining water away from your foundation is also of the utmost importance – if your roof and drainage system don’t effectively clear the rain and snow, it may end up flooding the   

foundation and basement of your home. Thus, maintaining a healthy, functional roof serves the whole structure of the house in addition to keeping out the elements. Don’t let downspouts become a problem this coming spring; if they are doing their job properly, it will take a lot of pressure off your flat or pitched roof and give it a longer lifespan.

Catching Up On Roof Repair Basics: Part One

Here at Professional Roofers, we know from experience that sometimes, you need to call in a professional to give you a helping hand with your roof. At the same time, we think our clients should take an interest in the wellbeing of their roofs if they have time, especially since it is such an integral part of every home. The benefit of learning about your roof is that you will be able to diagnose most problems yourself, and assess when it’s the kind of thing you can handle on your own, or when you need to call in Toronto roofing experts immediately.

In warmer climates, people worry less about their roofs. In hot places like Jamaica and Thailand, people worry more about letting air pass through their homes to cool them down, rather than keeping out the cold. Life in Canada’s inhospitable climate means that while ventilation is extremely important, we need to make sure that our houses are well insulated in the frigid winter months – such as those that are upon us at this very moment.

While the winter is not an ideal time to having roofing work done on your home, sometimes you don’t have a choice. In a best case scenario, once a thick layer of snow settles on your roof, it actually provides an extra layer of insulation. If your roof is in good shape, well insulated and properly sealed, then you can cozy up and rest assured that everything is in order.

If, on the other hand, you are getting drafts and leaks, you may not be able to wait until spring – it may be time to call in our expert roof repair services team.

In part one of this two-part post, we’ll look at some roof repair basics to keep in mind, so that you can best understand your roof and problems the may arise:

Roof Replacement Vs. Layering Shingles

At Pro Roofers, we like to think of ourselves as a value added service: we are experts at extending the life of a roof as long as is reasonable before you need to outright replace it. This way, you get the best possible value out of either the commodity that is your roof, or the money that you spent on the materials and installation. If you notice that a section of your shingles have been weather battered and worn, there’s a chance that we can install a sheet of fresh shingles can be overlaid in order to extend the life of the roof. This service is considered on a case by case basis, depending on an assessment of the structure of your home and whether or not the extra weight of the shingles can be supported. Contact us anytime if you want a fair and honest assessment of your roof. Once we’ve taken a good look at the state of your roof, we can figure out the best course of action together and get you an estimate for the work.

In most cases, laying shingles on top of older ones is effective for pitched, asphalt shingle roofs. With metal roofing and weatherproof flat roof membranes, it’s a whole different story; we’ll explore these issues in part two of this post.

3 Roofing Issues To Watch For

In western society, we tend to take it for granted that there is a roof over our heads. Most of us grow up with the security of knowing that shelter, warmth and food is taken care of. As you get older, however, and the bills start to pile up, you realize how much hard work goes into creating a stable family environment. Between groceries, rent or mortgage payments, buying clothes and paying utility bills, you need to work really hard to keep your family happy. Here at Professional Roofers, we know the value of a dollar and we also appreciate how hard you have to hustle on a daily basis – we’re experts in the daily hustle ourselves. While the roof over your head can end up becoming an afterthought when life kicks into overdrive, this can lead to big problems. Paying experts such as ourselves to do a little yearly maintenance can help prevent big problems and save you money in the long run; as far as roofing companies in Toronto and the GTA go, our prices are highly competitive.

In order to help us help you, keep an eye out for the following three issues and call us for an inspection or to get a fair quote if the problem persists:

  1. Ice Dams: Ice dams form on the sloped roofs of heated buildings when ice beneath packed snow melts, drips down, and then refreezes on the eve. Ice dams can cause damage to your roof and leaking, which is obviously undesirable and could lead to significant property damage. Insulation is a good way to guard against ice dams, since the heat from your house will not permeate the roof as much. Heating cables are often seen as a quick fix solution, but they are often unreliable and can even lead to electrical fires (some insurance companies won’t even allow them). Our expert roof repair services team is great at removing ice dams and helping you figure out how to avoid them in the long term. 
  2. Roofing Ventilation: We’ve spoken several times here on the blog about how much we love ridge vents. If you’re constructing a sloped roof, seriously consider ridge vents, as they are the best way to create good airflow in your roof. In a city like Toronto, where we have really extreme weather in winter and summer, lack of ventilation causes mold, damage and a slew of other problems. If you have a flat roof, we can install more traditional turbine or box vents. If you’re having attic ventilation issues with your flat roof house, call our experts immediately for an assessment and assistance!

3. Skylight Damage: You may have moved into a space with a glorious skylight and thought “wow, I really lucked out!” You’re not wrong to think this, however, there is a certain amount of vigilance that goes along with that luxury. Skylights are beautiful but if they aren’t installed with great care, they can lead to leaking and damage very easily. So make sure you keep an eye out while admiring the clear blue sky or the starry night!

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.

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!