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!

Spring Maintenance Tips For Your Roof

While we still have a few weeks of winter left here in Toronto, Canada, we are edging closer towards spring and all of the joys of warmer weather. Winter can still hit us with a last blast in the month of April, but you can trust that it will slowly begin warming up. With the longer days and extra sunshine, you’ll have the energy to tackle spring cleaning and spring maintenance – it’s always nice when the clouds part and the snow melts at winter’s end and you find yourself and your home still standing.

As we’ve discussed in detail on the blog over the past few months, winter can be extremely hard on roofs. As seasoned roof repair experts in Toronto and the GTA, we’ve seen some pretty extreme winter damage, even on roofs that seemed perfectly well fortified. Don’t expect that just because you have a well-maintained roof, you are going to be completely spared the wrath of winter; it’s always prudent to take a close look at your roof at winter’s end and see if any repairs – even minor ones – need to be made. April showers bring May flowers, but they can also bring forth unwanted leaks that can develop into very serious problems.

With a pair of binoculars, you should be able to make out cracked or missing shingles and assess whether or not any shingles have shifted. If you have a flat roof, you might want to climb out and see if there are any obstructions to the drainage or tears in the seams between the weatherproof membranes. If you’re afraid of heights or don’t feel comfortable climbing up, we’re happy to come and perform an inspection. Whether you’ve got a leak, mold, cracked shingles or shingles that need new fasteners, we offer lots of roof repair services and can definitely help you out!

Here are a few more tips that will help make sure your roof is well protected for the incoming spring showers:

Flashing: If the flashing on your roof has come unstuck, get rid of the old caulk, clean the surface thoroughly and then seal it up again. Tight flashing is paramount in the prevention of leaks.

Rust: If there’s any metal trim on your roof that has started to rust, it is prudent to scrub off all the rust and proceed to prime the metal and repaint it. Many people think that there is very little maintenance required for metal roofs, but this is a myth. Metal roofs can gather quite a lot of rust indeed and should be inspected carefully after the long, cruel winter months.

Clearing Debris: Debris on the roof can create not a few problems, including damage to shingles and weatherproof membranes, blockage of downspouts and gutters, and the growth of algae and mould. Getting rid of this debris can be a pain in the neck, but it’s a big part of roof maintenance. A preventative method in this category is trimming and removing branches hanging over your roof, this prevents debris from falling down and cuts off access for raccoons and squirrels who might damage your roof.

Learn about our company and check out testimonials from past clients, we are the real deal and we care about your roof! Call today to schedule a spring inspection of your roof!

Weatherproof Your Roof

If you live north of the 49th parallel – whether it’s in Vancouver, Ottawa, Halifax or here in Toronto – then you’re no stranger to tough weather. During the winter, our temperatures drop drastically; we end up dealing with snow, ice, freezing rain and whatever else mother nature feels like throwing at us. Thus, it’s always in our best interest to be prepared. In the past decade, we’ve been experiencing some pretty peculiar winter weather patterns in conjunction with global climate change.

Over the course of a single winter, you will still see lots of snow and freezing temperatures that will cause ice dams – the healthy roof’s sworn nemesis – but we also see warmer temperatures and hard rain, which can complicate matters and leak into your home. Not only do leaks erode the materials comprising your home, they can also open the floodgates to colds, fevers and other illnesses in your family – As if winter wasn’t bad enough already. Contact our roof repair services in Toronto and the GTA to have your roof looked at if you are having leaks or fear you may be vulnerable to leaks – we can help weatherproof your roof to shore up your peace of mind.

Here at Professional Roofers, we specialize in flat roofs. Because flat roofs are made up of large, weatherproof membranes, they are extremely effective for preventing and reducing leakage from precipitation. Think about it this way: a roof made up of individual shingles has hundreds of potential entry points for rain and melting snow – by comparison, a flat roof has a lot fewer. If our expert roof repair services have given your shingled roof a solid going over, you will not experience any leaks, still, we feel that the weatherproof membranes that make up a flat roof provide even more security and a better bang for your buck.

When we install a flat roof, we make sure that it’s at the perfect pitch to divert water away from your roof and down into the storm gutters. The last thing you want is to protect your roof at the expense of your basement and the structure of your home. Amateur roofers will make sure your roof is protected, but they may not take a holistic approach to your home care – this means taking the extra time to ensure that your eavestroughs and downspouts are clear and depositing water in the right place: away from your basement.

We offer the following services for your network of downspouts and eavestroughs: Leaf Guards; Pitch Repair; Re-Hanging; Cleaning. Not only do we make sure that your drainage system is functioning impeccably, we make sure that you have the maximum number of options to customize the aesthetic of your home. Some shortsighted folks believe you have to choose between fashion and function, but when you work with Professional Roofers, you can have both!

If you’re experiencing leaks or problems with your network of downspouts and gutters, call us to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. If you have an emergency, call us up immediately and we’ll be on our way. We’ve been working in the Toronto community for many years and care about the integrity of your home.

Roofing Style Guide: Spotlight On Riverside

Here at Professional Roofers, we couldn’t be happier to live in the town we live in: the amazing city of Toronto. While we are based in the west end, and serve the GTA at large, we are fond of crossing the Don River once in a while and exploring the chilled out east end neighbourhoods towards Leslieville and The Beaches.  

If you’ve been following our roofing style guides, then you’ve caught a glimpse of architectural style – roofing and otherwise – all over the city! Today on the Professional Roofers blog, we’re going to take a look at the charming area of Riverside; a small neighbourhood just east of the river (as the name suggests) between Eastern and Gerrard.

Like many other neighbourhoods in Toronto, Riverside’s style resists any easy classification – it’s all over the place! Like many areas in the east near downtown, there are not too many freestanding, fully-detached houses. This close to downtown, real estate is dear and the slim, sexy Victorian row houses certainly make the most of little space.

Taking a walk down Dundas street, you will notice many Victorian facades, some of which have been reconstructed with rich wood and some of which look like they have literally been there since the Victorian era, with chipped paint and lots of wear. Down some of the side streets you can find fully detached houses, but they are modest, cottage-like houses, as opposed to the ornate mansions of Rosedale, which we profiled recently.

The different colours and styles of the homes in Riverside make it a joy to visit, and we always relish the opportunity of working on houses in the east. The area comprises quite a diverse mix of modern architecture and older “historical houses.” The historic Victorian style houses often have their original, detailed bargeboard – similar to houses in Cabbagetown – of the kind that is almost extinct. We will always let you know if we think your roof needs a total overhaul, but we also take a certain pleasure in preserving the handy work and vintage aura of quality 20th century craftsmanship.

Riverdale House

Some of these older houses, however, have not been updated for a long time; to ensure your attic is ventilated properly, you may need to install an attic exhaust ventilator or a couple of rotary turbines to prevent mold in the summer and ice dams in the winter. Lack of ventilation creates huge problems, especially in old houses. If you are building a roof from scratch we always recommend installing ridge vents, and failing that, lots of smaller vents just to be certain.

If you want to check out an atypical Riverside street, try Boulton on for size. Some of the houses look like ancient English cottages, complete with shingled roofs, while some of the lots have been cleared and used as the foundation for super slick modern townhouses with nice, sturdy flat roofs.

We’re here to help, so give us a call whether you live in the west or the east, whether you have a modern flat roof or a historical Victorian pitched frame – we’ve seen it all and we are always pleased to offer assistance. Take a stroll in the east and enjoy the eclectic style, and check back next month for more style guides!

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!