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Our Beginner’s Guide to Maintaining Your Residential Flat Roof

Many homeowners believe that flat roofs, or low-slope, SBS membrane (Torch-On) roofs, are maintenance free. Unfortunately, this is not the case! All roofs require care and attention from time to time.

As your Edmonton flat roof experts, we have some tips for maintaining your residential flat roof below.

There are simple things that one can do to look after a flat roof installation and save a lot of money in the long run.

You can do some preventative maintenance yourself, but don’t hesitate to consult your local roofing contractor for the proper care of your modern roof.

It’s also very important to keep in mind that when climbing up on your own roof, always take extreme precautions, especially if climbing ladders is not in your field of expertise.

Use a ladder with absolutely no defects and always remember to tie it off. Homemade ladders should NEVER be used. It’s always a good idea to have someone home with you as well.

The first thing you need to look at on your residential tar and gravel roofing system are your drains.

  1. Are they plugged?
  2. Do the roof drains have screens?
  3. Are the drain screens clear of debris?

Simply take the screen off and clear the leaves, needles or moss and place in a garbage bag, and reinstall the screen. Some modern roofs don’t have a roof drain, but instead will have scuppers.

They work the same way and generally don’t have a screen. Scuppers drain through the outside parapets of your home or building. If your scupper does not have a screen contact your local flat roof/residential roofing supply store. The screen for a scupper actually looks like the end of your kitchen whisk you beat your eggs with. You could make a whisk into a screen by using wire cutters and cutting about 3.5 inches out the end of the whisk; should work up to a 2.75 inch drain.

If your residential roof has parapet walls, then you probably have a base flashing running along the cant strip detailed portion of your roof. You can easily lift some of these flashings up and look for pollen staining. Pollen staining will let you know how high the water levels are reaching. While you have the flashing lifted, you can also look for cracks in the membrane. If you see any defects or cracked membranes then consult a flat roof contractor that deals with residential homes.

Some flat roofing systems will have a straight drip edge where your roof will drain into a continuous eavestrough. At every joint where the flashing overlaps the next piece there can often be a tiny split or separation that many people try to fix themselves, however, we highly recommend calling a professional to help you with this.

Generally, these joints only need to be fixed once throughout the life of a membrane roof. You could attempt to fix this yourself, but this practice is not a good idea as it makes it more difficult to repair afterwards because unsuccessful cold process sealing complicates the repair and will drive up roofing technician costs. Cured cold liquid membranes are very difficult to scrape and remove!

Finally, your eavestrough gutters should be regularly cleaned out once or twice a year depending on how many trees are nearby.

Why is it important to remove snow from your roof?

Removing snow from your roof is one way of making sure that you will not have to repair your roof once winter is gone. Generally, snow should be removed once it forms a layer of about 6 inches on the roof.

The reason why this method works is that it prevents excessive build up of ice on the roof and also prevents the formation of ice dams. Less snow means that less stress is applied on the roof and this helps prevent roof damage.

Here are some other reasons why snow removal is so important:

To prevent blocked vents and formation of ice dams 

Snow does not flow like water, hence it will settle on the roof. If the snow fall is consistent, it means that it will completely cover the roof surface. If this continues to happen every time it snows, and if you fail to have it removed, you will end up with blocked vents. This will affect the ventilation of your ceiling space (or attic) and the furnace heat in your home will create condensation above your ceiling, which could lead to damage down the road.

local-snow-removal-services-companyTo prevent damaged to eavestroughs

Eavestroughs play a functional role during rainy weather as they provide a channel for water to drain off your roof to the main drainage system. If snow is allowed to accumulate during winter, it ends filling the eavestroughs making them heavy, and in some cases, breaking them.

This then means that during the rainy season, water will not be channeled to the main drainage system. The water that the roof sheds off will fall along the foundation of your house, and as it gets absorbed, it leads to basement leaking. Where the intensity of the rain is high, the leaking may develop and cause basement flooding.

In addition, damaged eavestroughs ruin the appearance of your home. This is just another reason why you need to get rid of the snow before it accumulates to a level that will cause these complications.

To keep excess weight off your roof

The structure of your roof is designed in such a way that it has the ideal amount of weight that it can hold comfortably. Any excess of the ideal weight stresses the roof and increases the chances of the structure of the roof getting damaged. Very heavy snow weights can cause so much pressure to the roof that it caves in. This ruins the structure of your home not to mention the fact that your household items will be damaged.

In the worst case scenario, the caving can cause injury to your family and you!

Why doesn’t Crest Roofing require money up front?

Asphalt home roofing

More and more roofing contractors are asking for a down payment before starting their roofing work. The deposit amount can be anywhere from 10 to 50 percentage of the total roofing cost.

Crest Roofing in Edmonton does not require any money up front!

When you go about hiring a roofing contractor for any type of roofing job, they should be a roofing company that has been around long enough and solvent enough to have good credit standing with the suppliers.

Crest Roofing is successful and financially stable enough that we don’t depend on money up front for new roof work to be done. I have enough cash (and credit) available to buy supplies and pay my employees to get started.

Paying deposits and paying chunks of money in advance as the how to roof contractor goes along means you are giving up a lot of leverage if problems develop.

At least this way if the contractor walks off the job, goes under, or otherwise, you are the rightful owner of all new roof materials on site.

We want your roof roofing job to be as comfortable as possible for you. The last thing you need to worry about is someone running away with your money.

Crest Roofing Edmonton completes many large a roofing jobs, without requiring money to get started, and we ensure our customers are completely satisfied with their new roof!

Is Crest Roofing covered by WCB?

Crest Roofing & Co, a professional roofing company in Edmonton, Alberta is definitely covered by the Workers Compensation Board (WCB).

It is unlawful in the province of Alberta to do contract roofing work without a WCB account. WCB actually protects the home owner or building owner so in case of an accidental injury as a result of your roof work, the injured roofing worker cannot hold the home owner accountable.

The information below is as provided by WCB Alberta is listed here for your convenience for when we show you how to roof; you can also find it on their website.

You can request clearances or monitor a roofing subcontractor; you have two options:

  • Sign up for my WCB
  • Request a clearance without signing in

Your responsibility for contractors is as follows:

If you hire companies (for example to put on a new roof) you are responsible for their workers’ compensation insurance unless they:

  • have their own valid WCB account,
  • are operating as a limited or incorporated company, or
  • are performing the work as:
  • an employer in that industry,

What is a clearance?

A clearance is a letter from WCB that states that a roof contractor’s account is in good standing, clearing you of liability should the contractor default on premiums. A clearance letter also authorizes you to release final payment on a specified contract.

Who needs a clearance?

If the companies you hire for the roof have their own WCB accounts it is your responsibility to ensure that the accounts are in good standing. A clearance fulfills this responsibility, relieving you of liability for your contractor’s premiums.

When is a clearance required?

A clearance is required when a company you hire for the roof has a WCB account. You should obtain a clearance prior to releasing any payments to the companies you hire.

Why am I responsible for my contractor’s unpaid premiums?

Holding you responsible for unpaid premiums ensures WCB’s insurance fund is maintained at a sufficient level to pay worker benefits. Using clearances ensures that each employer contributes their fair share.