Commercial Green Roofing in Edmonton

In the Edmonton and Strathcona County construction scene, green initiatives are becoming a hot topic. And as commercial roofers, we’re hearing a lot about Solar Roof Systems and Green Roof Systems.

In 2009, Toronto was the first North American City to pass a bylaw that required all commercial, residential, and institutional buildings over 2000 square metres to have “vegetative roof coverage.”

Depending on the size of the building, the green roof portion has to cover between 20 and 60 percent! That may seem like a drastic requirement, but Toronto wants to position itself a leader in green roof adoption.

As more major cities follow in Toronto’s footsteps, it won’t be long before Edmonton enacts similar green development bylaws.

Strathcona County already has buildings with green roofs, including its Community Centre where you’ll find a grass-covered green roof on Council Chambers. Take a look at all the green initiatives they’re taking with the centre here (including rainwater collection for their toilets!).

The Many Benefits of Green Roof Systems

A roof is there mainly to protect the structure from the elements. It helps keep you warm and dry. But a green roof goes above and beyond its basic duties:

  • Beautifies the space
  • Increases biodiversity
  • Creates habitat for animals and insects
  • Reduces the “heat island effect”
  • Reduces noise pollution
  • Helps regulate temperature in the building
  • Increases energy efficiency
  • Slows release of rainwater into sewer systems
  • Increases stormwater quality and quantity
  • Improves air quality

The only downside to a green roof is the cost, which can be substantially higher than a typical flat roof system. For more about the cost of a green roof system, read on.

Styles of Green Roofs

The two different types of living roofs are intensive and extensive green roofs.

Intensive Green Roof Systems are also known as Rooftop Gardens. This is the type of green roof that will have walkways, benches, ponds, fountains, and other features in addition to trees, shrubs, and flowers. They are made for people to enjoy and are irrigated and maintained regularly.

Extensive Green Roof Systems are lower maintenance and higher performance green roofs. These use hardy, utilitarian plants with shallow roots that will give you all the benefits of a green roof without all the maintenance. They also require less structural support than a rooftop garden, so they can easily be added to existing roofs.

How Green Roofs are Made

A green roof is like an onion. It has many layers. The top layer is the vegetation and growing medium. Then underneath are layers: root growth inhibitor, waterproof membrane, and a drainage system.

Want more details about how green roofs work? Godfrey Roofing Inc. wrote an article about green roofing where they go into details about the layers of a typical green roof.

Commercial Products Available

There are a few commercial green roof system products on the market right now. Soprema’s has a green roofing products line, SOPRANATURE that has a range of nice options to choose from.

There will definitely be more companies making green roofing products in the future, so keep an eye out for improving techniques and competitive pricing.

Plants for a Green Roof System in Alberta

With interest in green roofs picking up, NAIT ran a study to test which plants fare the best as rooftop plants in Alberta for a low-maintenance green roof system.

They found that the hardiest plants are the ones we find here naturally, which shouldn’t surprise you.

The plants that can withstand direct sun, high winds, infrequent watering, and extreme temperatures were the grasses and sedums native to Alberta.

*Note: Green roofs are not meant to provide food. Constantly uprooting the plants can damage the green roof system.

For rooftop gardens, plants that do well in containers will do the best. Vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and salad greens and flowers like petunias, marigolds, and zinnias.

How Much Does a Green Roof Cost?

The price of the roof components, installation, and maintenance for a green roof vary, but a typical low-maintenance/extensive system should cost between $15 to $20 per square foot.

You can expect a green roof to last well over 50 years, which is double the life of the average asphalt shingle.

Are Green Roofs Going to Become the Standard?

We’re interested to see if/when commercial green roofs become the standard in Edmonton.

Are you interested in commercial green roofs? Let us know what you think.

For your commercial roofing needs, Crest Roofing has you covered.

Call the roofing experts at (780) 466-1601.

Condensation in the Attic Causing “Leaks”

Is your roof leaking? You may see the telltale signs of water damage: water stains and drips coming from the ceiling. Maybe a moldy smell. But there may not actually be a leak. If the weather has just gone from -35 to +5 degrees in less than 24 hours, you may be experiencing roof problems caused by condensation.

Why is there Condensation in My Attic?

When air is very cold, like it gets in Edmonton every year, it can’t hold much moisture. So when warm air escapes from your house (and it will–there is always going to be some heat loss to the attic), the moisture quickly separates from the air and attaches itself to the attic.

Every house has places where warm, moist air can escape into the attic: bathroom vents, kitchen exhaust vents, chimney flues… Vents in general are big sources of attic heat and moisture.

Once warm air hits the attic, but before it vents outside, your cold attic air separates out moisture, which then turns into frost. The frost will build up on the underside of your roof deck, on nails, and even in the insulation!

The problems start when the temperature suddenly heats up and all that frost melts. That’s when you’ll start seeing signs that make you think your roof is leaking:

  • Water stains
  • Discolouration of ceiling/walls
  • Rust on the nails in your attic
  • Drip marks on the attic floor
  • Buckled or damaged roof sheathing
  • Moist insulation

But your roof may not have sprung a leak …yet. You could be experiencing roof condensation problems.

How Do I Fix Roof Condensation Problems?

Condensation problems can happen in any type of roof, residential to commercial. There are two main reasons for condensation problems:

Improper sealing or insulation of the vents that let warm, wet air into the attic.

When you’re dealing with roof condensation, you have to make sure that your vents are all properly sealed and that no warm air escapes through cracks or gaps.

Bathroom and kitchen exhaust vents need to be well insulated so that the hot air stays hot until it is all the way outside.

In general, your attic needs a certain amount of insulation. If there isn’t enough, it could make condensation problems worse. Add more insulation if your roof needs it.

Tip: Check to see if there are any major reasons for excess heat in the attic. @InspectorPeter found a broken furnace pipe!

Improper ventilation of warm air from the attic.

If all your vents are sealed up and no excessive heat or moisture is getting into your attic, that’s a great first step. The next step is making sure there is adequate airflow to allow hot air and moisture to escape.

There is always going to be some frost buildup on the underside of your roof in the winter, and good ventilation will ensure that the moisture gets out.

Check to make sure that you have intake and exhaust vents and that there are enough of them. Proper roof ventilation isn’t always as simple as it sounds, but a good roofer will be able to assess your roof’s ventilation situation and recommend any changes that need to be made.

Want to know more about the fascinating topic of roof ventilation? Read Roof Ventilation: What’s it all About?

Is your roof “leaking”? Do you think it might be condensation? If you’ve had a major weather change recently, that could be what’s causing water damage.

Another common winter roof problem is Ice Damming along the eaves of your roof.

Don’t Ignore Roof Condensation Problems!

You might be tempted to ignore a winter roof problem, hoping that once the weather improves, things will sort themselves out. But condensation makes great conditions for mold and rot, and in the worst case scenario, you could end up with roof holes or collapse.

For any of your roof needs, including attic insulation and ventilation to prevent condensation problems, the experts at Crest Roofing are just a phone call away! Give us a call at (780) 466-1601 or send us a message.

Solar Power Trends for 2017

Solar power is a growing trend. More and more people are looking for alternatives to non-renewable resources. The price of oil and natural gas are always going up and solar power is one thing that will only get cheaper. Read on to find out what our predictions are for solar power in 2017.

Faster and simpler ways to install solar

Solar technology is improving as the demand for clean energy solutions grows. Manufacturers are making simpler systems that are faster and easier to install. New solar equipment has the ability to generate and store more power than ever, while having a streamlined look, increased durability, and long lifespan.

Since Solar is taking off in a big way lately. More trades people are learning how to install solar panels to racks and mounting systems, so there’s no reason to install solar panels on your own. Crest Roofing is looking forward to doing solar power installations in the future too, because the best time to go solar is when you’re getting work done on your roof. They go hand in hand.

Solar Power Equipment is less expensive than it was a few years ago

Solar power modules (or systems) have been around for decades! It’s amazing that solar power hasn’t been something the average person buys into. But now, when you think about it, it makes sense. Who would get something from the store when they could get it free at home?

Prices for sun-powered systems used to be a lot more expensive. The price per watt with the system and installation costs factored in was over $100 per watt in 1975! The current average price per watt (2016) is 61 cents! That’s a very attractive number, so we should expect more manufacturers to get into solar and drive the prices down even further.

Do you like charts and stats about solar power trends? Check out these 10 Solar Power Cost Trend Charts.

New financing options to make solar more affordable

Despite the fact that Alberta is one of the sunniest places in Canada, the government hasn’t offered much in the way of solar power incentives yet.

In the United States, home and business owners can get grants and rebates from the government for solar power installations, but only recently have Canadians started to see incentives. Solar power has been around for over 40 years and it was only 7 years ago (in 2009) that the Alberta government set up regulations that “allowed Albertans to generate our own environmentally friendly electricity and receive credit for any power sent to the electricity grid.” (Source) It’s about time we start seeing government incentives for solar power.

Other than money back for power sent to the grid, currently the governments in certain cities offer their own incentives. Banff and Lethbridge offer rebates for taking “green” initiatives. Banff specifically offers a $650 rebate for homeowners who install a solar powered hot water heater. (Source)

In an effort to reduce carbon emissions, the Alberta government is also rolling out funding for farms and municipalities to install solar panels. (Source)

The future of solar power in Alberta is getting brighter, and it’s very likely that we’ll see more grants and funding for solar initiatives.

Residential Solar Power is on the Rise

Compared to commercial buildings, solar power adoption is more common for the average homeowner. It’s still cheaper for businesses to buy power from the grid, which is mostly sourced from natural gas and coal. When it comes to industry, the bottom line is usually what influences decisions like where to get energy from.

Individuals with families and futures to think about are more concerned about where their power is coming from. That’s why we’re going to see homeowners adopting solar power for their homes before we start seeing industry do the same.

People are getting inspired in more ways and will continue to be

Solar power is all over the news lately! Elon Musk’s roof tiles made headlines for months, and we don’t even know how much they’re going to cost yet! When the numbers are finally released in 2017, homeowners are going to be all over them.

It’s not just the solar panels and tiles that are getting all the attention. Batteries are getting smaller and more efficient by the day, and soon we’ll be able to store all the solar energy we collect. On that note, earlier this year Scientists Accidentally Invented a Battery that Lasts a Lifetime!

What’s more inspiring than cool gadgets and scientific breakthroughs? How about entire countries that are powered entirely with renewable energy sources!? (Click here to see the list of places that use 100% renewable energy) Germany is the clear leader in solar power adoption, but solar is getting more popular all over the world. See which countries are leading the world in solar energy here.

The Future of Solar Power with Crest Roofing

Crest Roofing is excited about the future of solar power! We’ve been attending solar events, asking questions, and doing research on how we can help homeowners install solar systems on their roofs. As we said before, the best time to install solar is when we’re working on your roof, so it just makes sense to get into solar power now.

Are you interested in getting solar power for your home? Give us a call and let us know! We want to know what you think about the idea of residential solar power, so leave a comment below.

For all your roofing needs, Crest Roofing has you covered. We do residential and commercial roofing — from repairs to replacement. We’re the roofing experts. Contact us today!

Are Roof Heater Cables Worth it?

Ice and snow are givens in Alberta’s cold, cold winters, and there’s no denying that they can do some major damage to your roof.

You might see icicles and think they’re causing roof trouble, but you don’t need to worry too much about them. What you do need to worry about are ice dams. They force water under your shingles–even if your roof is in great shape.

Ice dams force water under your shingles, and make them separate and break their watertight seal. They only form under certain conditions. Read more about Ice Dams and How To Prevent Them here.

One way to prevent ice dams is to use electric roof cables. They go by lots of different names:

  • Roof heating cables,
  • roof de-icing cables,
  • electric roof de-icers,
  • heat tapes,
  • and heat coils (to name a few)

No matter the name, their function is the same: the cables heat up and melt the snow and ice around them, creating channels for meltwater to drain down into gutters.

They sound like a great idea for roofs that are prone to ice buildup, but the jury’s out on whether or not they’re worth it. In this article we go over the pros and cons of roof heater cables to help you decide if you want to invest your time and money in them.

Keep These Things in Mind When Thinking About Getting Roof De-icing Cables

Before we get into the pros and cons, it needs to be said that roof de-icing cables aren’t meant to melt ice that has already formed on your roof. They are meant as a prevention device.

Also, they are NOT meant for flat roofs or metal roofs. Ideally, you install them on asphalt shingled roofs.

Use the cables only when snow and ice on your roof is melting.

This is usually when temperatures are between -9 and 2 degrees. Don’t expect these cables to melt snow … or anything when it’s really cold! Ice dams only form and damage your roof when snow melts and then quickly refreezes, which usually happens in early winter and spring.

De-icing Cables For Eavestroughs

These cables aren’t good for melting ice in your eavestroughs. Shirlock Homes, a contractor on the Home Improvement Stack Exchange forum even goes as far as to say, “running them in the bottom of a gutter is almost a complete waste of time and money.”

When the wires are laid directly against metal, the heat will transfer to the metal surface and not melt the ice around the cable. So if you have totally iced-up gutters, these cables will do nothing.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Roof De-icer Cables

You might already be able to tell whether we’d recommend them, but if you’re not sure, have a look at the pros and cons.

Pros of Roof De-icing Cables

If you look at the reviews of electric roof de-icing cables on Amazon or Canadian Tire you’ll see a lot of positive comments! When they work, they work.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • When they’re installed correctly with high quality supplies, roof de-icing cables do work.
  • They are a lot cheaper than fixing the cause behind ice dams.
  • They can be a temporary fix while you save up for roof improvement or replacement.

Cons of Roof De-icing Cables

Of course, there are downsides to every product. Here are some important things to consider before you buy:

  • The cables need to be installed past the edge of the roof and above where dams normally form or they won’t work.
  • If your eavestroughs end up full of ice, and that ice bridges to the roof, the cables won’t prevent ice dams.
  • You can only install the cables when there’s no ice present. Temperature also has to be 0 degrees or warmer.
  • There’s a range of de-icing cables available, so the quality varies. It sucks to spend half a day installing them only to find out they don’t work.
  • They don’t have a thermostat, so you need to turn them on and off manually by plugging in and unplugging or with a remote control.
  • You still need to shovel the bottom 3 or 4 feet of snow from your roof.
  • Electricity costs: You will see an increase on your bill.

Summary: So Are Roof De-icing Cables Worth It?

To sum up, it’s fair to say that these cables are a good temporary fix for ice problems if they’re installed correctly, but they have to be put up before it gets cold, and you can’t expect them to keep your roof clear of snow. You’re still going to have to shovel at least a few feet of your roof.

Your best bet is to buy high quality cables and have them professionally installed.

If you’re reading this because you were hoping roof de-icing cables were going to melt roof ice, here is an article that gives you The Best Ways to De-ice Your Roof.

Call Crest Roofing for your snow removal roofing needs. We can help prevent ice forming on your roof by adding insulation, sealing the leaks and fixing the ventilation for your roof. We do residential and commercial roofing, so no matter what kind of roof you’ve got, we’re the guys to call at (780) 466-1601. You can also drop us a line via our contact page.

What’s the Big Deal about Elon Musk’s Solar Roof Tiles?

Elon Musk, the creator of affordable, efficient electric cars and the brains behind the Tesla brand, is focusing on solar power. His big revelation this month was solar roof tiles, and it’s kind of a big deal.

When it comes to renewable energy, Mr. Musk is at the forefront of technology. His mission is to make the world a more environmentally friendly place. Ideally, he’d like the average person to produce less waste, make less of an impact on the planet, and be self-sufficient.

He started with electric cars, which have gotten rave reviews. Next his focus was on electricity storage, and he started making lithium batteries that were cheaper and better than ever before. But after cars and batteries, people wondered what the next big thing was… Nobody expected it to be roofing materials!

Cars, Batteries, and Now Roofing? What’s Up With That?

It makes perfect sense when you think about it. If your roof collects energy that you can use to power batteries that power your home and your car, it’s all connected! No other power source is more reliable. Coal and natural gas are finite resources. Wind doesn’t always blow and wave or water power aren’t options for land-locked Albertans.

Solar power is the only reliable option for sustainable energy in the world. Elon smartly developed technology to help the average person tap into it! From a roofing company’s perspective, it’s a very exciting concept. For one, Crest Roofing is all about quality, workmanship, and functionality. We want to give you the best roof we can.

If Elon Musk’s solar roof tiles are the way of the future, we want to be able to install them for you. The company that makes them isn’t rolling out the tiles for the general public until 2017, but here are a few reasons you should consider getting his solar tiles in the future.

These Roofs Look GREAT!

The models he’s showcased are made to mimic the look of high-end roofing materials like clay shingles, terra cotta, and slate. While those aren’t the materials the average homeowner gets their roof done in, they are the ones that last a long time and look great.

That said, your Tesla roof tiles aren’t going to stick out like a sore thumb against your neighbours. They blend in perfectly and you can’t even tell that they’re solar tiles from the street.
Solar City will be starting production in 2017.

They are INCREDIBLY durable!

The official word is that these solar roof tiles are as durable as asphalt shingles. They can be walked on and stand up to the elements just as well as comparable roofing materials.

There’s even a very entertaining video where a 5lb weight is dropped on a selection of roofing materials to show how strong they are.

Now For the Thing We All Care About: Is It Going To Be Affordable?

Ok, so now that you’re getting excited about solar roofs. They could potentially power your home, your car, and all your electronic devices. The question on everyone’s mind is …. “Is this going to be affordable?”

Well, they’re aiming for affordability. Company reps are saying that their solar roofs are going to be priced to cost less than an equivalent roof type when utility bill savings are factored in. But the types of roofing materials they’ve shown are mostly high-end materials like slate, terra cotta, and Tuscan clay. Those are on the higher end of the budget when you’re getting your roof redone.

So if you’re budgeting for a high-end roof, these solar roof tiles would be a good choice! But most of our residential roofing customers aren’t going for high-end. They’re looking at asphalt shingles, which make up about 90% of the homes we do.

Final Thoughts on the Solar Roof Tiles

As a forward-thinking company, we will embrace any new technology that our customers want. It’s likely that we would offer solar roof tile installations if they become mainstream. It’s great that there are pioneers like Elon Musk out there to steer society in a direction toward the greater good, but time will tell.

For all your roofing needs, Crest Roofing is there to help you. Whether it’s roof repairs, adding insulation to your attic, shoveling snow off your business, or installing a new tar and gravel roof, we’ve got you covered.

Give us a call to get started at (780) 466-1601, send us an email or fill out a contact form. We’d love to hear from you and have our roofing experts answer your questions.

Are you excited about the possibilities of solar roof tiles? Share this article with your friends and family.

What is a Jerkinhead Roof?

A jerkinhead roof looks like a gable roof with clipped peaks, so it makes sense that it’s also known as a clipped gable. Still others know this roofing style as a “”Dutch hip.”” Whatever you call it, this roof has two large sides and two very small ones.

Some lovely, modern homes with jerkinhead roofs can be found here on Houzz.
This simple variation of the gable roof was very popular in the US during the 1900s to 1940s and was mostly used for homes. Since it is a practical, simple, and better looking roof than a simple hip or gable, it was used on all types of structures and continues to be a popular choice for buildings today, especially on cottages and bungalows.


Simplicity, a bit of creativity, and its stability are some of the reasons why people are drawn to the jerkinhead. It’s an old-world style that can easily be updated and used in combination with other roof styles.
It’s an easy style to dress up too. One could add dormers or windows to add a bit more light or flair. The Jerkinhead is also more stable than the hip or gable roof, because “cutting off the ends” makes the roof more wind resistant.
This roof also gives you lots of room underneath for extra storage or living space.


On its own, the jerkinhead is a practical, attractive choice, but there are a few ways it falls short when compared to other roofs.
Because the ends are clipped, there isn’t as much storage space as a gable roof. It’s also harder to access the inside of the roof, which can make maintenance and repairs difficult.

Roofing Materials to Use

You can use just about any roofing material you desire for a jerkinhead roof. You probably wouldn’t want to go with tar and gravel because it might not look too great, but asphalt shingles, clay shingles, concrete or slate tiles, wood shakes, etc. are all good choices. You’re sure to find something that fits your style and budget.
Need help deciding? Learn about the types of roofing materials.

If you take a drive through Edmonton, you’ll see that we seem to be big fans of the jerkinhead. They’re everywhere! So if you like what you see, maybe the jerkinhead roof is your kind of roof!

Looking to get your roofing questions answered? Give us a call at (780) 466-1601 or contact us today using our online form!

What is Drip Edge Protection?

A lot of the time when we’re doing roof repairs or a reroof, we see that the contractor who installed the roof decided not to install drip edge. If you’re going to cut corners as a roofing contractor, little things like drip edge are going to be ignored. But you need drip edge! We’ve seen roofs rotting to oblivion because of fly-by-night roofers who just wanted to save a couple bucks.

Drip edge is a moulded metal strip that gets nailed to the edges of your roof. We overlap the pieces to make it water tight, which is its main purpose: waterproofing.

Drip edge just isn’t any old metal. It’s industrial grade, galvanized steel or aluminium that won’t rust and will stay strong over the years.You can find the specific requirements for drip edge installation on the Alberta Roofing Contractors Association’s website.

Why do you need Drip Edge?

Shady contractors who don’t install drip edge before they put down shingles probably justify it by telling themselves they can just extend the shingles far over the edges so that water will flow right into the gutters.

What ends up happening is the shingles curl over the edge of the roof and water drips down behind the gutters and fascia. When that happens, you’re going to get rot.

Here’s an example of curling shingles due to a lack of drip edge:

Waterproofing and improved water-shedding are the main reasons for drip edge, but there are a few other solid reasons why you need drip edge:

  • When extreme winds blow rain at your roof, lifting up shingles, the drip edge underneath prevents water from soaking into the roof deck.
  • A metal barrier will prevent animals (like squirrels) and insects (like wasps) from getting into your attic.
  • It prevents the roof deck and fascia boards from moving, making the roof itself more structurally sound.
  • It comes in colours that will complement your siding and roof colours: brown, charcoal, black, white, and steel grey.
  • That shiny metal strip along the edges of your roof gives it a more finished look.

How Can I Tell if My Roof Doesn’t Have Drip Edge?

If you don’t have drip edge installed, you may see some of the following things:

  • Curling shingles
  • Water staining on your siding
  • Soft or squishy roof along the edges
  • Lift up the shingles on the edge to see if it’s there (be careful while you lift them up)
  • Water dripping down behind the gutters when it rains, causing erosion to your landscaping

These symptoms may not mean the problem is a lack of drip edge, but they’re signs that it’s likely.

How is Drip Edge Installed?

When we’re doing a reroof, installing drip edge is one of the first things to go down on top of the bare roof deck.

Along the eaves, roof edge is nailed directly to the deck. Along the rakes (all the roof’s other outer edges), it’s installed over the underlayment.

After drip edge is down, we put on felt, ice and water shield, and then the shingles.

Can Drip Edge Be Installed Under Existing Shingles?

In one case, we had a roof where the shingles along the edges of the roof were all curling. A decent amount of water was dripping between the backs of the eaves and the fascia. The shingles were so worn and brittle that when you lifted them up, they cracked and broke.

In that case, we had to replace the shingles and install drip edge. But if the shingles aren’t cracking and breaking, it’s possible to install drip edge under existing shingles.

Crest Roofing Always Installs Drip Edge on Shingle Roofs

Drip edge is something so simple that does so much to protect your roof. We know it, so we use it! Simple as that. If you’re roofer is telling you he doesn’t know why you’d need drip edge, who knows what else he doesn’t know! Move on.

For residential roofs to commercial roofing, we’re the experts. Call us at (780) 466-1601 for all your roofing needs: Reroofing, roof repairs, eavestroughs, attic insulation, and more (see our services page).

What is a Sawtooth Roof?

The sawtooth roof has been seeing a revival lately. Once it was the standard roof for a factory or mill, but because of the ample amount of daylight they let in, the sawtooth roof a popular choice for eco-conscious homebuilders.

The profile of this roof looks like a row of tents leaning against each other, but actually they are built according to strict measurements that will allow in the most daylight.


The main reason people want the sawtooth roof style is it lets in lots and lots of sunshine. Before electricity, this was essential for factory production because workers needed a lot of light to be able to see, especially when creating textiles.
Now, more sunlight means less energy consumption for heating and lighting, making homes and businesses more environmentally friendly and a little easier on the pocketbook.
The sawtooth gives you lovely high ceilings too. An open concept home would go well with this type of roof.


The sawtooth design is very thoughtful: the angles of the sun need to be measured and planned perfectly. But extra thought and design can mean more costs. Sawtooth roofs also require a lot of materials. Lastly, because of the windows and various angles, sawtooths are more likely to leak.

Roofing Materials to Use

If you’re building a sawtooth roof, the best materials to use are wood, metal, or concrete. These traditional materials have been tried and tested, so they’re a safe choice.
Since a large part of the roof is glass, some builders reinforce the glass with a layer of wire mesh between panes of glass for extra security and strength.

Roofing Materials Not to Use

Asphalt shingles are probably the worst choice for the sawtooth roof. There are many valleys and ridges, and if the design is combined with other roof styles, the joints between them can be weak and prone to more wear and tear. Asphalt shingles just aren’t as durable as metal roofing, slate roofing, or newer plastic shingles.

If you’re looking for a unique roof style that invites natural lighting and warmth to your home or business, the sawtooth roof may be the roof for you!
It’s rare to see them, so you’ll really stand out from the crowd! Here are a few Sawtooth examples on Houzz.

Looking to get your roofing questions answered? Give us a call at (780) 466-1601 or contact us today using our online form!

Tar and Gravel Roof Guide

Tar and Gravel Flat Roofing Guide

You don’t have to be a construction expert to notice that there are a lot of different styles of buildings. The preferred styles of homes and business change from decade to decade and vary by region. For one, tar and gravel flat roofs gained popularity in the 50’s and 60’s, especially in commercial building roofs.

Flat roofs are ideal for factories, malls, schools, and other large buildings because they are simple to build and they allow for roof decks or patios and extra storage. Tar and gravel was the preferred roofing material for flat roofs and remains an excellent option to this day.

Chris Fraser, the owner of Crest Roofing, is a tar and gravel expert. He has over 30 years of experience installing and maintaining these special roofs. With all this experience, he confidently says that tar and gravel flat roofs can last 35 or 40 years!

They may seem like the “old school” option, but we want to see tar and gravel roofs make a comeback. It’s a specialized system with lots of great features with manufacturers who continue to make improvements in the quality of the materials used to make tar and gravel roofs.

At Crest Roofing, we’re serious about tar and gravel roofs. They require their own special equipment and insurance. Recently we bought a gravel hopper and roof bocker specifically for our tar and gravel projects!

Pros and Cons of Tar and Gravel Roofs

There are lots of different roofing materials you can use on a flat roof and each comes with their pros and cons. What you decide on is always going to be based on what meets your unique needs because every roof is different.

Here are a few things to consider about tar and gravel roofs:

Disadvantages of tar and gravel roofs:

Mold: In general, flat roofs are more susceptible to mold. It can be found in the walls or insulation. Flat roof mold usually happens when the roofs don’t have proper ventilation. Trapped moisture in the wooden structure or insulation will make mold grow.

We find that roofs that haven’t been maintained well (or they’ve been completely ignored) tend to be the ones that have mold.

The weight on your roof: Compared to lightweight systems like SBS or EPDM, tar and gravel roofs are very heavy. With SBS there are usually a couple layers of a synthetic rubber product, but with tar and gravel, there are three or more layers of tar, felt or fibreglass layers, and small rocks.

Tar and gravel roofs need to have proper support structures that won’t be stressed by the weight.

The tar smell during installation: Yes, it smells. The pungent smell of bitumen boiling in a kettle for the duration of the project. It’s the same smell you get when you’re driving through a construction zone as they’re laying new road.

It’s definitely not the best smell in the world, but your air will go back to normal when the project is finished.

Finding leaks in a tar and gravel roof can be tough: To be fair, it can be hard to find leaks in just about any type of roof. With membrane roofing like EPDM, finding a leak is like finding a needle in a haystack. We are experienced roofing pros, so we know what signs to look for and have special equipment to help us.

Fire risk: Every year there are roofs that go up in flames because of careless roofers. With tar and gravel application, there is a giant kettle full of molten tar. If the kettle is too hot or the materials are too low, a fire can break out. Read more about kettle fire causes here.

At Crest Roofing, we are experienced and trained to deal with our equipment, and if a fire ever broke out, we are prepared.

Advantages of tar and gravel roofs:

Quick Installation: We find that it’s quicker to install than other types of roof systems.

Proven to last: There are roofs from the 70’s are still around. Roofs don’t last forever, and it’s a testament to their durability that they can still offer protection after almost 50 years.

Protection from UV rays: The gravel coating protects your roof from harmful UV rays, making your roof last a long time. The many surfaces on gravel also scatter light instead of absorbing it, which can keep your roof cooler in the summer.

Usually one of the least expensive flat roofing materials: This is one of the biggest draws of tar and gravel roofs. You get the most bang for your buck. It’s a durable, long-lasting roof system that costs less than synthetic membranes.

Extremely rugged: SBS systems are delicate compared to tar and gravel roofs. Wearing the wrong footwear causes wear, and if you’re not careful, you could end up putting holes in it! Tar and gravel is tough. It has multiple layers of rocks and bitumen, so it can stand up to foot traffic.

Are you wondering about the pros and cons of other flat roofing materials? Check out our article: Which is the Best Roofing Material for my Flat Roof.

Tips for Flat Roof Maintenance

Tar and gravel roofs are easy to maintain, you just need to know what you’re doing. Here are a few easy tips that will help you get the most out of your tar and gravel flat roof.

1. Get your roof inspected yearly
A lot can happen in a year. That’s why it’s smart to have your roof inspected each year, especially if there has been extreme weather like high winds, heavy snow, or rainstorms.

2. Make repairs immediately
Roof leaks, rot, blistering, ponding, cracking, and bubbling are all problems that can show up on a flat roof. The problem might be small, but with roofing, it’s only a matter of time before it gets worse.

You could end up with structural problems, rotting that spreads like cancer or leaks that flood the entire building. Stay on top of your inspection and maintenance and fix problems as soon as you spot them.

3. Clear off the roof
Some winters are worse than others, but Edmonton tends to get a lot of snow. Sometimes the skies open up and we get two feet in a day. This can be a huge problem for tar and gravel roofs because they are already heavy to begin with. Be sure to clear off ice and snow in the winter.

4. Clean the roof
When you’re cleaning your roof, make sure to check the drains for debris. You should also take a close look at the gravel to see if things are growing. It’s not unusual to have trees or grass take root on your roof. If you see things growing, have a roofing professional inspect and clean your roof.

5. Trim trees
They’re lovely, they provide shade, and they can add value to your property, but trees can be terrible for your roof! Make sure to keep the trees near your roof trimmed. With flat roofs, make sure to check that the drains and gutters are clear of leaves, seeds/pollen, and branches.

6. Get the right roofing company
You should always do your homework when hiring a company to do your roofing work because there are lots of fly-by-night roofing contracts out there. Beware of low quotes because lower quotes mean they’re cutting corners by using low quality materials or not having insurance.

Here are 7 Things to Check Before You Hire a Roofing Contractor.

For details and explanations about residential flat roof maintenance, check out the full article: Our Beginner’s Guide to Maintaining Your Residential Flat Roof.

Here are a few of the most common questions we get about tar and gravel roofs

1. I can see blisters or bubbles poking through the gravel, but my roof isn’t leaking. Can these be fixed?
Yes, we can fix blisters and bubbles. These can be caused by moisture trapped between the layers of tar and gravel. Rain during installation is a common cause of blistering and bubbling.

We scrape away about a foot of gravel from the blisters, cut them out and add two layers to the existing membrane. Don’t put off having them fixed because foot traffic from shoveling snow, checking the drains, or other maintenance can make the problem worse.

2. How much does a tar and gravel roof cost?

Each roof is unique and there are a lot of things that go into your roof quote besides just the roofing material. That can include things like

  • Complexity of the project,
  • Removal of the old roof,
  • Size of the job,
  • Roof additions: chimneys, vents, skylights, hatches,
  • Insulation,
  • Parapet walls,
  • Roof deck repairs, and
  • Repairs to the curb and flashing.

Flat roof replacement is a very labour-intensive job. It might seem that your quote is high, but scrimping on price by going with an inexperienced contractor or using lower quality materials will lead to trouble sooner than later.

Crest Roofing is a leading roofing company in Edmonton and we will look at your roof and recommend the best roofing system to meet your needs. Feel free to shop around, google information, and consult with an accredited roofing inspector. You’ll find that we know what we’re talking about and we’ll treat you like respected friends.

3. What brands do we use for tar and gravel roofs?

We get our supplies from BP and IKO.

Call Crest Roofing for an Expert Installation or Repair of Your Tar and Gravel Roof

At Crest Roofing, we are the flat roofing experts, so if you’re thinking about installing tar and gravel or any other roofing system, give us a call.

We will do a roofing inspection and give you recommendations on the best type of system for your unique needs.

We do installations, repairs, and replacements. If you need snow removal during the winter or repairs or upgrades to your ventilation or drainage systems, we can help you with that too.
Give us a call at (780) 466-1601 or send us a message to find out more about your tar & gravel roof!

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The Best Ways to De-ice Your Roof

Have you looked at your roof this winter? Maybe your roof has a thick row of icicles hanging off it. Maybe your downspout has a frozen stream splashing down onto your snowy yard. You might even have a thick ridge of ice running along your eaves. If so, you are going to need to do some de-icing. There are a few ways to get that ice off your roof. Some are better than others. Read on and we’ll tell you all the ways to de-ice your roof.

A Couple Things to do Before De-icing

The first thing you should do before you tackle an icy roof beast is make sure you know where the water is coming from! It could be a leak in your roof, unsealed edges on windows, poor attic insulation, improper ventilation.

Roof ice comes in a few forms:

  • Icicles
  • Ice dams , which are ridges of ice along the eaves. Usually they have icicles hanging off them.
  • Frozen gutters and downspouts

Second, you won’t find physically attaching the ice as a method on here. You could damage your roof or hurt yourself. It may also void your shingles’ warranty. It’s ok to knock off a few scary-looking icicles, but if you have a lot of ice to remove, use the methods we talk about below.

Heat Cables Products

Heat cables are designed to prevent ice dams, not fix them once they’re already a problem. They are electric and are installed on roofs in a zigzag pattern over uninsulated parts like eaves or garages. You can even put cables in your gutters. Heat cables don’t melt large sheets of ice, but they will maintain channels that water can use to drain.

There are a ton of options, so if you’re buying these to prevent ice dams, read the reviews. Local reviews will tell you which ones are best for the area you live in.

A Snow Rake

A snow rake (or roof rake) is just a shovel to scrape snow off your roof manually. When it snows, rake off a few feet over the eaves. You can also use the rake to scrape off icy crusts. If you’re vigilant about getting out there after a big snowfall, the snow rake is a great idea.

You can pick one up at Canadian Tire.

De-icing Chemicals

De-icing chemicals work really well. You lay on a thick layer over your ice and wait for it to melt. The important thing to consider when you’re using chemicals is whether they’re going to damage your roof.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation says, “In general, the least expensive, most effective de-icers are highly corrosive and should not be used on a roof.” (Source

Avoid de-icers with NaC1 (Sodium Chloride) CaC12 (Calcium Chloride).

Thick, rocky de-icer will cut through ice quickly. Fine, powdery de-icer is slower and needs to be laid on thick. For thick blocks of ice, use liquid de-icer. These products work best in mild weather, and they’re not intended for large areas.

There’s a great review of methods of removing ice from your roof. It’s really funny, but there’s some solid advice: How to De-ice Your Gutters (The Secrets of Dam Removal).

Keep an Eye on your Snow Load

Ice isn’t the only thing that can cause problems for your roof. Now is also your roof’s enemy. Most roofs in the Edmonton area are designed to have snow slide right off, but sometimes you need to do some snow removal.

After large snowfalls, flat roofs in particular are at risk for damage. Commercial property owners should bring in the professionals. (If you have a business that needs snow removal services , we can help you with that.)

A little bit of snow on a roof isn’t a bad thing. It can be a sign that your house is well insulated. A lot of snow or snow and ice are signs of trouble. There’s no exact explanation on how much weight your roof can bear, but Popular Mechanics helps give you an idea in their article, “How Much Snow is Too Much for your Roof

Call Crest Roofing to Help you De-ice your Roof!

De-icing your roof isn’t a DIY thing. You need roof experts to safely and effectively remove ice. At Crest Roofing, we have the skills and experience to deal with ice dams and do roof repair when you need it.

Call us at (780) 466-1601 or send us a message.

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