10 Essential Steps to Prepare for a Flat Roof Replacement

10 Essential Steps to Prepare for a Flat Roof Replacement in Toronto blog Post Image

Your flat roof is 18-20+ years old. It may even have another several years of useful life before needing a flat roof replacement. Then again, it may not—especially given Toronto’s harsh climate and attention to maintenance during the life cycle of the roof. Modern membranes for flat roofs are designed to last a long time, but nothing lasts forever.

If your industrial or commercial flat roof requires a partial or total replacement, what are your next steps? Proper planning will help you stick closer to your timelines and budget while reducing unnecessary changes and added costs.

Here are 10 steps to making your flat roof replacement project a success.

1. Find a Reputable Flat Roofing Contractor

The first question you might ask is, “Do I Need a New Industrial or Commercial Flat Roof?” One way to find out is by consulting with a reputable flat roofing company that can take you through the entire process to provide the best options, coordinate with other trades, and otherwise help your project run smoothly, stay on time and within budget, and expertly install the roof to last for years to come. When hiring a roofer, ask questions to establish their experience, expertise, professionalism, and trustworthiness. Read reviews, get references, and dig a little to make sure you choose the right partner. Learn more with these 10 Things to Ask Before Hiring a Roofer.


Steps to Prepare for a Flat Roof Replacement in Toronto


2. Get an Inspection of the Entire Flat Roof including the Replacement Area(s) 

Regular inspections and ongoing maintenance are critical to extending your flat roof’s lifespan and protecting your property. A pre-replacement roof inspection enables the contractor to provide you with an accurate estimate, timeline, scope, and cost. Find out more about roof inspection with this Sample Roof Inspection Checklist.

3. Identify the Materials Needed

A flat roof replacement is a significant investment, and you’ll want to ensure that your decisions will result in the best protection, value, and return on investment. Your roofer will work with you to help determine the type of membrane (such as 3, 4 or 5 ply  BUR, 2 ply SBS modified bitumen and 1 ply PVC/TPO/EDM systems), assembly (such as built up or  Inverted), installation, and insulation (such as Polyiso) options that best suit your current and ongoing needs. Relevant factors include durability, cost, architectural authenticity, weather endurance, energy efficiency, and long-term maintenance. And of course, the price.

4. Determine the Flat Roof Replacement Cost

One of the first questions on everyone’s mind is how much a new flat roof will cost? There are many factors to estimating price, so don’t expect a contractor to toss out a number quickly over the phone. A clear agreement with the roofer and an understanding of all the details will help you accurately budget and avoid undesired surprises. The quote should cover areas including:  

  • Total materials needed, including membrane, insulation, vapour retardant, vents, roof drains, metal flashings and more
  • Repair or replacement of all roofing elements, and where required, roof substrate and parapet blocking in whole or in part
  • Time and labor through installation and final inspection
  • Equipment rental,
  • Dumping and disposal fees for removing old materials,
  • Other related costs

5. Plan for the Project Timeline

Ask your roofing contractor when they can start and discuss the anticipated duration of the project. Completing the project on time requires careful planning based on Toronto’s climate, building accessibility, client’s needs and how to cause the least disruption to you or your tenant’s business.

6. Organize Roofing Documentation

Once the planning phase is complete, the next step is to develop the project documents for roofing specifications, code compliance, and warranties—which may require pre-inspections, approval of material lists, and other information. Confirm that the Constructor is identified as required by the Ontario Health and Safety Act and that a Notice of Project is in place, where required. Protect yourself further by ensuring the contractor has adequate and up-to-date insurance coverage and WSIB clearance certificate for workers’ safety.


Steps to Prepare for a Flat Roof Replacement in Toronto


7. Communicate with Tenants

Don’t leave your tenants in the dark. Inform them about the upcoming project, identify any potential disruptions or changes to building access, and answer any questions they may have about the plans and process.

8. Prepare the Building

Taking steps to prepare the building to adhere to the projected timeline and ensure worker safety.  Important steps to take include:

  • Remove or stow away (where possible) any obstacles, including equipment and inventory or otherwise protect these items as required with daily tarping.
  • Provide clear access to the roof, including an exterior ladder, as needed.
  • Protect any sensitive areas from potential dust and debris.  This would include vehicles in exterior parking areas and anything on the exterior of the building (including landscaping, furniture and stored product or equipment).
  • Walk through the premises to determine areas requiring interior tarping and protection for people working below, sensitive equipment, and inventory.  In multi-unit properties it is not always possible to visit every building occupant in advance as many tenants are not always on site during regular business hours.
  • A written notice should be sent to all occupants advising them to prepare their premises and move/protect any sensitive items, where required.

9. Determine Other Required Trades

A roofing project often requires the participation of other trades, most commonly plumbing, HVAC, and interior tarping. As part of the overall project planning and budgeting process, the landlord should schedule a pre-bid job walk to provide all prospective bidders to view the project and ask questions so they can provide fixed price or T&M (Time and Materials) quotes.

10. Commercial/ Industrial Job Site Access

Site access should be planned for the security of tools, equipment, and materials and personal safety. Three basics are posting signage as needed, having the contractor install fencing around their equipment, and discussing the need for an on-site portable toilet.   

Get Ready for Your Flat Roof Replacement

A flat roof replacement requires planning carefully and making well-informed decisions in consultation with an experienced professional roofing contractor. From inspection to planning and installation, the roofing company you choose can make all the difference between a poorly executed project and one that maximizes the investment in your commercial or industrial property. Are you considering or ready for your next roof replacement? Contact Elite Roofing in Toronto for experience and craftsmanship you can trust.