Saturday, 19 July 2014

Edmonton Roofing Membranes Have a Place

At XL Roofing (an Edmonton Roofing Contractor) we often get asked which membrane is the best system to install.

Many years ago we used to give the customer only two choices: Tar & Gravel (T&G) or SBS (commonly known as torch-on). Over time new products have emerged to share the market. Today we can add PVC, TPO, EPDM, hot rubber type flood Coates and spray foam type systems

 I am a firm believer that manufactures of certain roof systems should show proof that their product/products will in fact last the said 20 or 25 years they state. I don't believe in weather room simulators. A Canadian weather is probably one of the harshest climates one will come across. We have extreme cold winters (-25 to -40) mixed with Chinooks that can go as high as (+10) all in 24 hours. This is very hard on membranes of any kind.  Snow melting, turning to ice, and continually repeating the cycle. Ice is always pushing and prying. Summers can get as hot as plus 37 ° degrees Celsius, and very dry!

I am a tar & gravel/SBS guy from way back. Some of these T&G roofs can last up to 35 or 40 years with a good installation and preventative maintenance . To say all T&G roofs will last this long is a far stretch. I am just stating what I have come across in my 30+ years of experience.

SBS was introduced to the Edmonton Roofing Companies in the mid 1970's through Pool construction. A manufacturer called Soprema was making this product in a place called Strasbourg, France,  then soon opened up a plant in  Quebec, Canada. I was trained to install this product around 1983. This product took awhile to catch on, but by the mid 1990's it became very popular. Roofing inspectors  loved this new tech roofing system, and soon convinced School boards, government, and commercial property owners that this was the way of the future. And so Tar and gravel took a backseat. Other Manufacturers followed; IKO has been making a very good equivalent product with equal warranty. The end result is both manufactures back and support their products to very strict architectural standards. 

It's 2014 and both SBS and Tar & Gravel for Edmonton roofing seem to be holding up well to the Canadian climates. The proof is in the pudding. T&G is a little tougher to find leaks and repair. One has to be a very experienced and a qualified roofing installer to be successful at T&G repairs. SBS on the other hand, it's easy to see the deficiencies as not covered in gravel. Simply spot the ridge, bridging, blister or hole, cut out affected spot, prime with an asphalt based primer and re-torch one or two plies of same product. 

Other new products that have come out in the last 20 years stating that their product is better is up for a little criticism. As an experienced Edmonton roofing contractor and most would agree, is that the jury is still out on some of these other products. I can honestly say that one or two of the single ply membrane manufacturers that say their system lasts 20 years is questionable!  I'd have to say this is a stretch and to say if they did last this long, it wouldn't be for a day longer. Most are tenting on the walls, pulling at the glued seams, heating and air conditioning contractors leave screws and sheet metal on an already fragile roof system.

Each membrane has its purpose in the Edmonton Roofing Industry.  Big open warehouses with little equipment on the roof are more suited for an EPDM system. Sun Decks with living space underneath, a good quality PVC or SBS will do.  Sarnafil Canada installed their system on the old Maple Leaf Gardens, the blue Jay's Skydome, and the Saddle Dome in Calgary. They make specialized deck membranes as well. One product our company uses for EPDM is Firestone, a company that's been around a very long time. TPO is a single ply membrane; it is a combination of rubber and PVC. I won't throw this membrane under the bus, as I feel manufacturers have put a lot of effort into bringing this product to the forefront to compete. Inspectors and architects have been pushing this product as well, so a good qualified installer should be able to make this product perform!

We as an Edmonton Roofing Contractor generally look at every roof to see what product will suit you best. So google away and consult with a reputable roofing company or an accredited roofing inspector. 
Don't forget to ask roofing companies for proper credentials, example liability insurance (open flame, if SBS or T&G), and WCB. 

Chris Fraser 
Founder and owner of XL Roofing Edmonton Alberta since 1997

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Liability Insurance for Edmonton Roofing Companies

At XL Roofing, roofing contractor Edmonton Alberta, we are experiencing one of the busiest seasons to date. Of all the jobs that have been awarded to our company since January, only two or three customers have asked us for proof of liability insurance, specifically the open flame insurance for running our roofing Torches.

This low attention to proof of liability insurance is unacceptable, as serious incidents can and do happen. When I hear of a fire on the news, I pay attention to see if renovations of some kind are taking place. I couldn't tell you the exact percentage of contractors uninsured; my point is the customer, you, needs to make sure the Edmonton roofing contractor hired has proper insurance.

A Residential, Commercial or Industrial Roofing Contractors in Edmonton that specialize in SBS (torch on), tar and gravel roofing pay an astronomical amount in insurance premiums. It is a night and day difference compared to a shingle company’s insurance premiums. You as a home or building owner must do your due diligence to protect your assets. Fly by night roofing contractors exist, only because customers allow them to continue under insured.

If all customers simply ask for the contractor’s Insurance company information (and also ask for registration with WCB - workers compensation board), then they've made an effort to stop these ‘bad’ contractors.  Call the adjuster and he/she will send a fax/email giving proof of liability and a policy number . . . it's that simple. I am more than happy to give my customers this Information.  

Here's a little tid-bit of info as well; there are some shingle companies out there that hire subcontractors to do the flat membranes (nothing wrong with this)  BUT! . . . the shingle companies don’t carry the right insurance.  Both the prime contractor and the subcontractor must carry separate policies (in particular "open flame"). These are the rules.

These are questions you must ask. Also pay attention to how much liability the Roofing contractor is carrying. For example our liability contract states a minimum  of $5,000,000.  If we to do a very large building, then as the Prime contractor we have to purchase a Ryder policy to cover an additional $5,000,000 for the duration of the particular job.

I could go on and on, but I'll stop there. Just take your time when hiring a roofing contractor; it's your home, your building, and your investments. You've worked hard for all that you have.

Have a good 2014 Summer. 

Chris Fraser, founder and owner of XL Roofing Edmonton Alberta

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Warning - Black Mold on your Edmonton roof

Today's biggest concern among roofing contractors in Edmonton is black mold on your roof.

With health being a number one priority in everyone's life, it really is a good serious question. With flat roofs (Tar & gravel), there is a higher risk of black mold being present, whether in the walls or in the insulation. If your home was not built correctly by an Edmonton roofing company from the beginning, with proper venting then you need an expert to inspect your house as soon as possible.

It appears half the houses designed with flat roofs in Edmonton, most from over 30 years ago, were vented correctly and the other half not. Houses vented correctly usually have a continuous aluminum ridge vent running along the whole length of the peak. With this continuous vent is also a vented soffit. This being said, if one were to experience a split or a hole on the roof, a roofer in Edmonton will simply patch the roof, and if properly vented everything will dry up soon in a natural state.

Roofs that aren't properly vented will end up trapping moisture and hence will turn into black mold. I am not an expert on black mould, but a proper building inspector or in particular a flat roof inspector should be able to give you the correct advice. Any credible roofing contractor in Edmonton should be able to work with a qualified inspector, bearing in mind that there are roofing contractors that won't work with any roofing inspectors.

My best personal advice about a roofing contractor that won't work with a qualified inspector is to take this as a red flag. We are here to correct, fix and give you the proper service that you are paying for. That being said, I don't want to scare or panic anyone just because a leak has developed.

In over the 30 years of roofing experience, I find it is usually the roofs that have been ignored for lack of maintenance that pose the most risk.  If your roof fall into this category call me for free advice, my name is Chris at XL Roofing in Edmonton, Alberta

Black mold, the bane of many homeowners' existence, also normally appears in damp, dark areas and can spread quickly. Luckily, there are many household substances you can use to clean black mold . . . How to Clean Black Mold