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A Complete Guide to Winterizing Your Flat Roof

A Complete Guide to Winterizing Your Flat Roof

January 5, 2021

We know that we will see snow accumulation and freezing temperatures in the months that span from December to March. The conditions we know as winter will cause a roof repair in Toronto due to the harsh conditions. Flat roof contractors are kept busy dealing with service calls that involve many types of flat roof repair in Toronto. Flat roofs have many advantages to consider, but they can be impacted by winter weather, and then you need roofers in Toronto. As a service to all our customers and potential customers, we at Integrity Roofers have developed a guide to help protect your roof through proactive intervention to protect your facility from damage that roofing problems cause.

Roof Damage, The Causes During Winter Months

Examining the causes of roof damage is the first step to dealing with the problems that you can encounter at your building. Snow is one problem that doesn’t relent, and it has far-reaching effects on your roof over time.

Damage Snow Causes to The Roof

Ponding and bowing are two big problems a roof will face during the winter – snow will accumulate on the roof, and the weight will be what is the cause of bowing. Once the roof is sagging, water ponding underneath the roof membrane is the result. Water is the greatest threat to the roof system, and it will impact electrical systems like your HVAC system when the problem is undetected.

We know in the winter that temperatures rise and fall over the course of the day. When that happens, snow will melt and freeze. Frozen water becomes solid, and it will grow through expansion and force cracks in the membrane. Once it enters the gaps when the ice has melted, it is an invasive problem that causes the damage to spread further as more cracks develop, creating crevices for water to leak into the roof.

Once the water has forced its way into the roofing system, you know that leaks won’t be far behind. Leaks come gradually, and in the beginning, you won’t know you have a leak problem until it is too late. Signs of leaks are puddles on the floor or watermarks on the walls or ceiling that indicate where the breach has occurred.

Common Misconceptions About Snow and Flat Roofs

The roof’s weight and the insulation that you install are significant when you live in Canada due to the frigid winters we face. You need a roof that is thick and one that will allow for insulation and, in most if not all cases, uses a one-foot guide for the density of insulation you need. Having that level of protection will help insulate your roof. When snow accumulates, your roof will support the weight, and the snow will be an insulation barrier. That saves money on heating your home in the winter and reduces the carbon footprint of your building. Be sure to hire a qualified roofing contractor to install your roof and insulation. It is a complex operation that requires a high level of expertise to achieve the goal of a solid roof.

Maintenance, leaks and drainage of a roofing system are essential and when you look at the membrane of your flat roof. The membrane is bigger than standard shingles that stand up to the elements well. Flat roofs are incredibly economical, and many commercial and industrial building operators buy flat roofs to cut down on costs. If a flat is poorly installed, you can expect leaks because the contractor wasn’t attentive to the details that the installation required. A flat roof must have a slight pitch to enact drainage, and it needs scuppers and drains to move water. If the scuppers and drains are blocked, water buildup will create the potential for leaks to happen. A skylight can be a leak risk as it can be damaged, the caulking cracks or the flashing is damaged, and then water enters your building.

A roofing system that integrates with nature will create an aesthetically pleasing vista. Let’s look at a country home with a flat roof it breaks up the countryside view. It blends in a lot better than the pitched peaked roof that is predominant in the city. Conversely, a flat roof in a residential neighbourhood will stick out like a sore thumb and cause your property value to diminish. Before hiring a roofing contractor, take time to read any reviews about the work and the services provided. You can learn a great deal from reviews that help make an informed decision when purchasing a flat roof.

How To Weatherproof Your Flat Roof

Thorough Roof Inspection

Hiring a roofing contractor for a roof inspection is vital to protect the integrity of your roofing system. The best time to conduct a roof inspection is in the fall. Many of the products used on a flat roofing system require a specific temperature range to apply them, and then it must cure after installation. If the conditions for applying the sealants and caulking aren’t met, they will not set and protect your roofing system.

Suppose you don’t take advantage of the calendar. In that case, you could be in line for emergency service to protect your roof, and the service will only be temporary. And the costs associated with emergency work will soar when you need help right away. When assessing your roofing needs, scheduling an early fall inspection is the best course of action. It will provide plenty of lead-time for the inspection to be conducted and any repairs needed to be completed before winter comes.

Water must be moved from the roof to the ground; if not, you will have ice and refreeze problems that can damage a roof’s membrane. When looking at the edging, we want to see if it is aligned and products used to install the edging are still functional. Getting the debris off the roof and opening up the drains will keep your drainage system working in the event of any early thaw in the winter. Leaf accumulation is a threat here, and we want to eliminate it as soon as possible.

At Integrity Roofers, you can count on the following activities to be met with our thorough roof inspection. We will check the seals, drains and edging that are installed on your roof. Defects will be identified, and repairs will be enacted upon discovery.

Minor Caulking and Sealant Repair

Repairing or adding sealant and caulking is a must to keep invasive water from gaining entry into your roofing system. UV rays will erode caulking and sealant when the sun pounds on the roof daily, and a failure of either substance can lead to expensive roof repairs down the line.

Clean Gutters

Keeping the gutters free from impediments means they will be able to move water away from the roof. A clogged gutter will create ice dams, and then damage will occur to your roofing system.

Pipe Protection

If you have water pipes in your ceiling, you must inspect them regularly to maintain structural integrity. Heat is essential, it will help the water in the lines stay in a liquid form, and the water will flow as needed.


Underlayments help keep a roofing system waterproof. Use the services of a professional who knows how to install peel-and-stick underlayments throughout your roofing system. The benefits are as follows: no nails used, the underlayment is self-adhesive, flexibility to mould with areas that aren’t square, durable, and a non-skid surface round out the benefits.

Attic Insulation

You need attic insulation to keep warm air from escaping your home and melting snow on the roof. Ensure that you hire a professional to advise you on the right amount of insulation for your home. A byproduct of attic insulation is reduced energy bills that come when heat doesn’t escape your home.

Installing Gutter Guards

Gutter guards are a form of protection for your eavestroughs. Keeping debris and sediment out protects the eavestroughs from extra weight. In turn, the residue doesn’t accumulate, forcing water drainage over the sides of the eavestrough. Icicles will not form when you have proper gutter guards installed.

Minor Membrane Repair

Traffic on your roof, weather and objects can be the cause of a minor membrane repair. The problems will surface during a roof inspection. At that point, a qualified roofing contractor will assess the damage and take the action necessary to prevent further deterioration.

Integrity Roofers Offers Complete Roofing Services in Toronto And The GTA

Roofing Services in Toronto For more than two decades, we at Integrity Roofers have been prosecuting roofing problems all across the city. Our experience and expertise spans across roofing industry sectors, from flat roofs (installation and repairs), roof inspections, roof repairs (commercial/industrial/residential), and complete roof replacements for any building type.

Contact our office to discuss your roofing maintenance schedule, schedule a roof inspection or discuss your roofing system when you call our office today at Integrity Roofers at 416.736.7373.

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