In a push to provide the Greater Toronto Area with the highest quality commercial and industrial flat roofing services available, Roof Maintenance.ca has acquired ownership of infrared flat roof inspection expert and industrial roofing contractor Roof Scan.ca. This unification of companies will create the most effective commercial and industrial roofing services the Greater Toronto Area has to offer. Roof Maintenance.ca will remain the parent company but the companies will remain separate.
“The roofing industry has changed from what was a battle between a handful of roofing companies to hundreds of roofing companies within the Greater Toronto Area. Working together with Roof Scan.ca, we can drive innovation, set new standards for quality roofing and restore confidence to property owners who have experience failed roofs.”
– Alex Murdza, President of Roof Maintenance.ca
Roof Maintenance.ca is a leader in the Toronto roofing industry for its commitment to high quality roofing. With over 15 years of flat roofing experience and thousands of satisfied customers, the acquisition of Roof Scan.ca adds specialty infrared roofing experience to a team of highly trained roofing experts in flat roof leak repair, flat roof replacement, roof-top equipment installation, skylight services, and commercial waterproofing.
Why, despite the knowledge, decades of experience in the design and construction of flat roofs and the use of increasingly sophisticated materials, do flat roofs still bring doubts and worries to many property owner’s minds? The answer to this question lies in these three factors: Design, Construction and Operation.
Very common flat roof problems stem from poor maintenance or a complete lack thereof. Regular maintenance requires flat roofs to be periodically inspected for damage, repaired, cleaned and checked for the functionality of its insulation and waterproofing properties.
The cycling through hot and cold seasons deteriorates flat roofs across the Greater Toronto Area year after year. On the surface of a flat roof, temperatures can range from -30 to +80 ° C. They are also exposed to UV (ultraviolet) radiation and several cycles of freezing and thawing. Therefore, the nature and properties of the materials from which the flat roof will be made and insulated with should ensure functionality under these conditions for at least 15-20 years.
Leaks, roof moisture and fungus are the most visible consequences of imporoper maintenance. Poor insulation promotes heat from escaping through the layers of roofs leading to leaks and flooding from melting ice and snow. This process becomes detrimental to the flat roof and leads to the deterioration and destruction of the membrane, flashings, gutters, downsputs, and melting or falling icicles that add danger your workplace.
Each type of roof should have carried out calculations of temperature and moisture. The aim is to not only select the correct thickness of thermal insulation, but also eliminate the possibility of condensation between the layers of the roof and eliminate conditions conducive to the growth of mold on the ceiling and walls on the inside. These calculations take into account the space around windows, skylights, roof hatchways, etc. These are the places where freezing frequently occurs and are favorable conditions for mold growth. With inadequate ventilation, steam and moisture within the layers cause separation and can be seen visually on the ceiling and wall in the form of streaks and peeling paint coating, which are tell all signs of weakness in the roof’s waterproof seal.
This layer on every flat roof, regardless of its function is crucial. The most common cause of leaks is due to errors by the contractors: lack of knowledge of the technologies used and the lack of a qualified team of employees.
Approaching the problem from the exterior (the “positive side”) seems to make the most sense to many people. It takes a considerable amount of labor to dig down to the base of your foundation wall. Once excavated, any areas in the roof decking or concrete foundation or walls that have been compromised can be repaired with a new waterproofing membrane.
Waterproofing Toronto flat roofs and foundations and detecting any flat roof problems early can help extend the service life of a flat roof for many years.
Substitution of Materials
A common mistake is to use “just as good but cheaper” alternatives or materials other than those provided by the manufacturer or chosen and described in the project documentation. The resulting “savings” for the difference in price of material is usually superficial and disproportionate to the cost of any subsequent repairs.
Proper execution of waterproofing usually depends on the use of special equipment. The waterproofing layers can can be mechanically fastened and connected to factories, glued or welded with hot air, fumes, flame or heat-sealed and require the use of different types of equipment. Overheating of the burner flame can cause weight loss in the asphalt’s insulating properties and can be made “stale”. This risk is virtually removed with the use of insulating materials welded by hot gases or hot air. Welding temperatures in this case are too low to permanently damaged the roof waterproofing material.
Some property owners believe that the purpose of the roof, due to the fact that it is flat can be freely changed. Ventilation, HVAC units, television antennas and other rooftop equipment are connected via an internal installation carried out through the ceiling or attic, through which the lead wires are often randomly located. Each of these elements can have a negative impact on the stability of the roof, insulation and can increase the load.
Roofs with a layer of grass need an appropriate thickness of the substrate (at least 20cm). The growing grass requires regular mowing and watering daily. Roofs with vegetation (shrubs and low trees) need to be cautious – it is unacceptable to hammer into a roof (such as wood or metal supports for trees) without the knowledge and consent of the manufacturer or professional contractor. Waterproofing layers can easily be damaged by this process leading to a re-roof or replacement, and this is an expensive venture.
Green roofs can mitigate the urban heat island effect.
Even on an overcast, 23° Celsius day, black tar roofs can reach temperatures as high as 70°. But this green roof at Toronto City Hall boasts a 35,000 square foot garden, which keeps the roof’s temperature at the forecasted 23°.
Green roofs in Toronto are becoming increasingly common, as property owners realize the advantages of having a garden on top of their buildings. For the uninitiated, a green roof is most simply described as being a living layer of grasses, shrubs, and mosses, planted over a waterproof membrane on a flat roof. A fascinating combination of engineering and ecology, green roofs can be tailored to suit almost any building, and can be installed on new buildings or retrofitted to existing ones.
The big question is: why would anyone want one?
Firstly, a green roof provides a mini-habitat for birds, bugs, and butterflies – you’ll have your own little ecosystem on your roof. Also in urban areas, you often don’t have space for plants or trees, so a green roof is a good opportunity to get some green space back into the concrete jungle. What’s more, green roofs dramatically reduce storm-water run off, improve air quality, lessen the impact of the urban heat island effect, increase biodiversity, and increase a roof’s lifespan. In short, they’re brilliant for the planet.
The most important practical advantage of a green roof, however, is its energy saving potential. While green roofs do provide some degree of insulation to a building during the colder months, the major advantage lies in their ability to keep buildings cool during summers. With a living roof, the plants absorb heat and reflect some of it back as well, so it keeps the building a lot cooler.
With buildings responsible for about 50 per cent of CO2 emissions, green roofs could make a real contribution to the battle against climate change.
This recent growth of interest in green roofs is only the latest development in a centuries-old tradition. People have been building green roofs for thousands of years in Europe, right back to the Vikings, but it’s only recently that building codes and regulations have caught up. In May 2009, Toronto became the first city in North America to adopted a Green Roof bylaw.
If the idea of a living roof sounds appealing, there are some practical aspects to consider. The term “green roof” covers a wide variety of installations. Buying a green roof is not like buying a table, you can’t just go down to IKEA and pick up a flat pack. You’ve got to do some research first, and find out what type is best for you. Broadly speaking, green roofs come in two varieties: “extensive” and “intensive”. Extensive roofs consist of a thin stratum of soil and rock wool, supporting small, hardy sedum plants and mosses, and thus are lightweight and relatively low-cost. Sedum can survive with no water for up to three months; it’s a tough little plant and maintenance is minimal.
Intensive roofs, on the other hand, feature a thicker layer of soil that can host a much wider variety of flora, including lawn grasses, large plants and even small trees. The thicker substrate, however, has a higher weight and cost, and requires more maintenance. The depth of a green roof can be varied according to taste and requirements, and green roofs are flexible enough to be adapted to many different situations.
There are, of course, some places where a green roof would not be suitable. The extra weight isn’t normally an issue. Always get a structural engineer to have a look at your property, give you ideas and give you the thumbs up. You don’t want your roof collapsing, obviously.
So what are the downsides? If your structure can support a green roof, it really is the way to go. Wouldn’t you much rather have a green roof providing its own little habitat and doing its bit for the environment than a slab of felt or concrete. In fact, the only downside to a green roof might be the price. It is more expensive, but you simply can’t price the value of having a green visual space which you can enjoy.
Choosing Flat Roofing Contractors
Going “green” is catching on, from the products we purchase to how we renovate and build our homes and buildings. The increasing number of local “green incentives” has also led to a growing number of contractors and building companies offering “green” products and services; some including fly-by-night companies jumping on the “green” band wagon.
When choosing a Green Roofing Contractor, choose one that is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Ask for references and about their green products, services and experience.