Heads up, Toronto. Old Man Winter is heading your way, and he’s got temperatures in the teens, lashing winds – courtesy of Lake Ontario – sheets of freezing rain, ice storms, and several feet of snow for you in his bag of seasonal tricks.
Of course, if you have a professionally-installed, properly-insulated, well-maintained roof, you can thumb your nose at Old Man Winter from the comfort of your cozy house. But if your roof features curling, cracked or missing shingles, corroded flashings around the chimneys, or attic insulation that is wet or damp, it may be nearing the end of its life, and may be unable to do its job of protecting you, your family and your house from the vicissitudes of a Toronto winter. Once leaks develop in the roof, the resultant moisture can stain and damage ceiling drywall, rot out rafters, dampen the insulation – greatly reducing its insulating ability –and can ultimately damage your house’s very structure – a costlyproblem to correct.
Here is where a reliable roofing contractor can be your best ally. After checking out your roof, he can advise you as to whether your roof needs repair or complete re-roofing. Although re-roofing is a substantial investment, it is a wise one: a new roof can add greatly to the resale value of your home, as well as cutting energy bills all year round.
So, don’t despair. If you need a new roof, there are a variety of roofing materials that are particularly well-suited to withstanding Toronto’s cold winters, as well as its steamy summers.
Asphalt Shingles: Reliable Standby
Asphalt shingles, the most popular roofing option in the Toronto area, are fairly inexpensive, as well as durable. The older, felt –based shingles have recently been overtaken in popularity by fibreglass-based shingles, which tend to last longer. Many manufacturers are offering 30 year warranties on these sturdy shingles. Yet another upgrade — architectural shingles – are thicker and sturdier yet, and can give a pleasingly dimensional, “high-end” look to your roof.
When installed by skilled contractors, architectural shingles can mimic the look of themost expensive slate or cedar shake roofs. Although architectural shingles can cost 20 percent more than the other types, they are considerably more resistant to wind, ice and snow.Their granulated texture allows them to resist the growth of algae and fungus, which can grow on asphalt in wet or snowy weather. Make sure the shingles are marked either“CSA” (Canadian Standards Association) or “ULC” (Underwriters Laboratories of Canada).
Metal Roofs: Durable and Energy-Efficient
Metal roofs, available in corrugated panels or stamped to resemble tile or shingles, can do an excellent job standing up to harsh winters. In addition, their reflectivity allows them to provide cooling in hot summers. If you’re not a fan of the “silver metallic” look in rooftops, the metal can be ordered custom-painted in attractive colours. Metal roofs are more expensive than asphalt shingles, but can last up to 50 years. However, one drawback is that they tend to suddenly shed large, dangerous chunks of snow and ice without warning. An ice and snow guard at the edge of the roof must be installed to prevent this problem.
Cedar Shingles and Shakes: Rural Charm
Cedar shingles and shakes, which develop a pleasing, natural look as they weather and age through the years, give good protection against high winds, hail, snow and ice. Another plus of cedar roofs is that heaps of snow and chunks of ice tend not to slide off them as easily as with other roofs. When properly installed and maintained, these picturesque roofs can last up to 40 years. But moisture, from rain or melted snow, can be a problem, causing them to crack and possibly leak.Refinishing the roof with a stain or protectant can help reduce therisk of leakage, while a mesh underlay installed under the cedar may help prevent rotting.
Once you’ve chosen, purchased and installed your new, leak-free roof, you’re free to relax and turn your attention to the winter holidays and the exciting seasonal pastimes this area has to offer. Skiing, ice skating, winter hiking, sledding and ice hockey all await you; you can enjoy them knowing that you’ll be returning to a snug, well-insulated haven topped off by a perfect rooftop that will last for years to come.
About The Author
Robert Landry is co-owner/partner of The Cutting Edge Roofing in Pickering, Ontario, Canada. Robert has more than 25 years’ experience in the commercial and residential roofing industry and has led the company to its current status as an award-winning roofing provider with a Best of 2012 Homestars Award in the Roofing Division. He is avid ice hockey fan and enjoys spending his free time with his family.