Month: November 2015

5 reasons to consider a green roof

Installing a green roof is an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional asphalt or tile roofs. In addition, homeowners can use their green roof to express themselves with their roof garden design.

A green roof is an integrated system of several layers including sub-roof, waterproofing, a root barrier, a drainage system and soil for growing the plants. The layers should be properly built and constructed for a long-lasting and visually appealing roof.
What is a green roof?

A green roof is an integrated system of several layers including sub-roof, waterproofing, a root barrier, a drainage system and soil for growing the plants. The layers should be properly built and constructed for a long-lasting and visually appealing roof.
Types of green roofs

Intensive: These roofs are generally large and accessible with walkways. Sometimes referred to as a roof garden, you can find them on top of office or apartment buildings. They include large plants, trees and sometimes water features.

Extensive: This thinner, lighter version of a green roof is more like a traditional roof. Usually, low-ground cover plants replace shingles and the roof is more functional than artistic. Extensive roof gardens are grown on sloped or flat roofs.

Semi-intensive: Semi-intensive green roofs combine elements of both intensive and extensive. These roofs strike a balance between the artistic intensive roof and the functional extensive roof. Grasses and flowers are common choices and semi-intensive roofs use design for impact.
The environmental benefits of a green roof

Green roofs have been around for centuries, but today’s green roofs are gaining popularity for their environmentally friendly qualities. Some of these benefits include:

Storm water retention: According to Zinco, 50 to 90 per cent of rainwater is retained in a green roof. Green roofs reduce and delay storm water runoff, so there’s less water wasted down storm drains and less potential for harmful substances to enter the rivers and oceans.

Noise reduction: A green roof muffles some of the ambient sound, which is especially important in cities or urban areas.

Reduction in building energy costs: Asphalt roofs can become extremely hot in the sun, causing air conditioners to work harder and use more energy. A green roof reduces roof temperature and also provides better insulation from the cold.

Reduction in roof replacements: Replacing a roof, especially if the waterproofing layer is damaged, is costly and produces lots of waste. A green roof has a long lifespan. In fact, the Rockefeller Center in New York City has a green roof waterproofing membrane that has not been replaced since the 1930s.

Reduction in greenhouse gases: Living plants produce oxygen. It goes without saying that the more green roofs on our planet, the better off we will be.

Green roofs help the environment in many ways. From a small shed or garage to the roof of a city building, installing a green roof creates a healthier environment and creates something beautiful to look at.

5 ways to prevent winter roof damage

Five ways to prevent winter roof damage

To prevent winter roofing damage, commit to cleaning your gutters, addressing small problems immediately, and thoroughly checking for possible trouble spots before the first snowfall for best results.

1. Clean out rain gutters every fall

Full rain gutters will substantially increase the likelihood of ice dams, but gutters filled with leaves can also buckle when they’re filled with ice and snow that can’t effectively drain. Rain gutters that don’t drain can also collect more snow, which increases the chance of rot along the soffit and fascia. For these reasons, it’s essential that the rain gutters are cleaned every year. You should also verify that they drain properly; an inadequate slant can also cause water to stagnate in the gutter.

2. Address the cause of any ice dams

If you’ve ever had an ice dam, it’s likely that the moisture barrier and insulation in your attic is inadequate. Schedule an inspection with a contractor who can suggest how to prevent further ice dams from forming. In most cases, you’ll need to add additional insulation to your attic or at least install a wide piece of metal flashing along the edges of the roof to prevent more leaks. Don’t wait for another ice dam; leaks can cause the structural members of your roof to rot.

3. Check the structure of your roof

Older homes can have inadequately sized roof trusses or rafters. In most cases, when you read about a roof collapse, ineffective roofing structural members are to blame. Roofing rafters can easily be reinforced once you know about the problem, so get a professional to check your roof if your home was built prior to the 1950s. Also, if you’ve had roof leaks in the past, your rafters could be damaged. A quick evaluation by a professional will ensure that your roof can withstand the snow load that’s typical in your area.

4. Look for damaged shingles

After every winter and wind storm, you should check for any cracked, missing or deformed shingles on your roof. During the spring, these shingles should be replaced. If they’re ignored, leaks may occur. Also, the underlying wood sheathing and rafters could rot when they’re exposed to melting snow.

5. Eliminate icicle havens

If your roof regularly collects icicles, an improperly ventilated soffit or inadequate insulation may be to blame. Call a contractor who will be able to evaluate your house’s current structure and can make suggestions. Icicles don’t just represent a safety hazard; they can also damage the drip edge and cause ice dams.

The best way to prevent winter roofing damage is to address any previous problems early in the spring, and then look for any new potential problems in the fall. If you’ve never had any problems with your roof, you’ll only need to clean your rain gutters and check your roof for damage to avoid most complications.

4 basic roofing materials for your asphalt shingle roof

When building or replacing an asphalt shingle roof, you’ll want to make sure you have the right roofing materials to get the job done.

1. Asphalt roofing shingles

Asphalt roofing shingles are by far the most common roofing shingle on the market. They’re used on homes across Canada due to their low cost, easy installation and many customization options. You can buy your asphalt shingles in virtually any colour, and some are even designed to mimic slate or wood shingles, allowing you to design your home any way you like.

If you’re looking to save on energy bills, you can also buy “cool” asphalt roof shingles that contain reflective granules. These granules help reduce heat absorption and keep your home cool. Generally, most manufacturer’s warranties cover asphalt shingles for 15 to 30 years, which, for the low cost, makes them one of the best shingle values on the market.

2. The roof base

When applying asphalt shingles, you’ll want to lay a base first. People usually lay down tar paper before installing shingles on top. You can choose between 15- or 30-lb. tar papers. The 30-lb. tar paper is both thicker and offers more protection from moisture and heat loss, but it also costs more. For flatter roofs, you might have to lay down two layers of tar paper regardless of whether you choose 15- or 30-lb. weights.

3. Roof flashing

For any asphalt shingle roof, you’ll need to use metal flashing around key parts of your roof to protect from moisture buildup. This moisture can seep under your shingles, causing mould and even structural damage to your house. Metal flashing strips are placed around the exteriors of chimneys, skylights, vents and dormers.

4. Roof coatings

Once your shingles are installed, you can opt to put a layer of roof coating on top. There are numerous types of roof coatings, but most are essentially painted onto the roof.

Roof coatings help form a protective membrane that can not only protect your roof from weather conditions, but some “cool” roof coatings also have reflective properties that help keep your house cool during hot summer months. Ultimately, a good roof coating will stop UV rays, help keep out moisture and save you money on energy bills.

These four materials are the basic roof materials you’ll need. Of course, you will have to buy additional products such as safety gear, a nail gun, roofing tools and ventilation if you’re going to install a roof yourself. Speaking with a roofing contractor or an expert at your local hardware store is the best way to get started on purchasing the right roofing materials.

Tips for replacing clapboard, shingles and shakes

If you have a section of clapboard, a shingle or shape damaged, here’s how to replace it.
Replace damaged clapboard

If a section of clapboard is rotted or damaged beyond repair, you can cut out the section to replace it. Here’s how:

1. Use a combination square to mark cuts at both sides of the damage. Drive wooden wedges under the damaged area to separate the clapboard from the one below.

2. Make your cuts with a backsaw; then use a chisel to break away the exposed part of the piece.

3. Drive your wedges between the clapboard above and the remaining section of the overlapped board. Slip a hacksaw blade under it, and cut the nails holding the remaining piece.

4. Replace damaged building paper, or fix it with roofing cement. Cut a replacement piece of matching clapboard to fit snugly side to side, and then, protecting the bottom of the replacement piece with a wood block, tap the new piece into place. Nail it along the bottom and through the board above.
Replace a shingle or shake

Wood shingles and shakes are the easiest types of siding to repair because you don’t have to cut out sections.

1. Use a flat pry bar to carefully pry up the shingles just above the damaged shingle that overlap the damaged shingle. Insert wedges to keep the shingles pulled out.

2. Use a hammer and chisel to split the damaged shingle into several sections that you can pull out from around the nails. Use a flexible hacksaw blade to cut out the nails — wear heavy gloves, wrap one end of the blade with tape or use a hacksaw-blade handle designed for this job.

3. Insert the new shingle and gently tap it into place. Nail the new shingle just below the butt of the shingles above. Sink the nail heads with a nail set, and fill the recess with caulk.