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!

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.

Of Summer Storms And Broken Roofs

This summer has, unfortunately, been crazy for rain and thunderstorms in the fair city of Toronto, where Professional Roofers operates. For our family based roof repair services business of modest proportions, it has been an extremely busy time. Between leaks from the rain and the damage from falling trees, we have had a lot of roofs to work on.

Toronto’s slogan is “a city within a park”, which rings true considering how many trees there are lining our streets, valleys, hills and parks. The rainfall has been so intense this year that the bloom is incredible, with lots of dense foliage, bright, beautiful flowers and big, healthy trees. For farmers in the outskirts of Toronto, this has surely been a boon compared to the hot dry spell of last summer.

The downside of all this (in addition to rain spoiling summer weekends) is that the rainstorms have also brought thunder and lightning, which are a hazard for old trees that can fall on electric wires and even worse: your roof!

For this reason, it is prudent to hire arborists certified by the ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) to prune your trees every few years. This eliminates dead unhealthy branches, which can attract borers and other aggressive species, tax the tree’s energy and – worst of all for you – fall on your house and seriously mess up your roof.

If you didn’t manage to take this precaution, or if you were the victim of a freak accident, we forgive you – sometimes its difficult to predict these things. If you’ve had the branch safely removed and need someone to come over, assess the damage and figure out a plan of attack for getting it fixed quickly, then we’ll be there in a jiffy to help you out. Even if a tree branch that’s not that big falls down on your roof, there’s a decent chance that it will take a few shingles with it, exposing the whole roof to potential water damage. Always better to have Toronto roofing experts come for a consultation if an event of this nature should occur. This leads us to our next subject: water damage and leaks.

With summer drawing to close, the last thing you want is your roof getting all messed up. As we’ve remarked before on this very blog, summer lends itself extremely well to roof maintenance, but once you get into winter with the snow and ice buildup, things can start to get a bit trickier. Especially if there is a thick layer of snow on top of your roof, the last thing you want is a compromised roof that is tough to access.

If a branch takes off some shingles, or if the asphalt shingles have degraded from years of wear and tear, you may start to see signs of leakage. If the weather-proof membrane on your flat roof was installed improperly and you’re starting to see signs of leakage and you need to fix a flat roof in Toronto or the GTA, we are certainly trained to fix that as well.  

To re-iterate: it’s been a wet and stormy summer that has not been easy on roofs, so take this chance to have your roof inspected before we move into mold and then snow season – you’ll save yourself money in the long run.

Of Mildew, Mold & Moss: A Guide To Invasive Roof Flora

As we mentioned on a separate blog post this month, it’s been an incredibly wet and stormy summer here in Toronto, Ontario. This has caused roofs to be threatened not only by falling trees and water, but also by a subtler agent: invasive flora that can grow on your roof, devaluing your property by decreasing the overall aesthetic presentation as well as actually undermining the structural stability of your roof.

If you have to have a flat roof with metal flashing and state of the art weatherproof membranes, this may be less of a problem. For one thing, mildew and mold are repelled by copper and zinc on galvanized sheet metal. When it rains, trace amounts of of copper and zinc are rinsed down the roof, defeating the advance of mildew.

As we also stated in a separate post this month, if you have a flat roof it is incredibly advantageous to apply a reflective, weatherproof layer of roof coating to it. In preparation for the application, you must wash the roof in any case, and once the coating is applied, it is much more difficult for mold to grow, since moisture that accrues cannot penetrate the coating. Of all the roofing companies in Toronto and the GTA, we have the most experience with this, so if you’re thinking of applying reflective coating, contact us.

If you live in Toronto, there’s a pretty good chance that you live in an older house with a pitched roof and asphalt shingles. These types of roofs are much more susceptible to the growth of mold and mildew – it’s simply the downside of living in a gorgeous, historical house. While some types of algae and moss are relatively harmless (some might even say they add a quaint je ne sais quoi to a house), it’s always best to clean them off if you have the opportunity. Asphalt shingles typically have a life span of about 20-30 years in the harsh Canadian climate, and when you need help repairing your roof shingles, or even replacing your roof altogether, mold growth is going to make the job slightly more complicated.

Aside from this strictly “decorative” type of algae, there is certainly flora that can do serious damage to the integrity of your roof as well, opening it up to leaks and other such disasters. Some types of algae will grow in your gutters and downspouts, since they like a damp environment. Algae proliferates through airborne spores, so if there’s moisture on your roof and the wind is blowing, there’s not much you can do to stop it. Metal flashing is a great preventative method, but failing that you may need to remove it yourself, or contact us to come apply a liquid cleaner to kill the mold.

It is extremely important to act quickly, because once the mold eats through the shingles, you’re dealing with more and more problems. First of all, you’ll need to replace the compromised shingles. Secondly, the spores can now spread to the inside of your home, creating unsightly patches in the attic and compromising the air quality and your health. If you have young children, the last thing you want is gross moldy air drifting through the house, since it can be a drain on the immune system. If you have serious mold issues, contact us today to speak to the most experienced roofers in Toronto.

How To Waterproof Your Roof And Save On Utilities

Here at the tail end of summer, you’ve probably seen your utility bill skyrocket due to increased use of air conditioning and fans. If you happen to manage a building with an HVAC system, this has probably been on your mind even more so. Something that people rarely think about is the fact that the physical makeup of their roofs has a direct effect on the internal temperature of the actual building. Since we offer roof repair services in Toronto, we like to consider every little aspect of how your roof affects your quality of life, and as such very few things related to roofs escape our attention. 

You may have noticed that most roofs on big buildings in downtown Toronto are flat (slightly sloped actually) and black. While this has become industry standard, it is actually incredibly inefficient. The truth is that a black roof absorbs so much heat from the sun that it can become eighty degrees hotter than the ambient temperature (in Fahrenheit). Gravel is more efficient: it still gets hot, but not extremely so. A white, reflective coating is the absolute best, reflecting the sun’s heat and minimizing the the load that is placed on the overworked air-conditioning unit. Especially if your A/C box is on the roof, it is inefficient to have a black roof, since it will make it much more difficult for the requisite heat exchange to occur.

Here at Professional Roofers, we offer flat roof services for any kind of building, and we don’t mind telling you that installing reflective, water-proof coating on your roof can save you all kinds of headaches and money. Roof coating is a terrific way to extend the life of your roof, and most roof coating products can be purchased with a five-year or a ten-year warranty. Just because the status quo is flat black roofs, doesn’t mean you have to conform.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has concluded that high albedo roofing can reduce the temperature inside of a building by up to five degrees Fahrenheit and save you up to fifteen percent on your utility bill. This is pretty amazing. What’s more, this particular type of coating is primarily used to waterproof flat roofs against pooling water that will often collect and create erosion and leaking. The reflective qualities are an added bonus!

This type of coating can be applied to roofs of almost any kind: PVC, metal, foam, concrete, modified bitumen. If you are considering applying roofing coating, you will first have to undertake any serious repairs that need to be tended to, and then power wash the roof so that you are not sealing in grime and muck. If you need roof repair services in Toronto and the GTA, we can certainly offer our friendly, reliable expertise. Since we specialize in flat roofs, we are also extremely well acquainted with the application of this coating, which is much less involved and costly than replacing your entire roof.

Lucas 8000 silicone coating is the best known version for this process, it basically adds a reliable shield to your roof to give it a greater lifespan and protect it against the elements. Furthermore, it is extremely breathable, so that the ventilation process can still occur, preventing mold from developing.       

Four Fundamental Roofing Tips

Here at Pro Roofers, we understand that there is often an impulse to sort out your own roofing issues if it seems like a minor problem. Over time, you develop a certain intelligence that helps you understand when you can manage a problem yourself, and when it’s time to call in the pros. In either case, thinking critically and applying intelligence and common sense to a problem can save you a lot of hassle, get the problem fixed and even save you from injuring yourself. Without further ado, here are four fundamental tips that everyone could benefit from: Continue reading “Four Fundamental Roofing Tips”

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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Solar Power And The Future Of Shingles

In a separate post this month on the Professional Roofers blog, we discussed the history of asphalt shingles, why installation is so important and what kind of life-span to expect if you live in the volatile climate of Toronto, Canada. As we established, shingles are just about as traditional as you can get when it comes to roofing. In this post, swinging to the other side of the spectrum, we’re going to take a quick look at something that has been making headlines the past few months: the solar shingles that Elon Musk’s company – Tesla – have been developing in co-operation with Solar City (a company they recently acquired).

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