East York, Toronto
Worked Directly with Owner
Almost two decades ago, we replaced the roof of this commercial, single-tenant property in the East York area of Toronto in two phases:
Phase 1: 2003 replacement of the upper roof section – 19,380 square feet
Phase 2: 2005 replacement of the lower roof section – 10,150 square feet
In 2022, the tenant that had leased the premises since before the 2003 replacement moved out. The owner was making upgrades for the future tenant and called Elite for a commercial roofing inspection and assessment.
When we arrived to inspect the roof in 2022, it was a welcome surprise that it was still performing well–especially for a 20-year-old roof nearing the end of a typical lifespan. We didn’t observe any significant problems, just normal wear and tear, several abandoned vents, and some abrasion from an overhanging tree. Two active leaks were reported when the tenant vacated the premises in 2022.
Other than as noted above, the landlord had never requested any service calls, inspections, or maintenance since there were no obvious problems (although we suggested periodic roof inspections). As with car owners, some keep up with preventive maintenance. Others only go to a professional when they see a noticeable problem–which may have been prevented or not become as serious if they scheduled regular checkups.
These situations also provided benefits that reduced the risk of damage:
- No Modifications: The roof had no modifications from any additions and deletions of roof projections, which might have created a risk of damaging the roof membrane.
- Few Penetrations: With only one HVAC unit and a few heating vents, there were few penetrations and relatively little foot traffic, each reducing the risk of leaks.
- Parapet Height: A low parapet height, rather than the higher parapets preferred today to hide projections, prevented drifting snow from accumulating on the rooftop.
- Ponding and Rvalue: Without thermal insulation, along with older doors and single pane windows, the roof’s low Rvalue of 3.0 allowed more heat to escape than newer, tighter buildings. The result was rapid snow melting and limited damage from freeze-thaw cycles that typically occur with snow and ice on the roof membrane.
Pro Tip: Ongoing Commercial Roof Inspections and Maintenance Provide Optimal Protection
Given that regular inspections and ongoing maintenance are critical to preventing leaks and extending a roof’s lifespan, why did this roof hold up so well?
This owner was fortunate that the roof held up so well. Upgrades provided in the roof replacement eliminated many risks. Some luck was also involved, as there were no accidents from falling trees or damage from animals. There’s also something to be said about the simplicity and practicality of rooftops from the 60s and 70s. Fewer projections and low parapets helped prevent roof damage from snow accumulation and heavy rooftop traffic from tradespeople.
Commercial Roof Maintenance: Keep your roof in top condition
This owner was lucky that the property didn’t suffer much harm from the lack of maintenance. However, you can’t count on the same lucky conditions. At Elite, we see many more cases where a lack of ongoing maintenance leads to significant problems, greater expense, and possible safety issues down the road. Regular inspections are critical, too, because many roofing problems are hidden to the untrained eye.
Replacement Commercial Roof Composition
- Wood deck substrate
- Vapour retardant – #15 perforated felt paper – 1 ply nailed to the substrate on the lower roof only
- Insulation – 1” fibreboard, mopped in hot asphalt or applied in adhesive
- Membrane – 4 plies #15 perforated organic felt paper mopped in hot asphalt
- Flood coat of hot asphalt
- 3/8” pea gravel ballast embedded in a pour of hot asphalt
- 26 gauge pre-painted metal copings and wall counterflashings
- Elastomeric sealant, where required
- New accessories
Ongoing maintenance is your commercial roof’s best friend. For professional commercial or industrial roofing inspections, high-quality maintenance, and experienced roofers you can trust, call Elite Roofing today.