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!  

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.

Value Added Roofing: Why Repair Is Better Than Replacement

As a family company that offers roof repair services in Toronto, we are driven to save our customers money and deliver the best possible maintenance and repair service at the most affordable price. Why? Because we ourselves know what it means to raise a family in Toronto, where the expenses can pile up from month to month. An expense like having your roof replaced could seriously set you back and cause you to slip into debt; if you’re saving up money to send your kids to university, it’s going to mess with that college fund as well.

The truth is, at some point you’re going to have to get your roof replaced. But with all of the great developments that are happening in the roofing world – weatherproof reflective coating and leak-proof flat-roof membranes, for example – you should be able to squeeze thirty to forty years of life out of your roof.

There are a lot of jokers and hucksters out there who will tell you that you can only get twenty years out of your roof, but if this is the case, then whoever installed your roof did an abysmal job and must have used low-grade materials. As one of the best roofing companies in Toronto and the GTA, we are extremely competitive and upfront when performing an assessment; we believe in providing a value-added service and gaining the trust of our client base, rather than going for the quick cash grab.

If we personally installed your roof, then we will stand by our quality craftsmanship and provide advice and maintenance whenever you need it. We will personally make sure that you get the most out of a roof that was built with quality materials and great care. Value-added means that although you will need to invest a bit of money in your roof for it to perform in an optimal manner each year, you will save money in the long run because it will last a very long time. When winter starts to hit, you will want to ensure that you flashing is solid and that none of your shingles need replacing (if, in fact, you have a shingled roof). If you’re familiar with the concepts of amortization and depreciation, then you will understand why it is better to spread out the cost of maintaining a roof over several years, rather than breaking the bank the materials for a brand new roof, along with the installation cost.

As we stressed in a separate post this month, if you need your roof partially re-shingled, it is extremely wise to get it done before the cold hits. We emphasize this not only because we are averse to frost-bite, but also because shingles get brittle in the cold – for all our care and know-how, a shingle may crack during installation if it’s cold and this will lead to trouble down the line. The last thing you want when you get brand new shingles installed is for them to be compromised immediately. If you have a flat roof, then there is a whole separate checklist that includes a basic roof inspection to make sure the membranes can weather the winter, and we can help with this as well.

Don’t wait until next spring to perform roof maintenance, give us a call and provide yourself with the peace of mind to know your home is well protected through the winter.

Why A Gabled Dormer Can Improve Your Life

If you already live in your dream home, then we can congratulate you. If you feel no need to renovate and you feel that you have enough space, that’s amazing! But sometimes a little bit of extra space can be incredibly useful. If you have an artistic hobby or you like to host extended family when they’re in from out of town, you may sometimes wish that you had a bit more space. Continue reading “Why A Gabled Dormer Can Improve Your Life”

The Language Of Architecture: Toronto’s Many Roofs

To accomplish anything in life takes a lot of hard work and perseverance, take it from us – establishing a solid reputation as roofing experts in Toronto is no easy feat. We’ve been in this game a long time and we’ve come to know Toronto and its inhabitants extremely well. We’ve seen some incredibly old roofs on weathered, historic buildings and we’ve helped install sleek flat roofs on hyper-modern structures as well. Something that we’ve come to appreciate – and something we feel like everyone should enjoy – is Toronto’s unique architectural language.

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Choose The Right Roofing Contractor #2 – The Interview

If you’ve read the first blog of our new series, you know that we are spending a little time discussing how to choose a reputable roofing contractor with you this month. Here at Professional Roofers we believe that information is king, and with a little know-how and gusto we would like to help you choose the right company for you, even if it turns out that it’s not us in the end. We know that we provide a superior service for a superior price and we are confident that we stand up to the most rigorous testing on our product – can the other companies you are interested in say the same?

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Toronto Roofing Problem # 9 – Debris

As Canadians, there is one thing that the fall season can always guarantee – the falling of leaves. No matter where you live in our great country, the leaves will fall. If you happen to live near an oak or walnut tree, you may also have the added benefit of noticing entire branches of nut litter around your home from squirrels hoarding food for the winter.

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Toronto Roofing Problem # 4 – Poor Installation

I think we would all like to believe that this week’s common GTA roofing problem doesn’t occur, but unfortunately it happens all too often – yes, this week at Professional Roofers we’re talking about poor installation services. Whether you hired the wrong roofer or you tried to fix a problem yourself, mistakes happen and it is important to know what to look for when it comes to improper roof installation, as a small problem today can become a big problem tomorrow.

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