Common Flat Roofing Problems

Leaks that happen around the seams or flashing are often due to ponding water. This happens when water that puddles after a rainfall for more than 48 hours. Other leaks can occur from chimneys, skylights, roof drains and other penetrations. A few leaks in your roof doesn’t always mean it needs replacing. Replacing your roof should really be last resort, as it can be time consuming and costly.

So when should you consider replacing your roof?

There are two ways to determine that. The first is when the original installation has reached its life expectancy. BUR and Modified Bitumen have a life span of 10-20 years and Single PLY can range from 7-10 years for EPDM, TPO and 30+ years for PVC.

The second is when the original roof has not been properly installed, which can result in on going leaks. If the insulation under your roof is wet, it will not be able to dry out on its own. This can lead to structural damage and mold. Fixing this damage can be more expensive than putting a new roof or replacing a section of the old roof.

5 Warning Signs Your Roof Needs Repair

Curling or Clawing Shingle Tip 1
Curling or Clawing
Missing Granule or Bare Spots Tip 2
Missing Granule or Bare Spots
Broken or Missing Shingle Tip 3
Broken or Missing Shingle
Buckling Shingle Tip 4
Buckling Shingle

1. Curling or Clawing Shingle

Curling or clawing shingles are a sure sign that your roof has aged and succumbed to excessive heat. Curled or clawing shingles are highly susceptible to high wind uplift and ice damage. Shingles will become rigid and break easily and lose edges.

  1. Missing Granules and Bare Spots

Poorly placed downspouts, lack of eaves trough and poorly designed valley drainage on second storey roofs can cause a waterfall effect that washes away the shingles granules over time. Aging and physical damage can also cause bare spots and loss of granules to your shingle. When the protective granules of a shingle are worn out the shingle then hardens under the exposure to heat and sun. Once this happens your shingle losses life expectancy and can become an entry point for water to get through.

  1. Broken or Missing Shingles

Broken or missing shingles weaken your roofs ability to shed water, thus leaving it vulnerable to water leaks.

  1. Buckling Shingles

Buckling shingles are waved distortions that run up a vertically up a roof slope and are easily visible to the human eye. Buckled shingles can easily be torn off under conditions of high winds and susceptible to water and ice damage.

  1. Damaged Flashings

Flashing can be found around skylights, valleys, eaves, rakes, wall details, stacks, and chimneys. All of which are subject to separation, lifting and dried out caulking. General expansion and contraction can cause these flashing details to lift and separate, causing the fasteners to become lose and the bottom- flashing to lift thus causing an entry point for water.

If you notice any of these signs to your roofing system you will need to get in touch with your certified roofing contractor to discuss what need to be done to protect your investment. As a leak in your roof doesn’t always have visible signs to the interior house; it can first cause insulation and structural damage.

7 Tips for Selecting A Qualified Roofing Contractor

Selecting a properly certified roofing contractor is important and often difficult for consumers who are unfamiliar with the roofing industry. The roofing industry in Ontario is unregulated, so it is important to select a company that will be in business to honour their workmanship warranty in the future. There are many roofing contractors that are not certified and have low-quality installations and poor workmanship.

The following tips are tips and important questions to keep in mind when choosing 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 or emergency repairs arise.
  • Does the contractor have a permanent business address, phone, and email?
    An established contractor should be able to provide you with an address, phone and email. These are good signs of a stable company.
  • Does the company supply a written contract and estimate and do they require a deposit?
    All job details and prices should be documented on paper. Established companies with strong financial backing usually do not require a deposit. Although it is common for a contractor to ask for the cost of materials up front. Be wary of any contractor requesting more than a third of the jobs cost.
  • Is the company registered with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and do they have liability insurance?
    This is important as an established company would be up to date with all safety regulations and working at heights requirements and have liability insurance.
  • Look for contractors that are certified installers of the products they offer.
    Certified contractors will offer stronger warranties on the products they install and follow stricter installation guidelines.
  • Look for a contractor who offers emergency service.
    A contractor who offers emergency service will be able to handle any situation immediately, even after regular business hours.
  • Ask the contractor for references of previous clients.
    An established company should have no problem in providing you with a list of satisfied customers.

Never decide on price alone. In an unregulated industry, anyone can become a roofing contractor. Self- proclaimed handymen can provide a lower price at substandard workmanship. Always look for differences in materials and job details when comparing quotes.