How to Handle a Roofing Disaster

 What To Do When Your Roof Suffers Storm Damage

As a homeowner, you rarely can predict when your home will be hit by damaging weather. It is important to have a clear understanding of the proper steps that should be taken when the roof of your home has been damaged. Windstorms, severe rainstorms, and snow/ice storms can all cause damage to a shingle roof.

1. Assess the damage to your roof.

The first step after you experience severe weather is to assess the damage. Approximate damage assessments can help you discuss your needs with your insurance company or contractor and avoid unforeseen costs or discrepancies. (This is usually only possible in daylight, so in some cases you may want to skip to step #2 listed below before assessing the damage.)

When looking at your roof to identify damaged areas, use a pair of binoculars. Estimate the general square foot area and specific details of the area that has been damaged. Note the severity of the damage, and look carefully to see if there are areas of missing shingles. In some cases, only a few random

Gutter Cleaning Basics

 Gutter Cleaning Information for Homeowners

Gutter cleaning is a job which is often neglected. Cleaning the eavestroughs is an important task of home ownership which should be performed at least twice a year. If the gutters are clogged, the overflow water can cause damage to the landscaping and foundation around the house. The increased weight can cause the gutters to pull loose, which can lead to rot behind the fascia or trim.

During the winter months, clogged gutters can lead to ice damming and cause roof leaks. Ice will fill the gutters and begin to form up the roof slope. The ice will form between the layers of your roofing and back-up into the roof system. Heat from the house will cause the ice to melt and leak into the structure. If there are a lot of trees surrounding the house, it is recommended to clean the gutters more frequently.

Although there are many new innovative tools to help clean your gutters, the standard practice involves using a ladder, hose, gloves, disposal bag, and a garden trowel or scoop. The average home should be cleaned twice a

10 Tips for Selecting a Roofing Contractor

 Selecting a properly certified and high quality roofing contractor is important and often a difficult task for consumers who are unfamiliar with the roofing industry. Roofing in the Ontario region is an unregulated industry. It is important to select certified roofers who will be in business to honour their warranty in the future. There are a large number of roofing contractors who are not certified and have both low quality installations and poor workmanship. The average start-up business is usually closed within three years, and may be out of business when potential roofing problem could arise.

The following are tips and important questions that can help you select a professional roofing contractor…

  • How long has the company been in business?
    An established company will most likely be around in the future should any problems arise.
  • Does the contractor have a permanent business office address, phone, and email?
    An established contractor should be able to provide a business address, phone, and email. A permanent business address is a sign of a stable company.
  • Does the contractor use subcontractors?
    Subcontractors are often paid

Roofing Warranties Provide Course of Action

A warranty will stipulate exactly what remedies you may seek if there is a problem. Some will limit the remedy only to bringing the roof back to a watertight condition. This can mean only patching is covered, no matter how bad the system is. It may not cover items like wet insulation or rotted wood; as long as the roof no longer leaks, the warranty provisions are satisfied. Furthermore, some manufacturers retain the right to solely decide whether the leak is covered or not and will charge the owner back for the site visit if the leak is determined by the warranty holder not to be a covered condition.

Remember, the warranty is a contract, and like most business contracts, the terms can be negotiated. If you do negotiate out some of the more unacceptable clauses, be sure the changes are made by someone authorized by the company to make these changes and sign off on them.

Another key point: Be sure that the warranty form is made out in favor of the building owner, not the contractor, management company, or any individual.

Building owners often ask whether they should obtain a warranty and what length is best to get. Because

Know The Advantages and Benefits of Roofing Warranties

The most important advantage of a warranty is that it gets the manufacturer involved in the roof installation, and any extra eyes on a roofing project is a benefit.

First, the manufacturer may provide a review to assure the system meets its qualifications. Most manufacturers require that the roofing contractor submit their intended system to the manufacturer before starting the roofing project. If no architectural or engineering consultant is involved in the selection of the roofing system, this manufacturer review is essential, even though it is a minimum review done primarily for the manufacturer’s benefit. It’s better than nothing.

Second, because the manufacturer wants to minimize its exposure, it will also do an inspection of the roof to be more comfortable that the roof has been applied according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions before the warranty is issued. Once again, this is mostly for the manufacturer’s benefit but again better than nothing. It is always helpful to have an extra set of eyes on the installation. Manufacturers have lists of approved applicators that are, in general, more familiar with the methods of installing the manufacturer’s roofs and in many cases are preferred installers. If a warranty is to be obtained,

Understanding What a Roofing Warranty Is, and What It Is Not

Whenever a roofing project is in the design phase, one of the first items discussed is the length of the warranty. Rather than focusing on what is important, the warranty is shown off like a ten-carat diamond to dazzle the building owner into using that roof system. The question becomes — is it all hype or is it an essential part of any roof installation? The answer lies somewhere between. To know where the truth lies, one must first understand what a roof warranty is and what it is not.

There are two types of warranties: express and implied. The first is what people generally think of as “the warranty” when they choose a roof system — the one that says how long the warranty will be and what the terms are. The second is more fundamental. According to the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), for every manufactured product, regardless of what it is, if it is brought to market, the producer implies that the product is fit for its intended use. If a company makes a teapot, it is implying that the teapot will hold hot tea if you don’t crack it or turn it over, i.e., you use

Contractors Key in Roof Replacements

‘Any contractor will do’

Most roof replacement projects must go through a bidding process. Selecting a roofing contractor is based heavily on the bids that are submitted, and the most important factor — often the only factor considered — is the cost. But cost does not determine the long-term success of the project. Instead, success depends more on the performance of the installer.

Poor workmanship is one of the leading causes of roof failures, so managers must properly vet the contractor before making a decision. Review bids carefully to make certain the roof system being bid is the one specified.

Equally important is installer certification. Most roof manufacturers certify companies to install their products. As a result of this process, the contractor’s employees receive the proper training in installing the roof, and the manufacturer affirms that the contractor has performed up to its standards on past projects.

Managers also need to make certain the contractor is insured and properly licensed. Just because a contractor says it is does not necessarily make it so. Obtain a certificate of insurance from the contractor as part of the bid package, and confirm it with the insurance company.

Roof Replacement Success Requires Research

Skipping the homework

One of the biggest mistakes managers make when replacing a roof is to automatically specify a replacement that is same type as the existing roof. This strategy assumes that the type of roof originally installed was the best type of roof for that application.

In fact, it is more likely that someone made the choice previously based on installation costs more than suitability. Even if the existing roof was the best choice at the time of installation, subsequent changes in the way occupants and visitors use the building might mean that type of roof no longer is suitable for the application.

Consider the way building applications can evolve over 20 years or so of a roof’s performance life. Telecommunication equipment and HVAC systems that did not exist when the roof was new might have been placed on the roof after its installation and require regular access for maintenance. Changes in operations within the building also might have resulted in the installation of exhaust systems that discharge onto the roof. Not all roofs stand up equally well to foot traffic or exposure to chemicals.

Managers also must consider other factors before deciding.

Avoiding Roof Replacement Problems

One of the most challenging aspects of managing an institutional or commercial facility is addressing roofing issues. For many maintenance and engineering managers, roofs frequently are problems from the day they are installed.

One immense issue is that roofs are not the easiest components to maintain. Correcting a problem in one area seems to generate a new issue in another area. Replacing a roof is a big-ticket investment, not to mention disruptive, and they do not improve with age. In fact, nearly one-half of all roofs require replacement before they reach their rated service lives.

Eventually, all roof systems require replacement. The success of the replacement project depends to a great extent on actions that managers take before and during the replacement process. While many issues can contribute to a less-than-successful replacement project, managers need to be aware of the four of the most common problems.

Waiting until later

The usual approach to roof replacement project is to wait until a major issue arises, such as a membrane failure or a major leak, to start the planning process. The problem with this approach is that roofs rarely fail suddenly. They deteriorate over a long

Properly Maintaining a Roof After Coating Application

What comes after?

Roof coatings considerations do not end with the application process. Once a coating is applied, managers need to consider several important issues that can prolong the life expectancy of the roof.

Managers who schedule routine maintenance and twice yearly roof inspections can expect to get the most out of their roofs.

“Roof inspections should be conducted twice a year,” McKain says. “Once in the late fall and again in the early spring. Seventy-five percent of roof damage occurs during the winter. If there is damage to the roof, it needs to be repaired with like materials.”

Regular maintenance entails having technicians periodically inspect the roof to ensure that scuppers, drains and other details are not clogged. This ensures that water flows properly and does not deteriorate the coating prematurely. The roofing contractor also should perform an annual maintenance checkup, Carlin says.

In addition to assessing the overall condition of the look, technicians should pay special attention to high-risk areas, including roof hatches and drains and around rooftop equipment. Minimizing foot traffic on the roof also can prolong the lifespan of the roofing system.

“Cleaning the roof also maintains the

What Type of Roof Coating is Best

Which one?

Once a manager has decided to specify a roof coating, the next question is, which coating is most appropriate for the application? Several types of roof coatings offer a range of benefits to a facility, and in recent years the formulation of roof coatings has evolved. For these reasons, managers need to consider several issues related to performance and materials before making a final decision.

“There have been a number of changes that are allowing the market to rely and call on these kinds of products much more than we have in the past,” says Keith Borden with Tropical Roofing Products. “I think with newer technologies, easier applications, less labor and being less disruptive on the overall performance of the business, roof coatings are more popular than ever.”

Managers looking to address specific roofing issues can focus on developments in three areas — silicone content, reflectivity and sustainability.

Silicones are the newest options in roof coatings Baumann says.

“Developed earlier this century are the high-solids, 100 percent silicone coating systems,” she says, adding that they “typically contain solids in excess of 95 percent, and they contain no water and no solvents.

Determining The Condition of a Roof

Roofing problems seem to show up at the worst possible times and, often, in the worst possible places. They also can quickly turn from small drips into large, costly headaches. Among the numerous options managers have in trying to prevent roof leaks and other problems is the use of roof coatings. Options in coatings have expanded and evolved in recent years as manufacturers seek to address customer demands for performance, flexibility and cost-effectiveness. To make smart coating decisions for their facilities’ roofs, managers need to answer three questions related to specification, coating type, and post-installation inspection and maintenance.

What shape is it in?

Managers need to understand the condition of the roof in question before deciding on whether or not to apply a roof coating. Is the goal to preserve and maintain a roof that is performing relatively well, or is it to repair and restore a roof that has developed leaks?

“A reflective coating would be a good choice for a facility looking to preserve a roof and make it more reflective,” says Michelle Carlin with GAF. “A liquid membrane is a fabric-reinforced coating system that restores a roof by forming a fully adhered

What You Need To Know About Flat Roof Coatings

Flat roof coatings can be a good investment for many facilities. A flat roof coating can extend the life of a roof because it lowers the roof temperature. It can also lead to additional energy savings as the temperature is reduced.

Still, because there are so many different types of roofs in use today, specifying a flat roof coating isn’t easy. Different substrates require different coatings. A coating’s adhesion might depend as much on the substrate’s characteristics as on the coating type. In general, it is more difficult for coatings to adhere to hard, smooth, chemically inert surfaces and easier on rough, irregular, chemically active surfaces.

A coating’s adhesion to a substrate often improves when the installers put down a primer or base coat. Coatings manufacturers recommend certain primers or base coats for managers trying to match a specific topcoat with a specific substrate. Managers should use only the base coat or primer specified by the coating’s manufacturer.

With the introduction of roof membranes such as ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), thermal polyolefin (TPO), Hypalon, modified bitumen, and built-up roofing, manufacturers have developed a variety of roof coatings to address multiple substrates with different adhesion and weathering characteristics.


Wet Roof Deck?

Wet roof decks simply can’t be ignored. Recovering a wet roof deck won’t make the problem go away. That’s because recovering a roof deck will likely only cause the roof to blister, or cause other serious problems that won’t be covered by a warranty.

Here’s how to tackle a wet roof deck the right way. First, identify wet areas in the roof. To do so, one of three types of moisture surveys should be completed: infrared, nuclear or capacitance. None of these actually measure moisture. Instead, they measure the effect moisture has within the roofing materials.

For best results, match the type of moisture scan with your roof since each moisture scan works differently. Infrared surveys measure the heat retained or lost in insulation that has become damp. Ballasted roofs aren’t a good candidate for infrared surveys because the rock itself retains a lot of heat, giving potentially false readings. Nuclear moisture surveys measure hydrogen atoms in the roof, meaning that any membrane with a large hydrogen chemical component will send positive readings. Water is a good conductor of electricity, and capacitance surveys measure electricity traveling through the roofing material. This won’t work on a roof with wet or ponded

Picking A Cool Roof

Most roofing industry experts agree that a cool roof is one that exhibits a combination of high reflectivity and high emissivity. But the questions have always been how high is high and what combination of the two yields the most benefit?

One way to make a decision is to use the Solar Roof Index (SRI) to evaluate a cool roof. The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED 2.2 uses SRI as a way to evaluate a cool roof. LEED version 2.2 is the first national specification to use a relatively new measure of reporting a cool roof’s properties. LEED 2.2 sustainable sites credit 7.2 states that to receive one point, building owners should use a roof with a Solar Reflective Index (SRI) of 78 over at least 75 percent of the roof’s surface for roofs with slopes less than 2:12.

SRI is a unit developed by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. SRI incorporates reflectivity and emissivity properties into one, easy-to-read, standardized measure so that roof buyers won’t have to scratch their heads and try to figure out if a high reflectivity and low emissivity is better or worse than a medium reflectivity and high emissivity.

SRI is calculated with a complex

Green Roof Systems Explained

Extensive or Intensive? Green roof systems come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they carry multiple benefits. Though they can cost more than a traditional roof, a green roof system can reduce heat loads, reduce stormwater runoff, lower cooling costs, and help reduce the heat island effect in cities.

There are two general types of green roof systems: extensive and intensive.

Intensive green roofs, commonly thought of as “garden roofs,” are the more complex of the two, exhibiting much greater plant diversity, and a greater need for design expertise, experts say. Planting media for intensive green roofs are a foot deep at minimum, and have saturated weights ranging from 80 to 120 pounds per square foot, depending on type and depth of planting medium and the type of plants. Almost always used for new construction, intensive green roofs can be anything from a public garden to an entire park — as is the case with the world’s largest green roof, Millennium Park in Chicago, which is 24.5 acres of landscaping on top of two subterranean parking garages.

Extensive green roofs, with a saturated weight of 12 to 50 pounds per square foot, are the most common. With planting media

Three Places to Check For Leaks

Roof leaks are a major headache to fix. The good news is that some leaks are predictable – especially as the roof ages. By identifying areas that are prone to developing problems, steps can be taken that will prevent roof problems cost effectively.

Look For Roof Leaks Near Penetrations
Flashings and sealants at penetrations through the roof membrane are common trouble spots. Typically in single-ply roofing systems, penetration flashings are the same material as the roof membrane and are bonded to the field membrane. Inspect the laps, seams and sealants at these locations regularly.

Factory-assembled boots can address field installation issues at penetrations. It is important that technicians properly seal the boot to the field membrane, where problems typically occur.

Roof drains that penetrate a roof membrane can be especially troublesome because rain that falls onto the roof eventually flows over the drain’s seal. Drains should be large enough to handle heavy rainfalls, and they should have a screen that stops debris from flowing down the pipe.

Workers should clean the drain regularly to prevent blockage of the screen and install recessed drain sumps. A positive slope in the roof also can prevent ponding around drains.

The best way to avoid leaks

A Guide To Single Ply Roofing Products

Single ply roofing products were born out of the oil crisis of the 1970s, which led to lightweight, flexible roof membranes. Today, a variety of single ply roofing products exist.

Among the common single ply roofing products are PVC, EPDM, TPO and KEE. All these changes mean that selecting single-ply roofing needs to be done with care and forethought. Here is a brief overview of the leading single ply roofing products on the market today.

Single-ply membranes are usually broken down into two subgroups — thermoplastics and synthetic rubber. (Modified bitumen membranes are virtually never installed as single-ply membranes.) Thermoplastics have a common characteristic not found in synthetic rubbers — they can be heated and reshaped or melted multiple times. Because of this, the most common method of seaming a thermoplastic is by heat-welding the membrane. Properly melting the edges together fuses the membrane into a strongly bonded seam.

There are two major thermoplastic membranes currently on the market. These are polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO). A third, KEE, is manufactured by only one company. Although its use is limited, the membrane is notable for being able to pass the test of being hit with a two by four

How To Make Your Roof More Environmentally Friendly

Reduce The Environmental Impact of Your Home’s Roofing System

Many homeowners are interested in reducing their home’s impact on the environment. In addition to basic changes, such as installing energy efficient appliances and low-flow shower heads, it is also possible to reduce a house’s environmental impact by making changes to the roof. Below are some common roofing related ways to make your home environmentally friendly, which can also help lower energy and utility costs.

  • Water barrels:
    A simple and relatively cheap method of lowering a homeowner’s impact on the environment is to place a water barrel at the downspouts of your eavestrough. The water runoff from the roof can be collected and used for outdoor water purposes such as watering the lawn, garden, or cleaning outdoors. Water barrel collection benefits the environment by displacing the water regularly used from a hose and also reduces costs by lowering water usage.
  • Proper insulation and ventilation:
    Proper insulation and ventilation of a roof system can benefit the environment and lower the heating and cooling costs of a home. The reduction in power and fossil fuels used in the heating and cooling processes will help make

5 Signs Your Shingle Roof Needs Replacing

Top 5 Warning Signs: How To Know if Your Shingle Roof Needs to be Replaced or Repaired

Wondering if your shingle roof needs servicing? Check for any of these five warning signs…

1. Curling or Clawing Shingles

Curling or clawing shingles are a sign of both an aging roof system and excessive heat. Curled or clawing shingles are highly susceptible to wind uplift and ice damage. Shingles will become rigid and can break easily and lose tab edges.

2. Missing Granules and Bare Spots

Poorly placed downspouts, lack of eavestrough, or poorly designed valley drainage on a second storey can cause a waterfall effect that washes away granules over time. Aging of a roof system or physical damage can also cause bare spots and a loss of granules. When the protective granules of a shingle are lost the shingle begins to harden from heat and sun exposure. Granule loss on a roof system will accelerate aging and shingle decay and can become an entry point for water.

3. Broken or Missing Shingles

Broken and missing singles greatly weaken a roof system’s ability to shed water and can be