Your Top-Down Roofing Toolkit
What you need to know about roofs, in 7 minutes or less
For homeowners, dealing with a roof can seem daunting, even complicated. But we’re making it simple with our quick and handy roofing guide.
We spoke with Pierre, a loss prevention specialist at our company, to help us learn more about roof materials, inspection, maintenance, lifespan, and insurance. He filled us in on the roofing basics you need to know.
Most roof shapes fit in one of two major categories: flat and peaked.
Flat roofs are often less expensive and easier to install. But they’re more susceptible to water damage, and aren’t best suited for heavy rain or snowfall. In the long run, ongoing maintenance and repair are necessary to avoid damage and keep a flat roof in good condition.
If a roof has slopes or angles, it’s likely in the peaked category. Peaked roofs also include all manner of combination roofs. While peaked and combination roofs may be more complicated or expensive to install, they tend to shed water and snow more easily.
However, they can still be susceptible to water damage, especially in hips and valleys—where two roof slopes meet, facing outwards or inwards—and are more exposed to wind storms.
As with roof shapes, there are upsides and downsides to different roofing materials. That includes cost, attractiveness, ease of installation, maintenance needed, and how well the roof will withstand different types of weather.
Different materials also have different lifespans—a key consideration when choosing what material to use for a new roof or when deciding whether it’s time to replace an existing roof.
Green roofs are still rare in Canada, but they are gaining interest. Before installing one, here’s what anyone considering this eco-friendly option should know.
On the upside, green roofs help combat the “heat island” effect. And because of their ability to retain water, they can help prevent surface runoff after heavy rains.
They also have a fairly long average lifespan: between 30 and 50 years.
“That’s because they protect the underlying membrane from the direct impact of the elements, such as UV rays, heat, ice, and hail,” says Pierre, our loss prevention specialist.
On the downside, a green roof can be very costly. Because they’re exceptionally heavy and can’t be supported by conventional means, they require significant engineering when being installed. Additional bracing and structure is required to support the weight load of this type of roof.
Green roof irrigation and drainage devices are also expensive, as is the regular maintenance and inspection required for this type of roof, explains our specialist.
The fact that green roofs retain water also means water is in contact with the roof for extended periods of time. That puts them at higher risk for water infiltration over time.
Additionally, when water does infiltrate, repairs can be very involved and costly, as the roof will need to be torn up and reinstalled following repairs.
Making sure your roof is regularly inspected can help identify small problems before they turn into big ones. Our expert recommends a visual inspection twice a year, “once in autumn before the frost and once again in the spring.”
If you’re not comfortable conducting an inspection on your own, or if proceeding with one yourself could be potentially dangerous, be sure to ask a qualified person. Security is the most important thing, and there are lots of professionals who can help.
If there are any signs of deterioration or indication of anything abnormal, it’s important to contact a roofing specialist right away, in order to have them conduct an evaluation of your roof’s condition. Of course, if the specialist is the one conducting the inspection, they’ll probably be the one to notify you of any issue.
ROOF CARE AND MAINTENANCE
When it comes to maintenance, there are a few simple things you can do to keep your roof in good condition for as long as possible.
If you live somewhere that gets heavy snowfall, “having snow removed from your roof during winter is of primary importance,” says Pierre, who explains that ice dams are one of the leading causes of water infiltration.
“They form between the roof and the gutter, blocking melting run-off so that water seeks out alternate routes, like in between shingles.” That’s why it’s so important to prevent ice buildup with regular snow removal.
However, if you don’t get that much snow, it’s safer and may be more practical to skip going up on your roof altogether.
You should also ensure your gutters are cleared and in good working order, so they allow water to run off.
Most gutters have a screen to keep out debris. Check that it’s intact and that the gutter itself is not damaged. Even if they don’t have screens, clean out your gutters and remove anything that could block the flow of water.
ROOFS AND INSURANCE
Rules surrounding roofs and insurance vary by province. But one important thing to remember is that an insurance policy is not the same as a renovation or a maintenance policy.
That’s why it’s important to maintain your roof, and to have it inspected and even replaced when needed.
If you have any questions related to insurance, give us a call or get in touch with us on social media. We’ll make sure you get to speak with a licensed agent who can answer all your questions.
THE BOTTOM LINE
When it comes to roofing, there’s a lot to consider and a lot at stake. But making sure you’re informed can make choosing and caring for your roof a lot easier. Before building, make sure to review all your options. When in doubt, consult an expert. That way you’re sure to come out on top.
Also be sure to invest in the right home insurance coverage to protect your roof and everything underneath it.