Repairs, Maintenance and Renovations

April, 11 2023 Published by Golden Horseshoe Chapter - By Shawn Trudel

“Top Tip” - Roof Health

From the Volume 15, Spring 2023 issue of the CCI GHC Condo News Magazine

Winter has gone and it is time for Spring cleaning, what comes to mind? Perhaps the house, vehicles, yard? Your roof should as well! Whether your home or building has a flat or sloped roof, Roof Health is imperative to getting the most out of your roofing system, a major and critical component of any building.

The last thing anyone wants is an unexpected roof leak, resulting in damage to the interior along with the associated inconvenience to the building occupants until the repairs are completed, both at the roof level and inside the building. In Spring and Fall (at a minimum) someone should be going up on the roof to visually review the roofing system. Roof leaks can be expensive to repair. Here are some routine things that can be done to assist in promoting good Roof Health, and working towards maintaining your roofing system.

These reviews should be completed by a roofing professional, particularly if there are concerns you are aware of, though many issues are often quite evident to a keen building operator. For roofs without permanent protective guards around the edges, all parties involved in accessing or assisting with accessing the roof should have up to date current training for accessing such areas, with all operations completed in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

Reviewing the Roofing System for Damage/Deterioration:

On a conventional flat roof (where roofing membrane is exposed at the top surface) damage/deterioration may include a variety of things such as worn membrane, blisters (trapped air or moisture) in the membrane, excessive and concentrated wearing of the membrane, openings/unsealed areas and/or mechanical damage.

Often, if identified early enough, prior to leakage occurring (at which point the layers beneath the roofing membrane would become saturated) there may be the possibility of simply repairing the roofing system at the membrane layer, to restore it to a watertight condition. If conditions are left too long, (to the point at which a leak occurs), localized replacement of the roofing system may be required.

On a sloped roof, signs of damage/deterioration may include missing shingles or shingle tabs, lifted or ‘loose’ shingles, excessive and concentrated wearing and/or splitting of the shingles. These are all signs of conditions that may lead to leakage in the future, and repairs should be completed in the short term. In most cases localized shingle replacement is able to be completed to address these signs of concern.

Reviewing the Roofing Accessories:

Don’t forget to review the roof accessories when on the roof, to ensure they are not detached and/or locally missing. For a flat roof this could include the metal flashings, vent stacks, etc. On a sloped roof it could include counter flashings, vents, vent stacks, etc. Should any of these components be loose or missing it could increase the potential for a roof leak to occur, and as such they should be re-secured/repaired if concerns are identified.

Reviewing the Roofing System for Debris:

Debris can come in various forms, from leaves to dirt to nails or other foreign materials. Debris has the potential to puncture the roofing system, resulting in a pathway for rainwater to enter the roof and leakage to occur. It also has a tendency to accumulate at drains and/or inside eavestroughs and impede drainage.

Accumulation of debris can promote vegetation growth, which can further impede drainage and result in damage to the roofing system. In general any and all debris, if found to be present on the roofing system or within or nearby the roof drainage system, should be removed and disposed of.

Roofs are often ‘out of sight and out of mind’, until a leak occurs at which point it is too late. Proactive periodic roofing review and maintenance can go a long way into promoting good Roof Health and achieving the longest life of your major building component.

Remember your roof, its there and needs attention too.

Shawn Trudel, C.E.T., BSS is a Lead Project Technologist at Brown & Beattie Ltd., a building science engineering firm dedicated to providing clear and sensible building improvement, maintenance, and repair planning advice by listening to clients’ objectives. Shawn is certified with Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT) and holds a Building Science Specialist (BSS) designation.


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