Flat Roof Risk Factors: Dealing with Canadian Weather

Canada has diverse landscapes and climates. These include mountains and plains, forests and prairies, streams and rivers, along with blazing heat and blistering cold. With such varied geography and weather, it is no surprise to find out that our country is prone to the occasional natural disaster. Under such circumstances, you need to build a home that can protect you even in the worst weather. Roofs face most of that wear and tear. So, if you are planning to install a flat roof, you need to know the risks involved and how to prevent possible damage.

Risk Factors of Flat Roofs in Canadian Weather


Canadian winters can weigh down a flat roof with pounds of accumulated snow, so it is advisable to get any roof repairs or replacements completed before winter sets in. In a CBC News interview, Ian Towers, the owner of a residential building inspection company, said that every roof in Quebec had to bear the weight of 21 pounds per square foot of accumulated snow last February. Needless to say, it is a good idea to keep an eye on weather damage, long before your roof collapses. If it is already cracked or weak, a damaged roof may lead to fatal injuries. Canada is known for its heavy snowfalls, and we all know the devastating effects of snowfall on property. Flat roofs boast much open space to enjoy, but when there is snow involved, the risk of damage becomes obvious.


Heavy snowfall in Canada



Tornadoes are a common phenomenon in Canada. Nearly 100 are reported annually, any one of which might be strong enough to rip a home off its foundation. Tornadoes in Canada are not always that strong, but they are often followed by lightning, hail and torrential storms, none of which are good for your flat roof. Given the fact that it is one of the most devastating natural calamities, you need to stay protected. Strong winds can loosen the top membrane of a flat roof, leaving it exposed to the rain and hailstorms that follow a tornado. Your roof is the most exposed part of your home and can be easily damaged by wind.


Originating from bodies of water, hurricanes are storms that can massively impact our coastal areas. Thankfully, most hurricanes can be predicted at least 72 hours before they occur. New damage, like cracks and leaks, can be mended after the storm, but if your roof is already damaged, a hurricane can lead to its collapse. It is best to get an inspection – and any subsequent repairs or replacement – done before the storm sets in.


Hurricanes hit Canada



Hurricane and tornadoes are often followed by severe rain. Apart from that, Canada, like most countries, experiences heavy showers. These can lead to water accumulating on flat roofs and membranes sagging. Under such conditions, your roof is prone to leaks and sinking, especially if the drainage is blocked. Be sure to have your roof inspected annually or biannually, depending on its age and condition.


High-magnitude earthquakes can lead to the collapse of whole buildings. Canada’s Saint-Lawrence Valley and the West Coast are especially prone to earthquakes. Each year approximately 4,000 earthquakes (both mild and strong) are recorded by Canadian seismologists. No matter how mild, though, they leave an aftereffect on every building. In fact, even low-magnitude earthquakes can affect buildings over time. Introducing wire mesh to the slab of your roof and connecting it to the ground beam can help it withstand earthquakes and ensure its stability. This strengthens the building’s structure and allows it to bear even the highest magnitude earthquake but must be installed with the roof.


Earthquake in Canada

6 Ways to Protect Your Flat Roof

  1. If your flat roof is more than five years old, have it inspected regularly. Speak to a roofing specialist to ensure that it can withstand our country’s sometimes extreme weather conditions. If you notice any signs of water clogging or a sagging roof membrane, contact a roof repair expert immediately. Excessive algae and moss accumulation can also lead to severe problems. Therefore, try to keep the roof neat and clean.
  2. Sweep away leaves and dirt regularly. Dirt left on the roof will lead to water clogging and severe damage.
  3. It is important to know whether your roof needs to be patched or replaced. A reliable roofing specialist will be able to tell which approach makes the most sense. A regular roof inspection is important to make sure that any cracks or leaks are detected as early as possible.
  4. If you plan to replace your flat roof, opt for high-quality, long-lasting materials. Replacement is the extreme option but something you may want to consider if you have done all the patching you can do.
  5. Use a waterproof membrane to make sure neither rain nor snow damages your flat roof. High-tech membranes can protect it for long periods, including from UV rays which lead to cracks.
  6. Flat roof materials like PVC, EPDM, TPO, BUR, and tar & gravel are engineered to withstand wind, snow, rain and UV damage. You can buy them from a reputable roofing company.

Flat roofs offer your home extra open space for a garden or terrace. For commercial and industrial buildings, this is where the HVAC and other vents are installed. There are many weather conditions and hazardous natural calamities that can lead to roof damage. Regular inspections and timely repairs can help maintain flat roofs in the extreme weather and natural calamities sometimes faced by our home and native land.

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