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6 min read

Everything to Know About an Inverted Roof


6 min read

Everything to Know About an Inverted Roof

RoofExterior renovationsEverything to Know About an Inverted Roof

Typically, the roof is the largest surface of a building. And, because of that, contractors are awarding more importance to this structural element during construction projects. That said, the inverted roof is one of the most durable and dependable options available. 

Inverted Roof: Definition

Also known as the “upside down” roof, the inverted roof is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional roofs. One of the key advantages of this roofing method is that the membrane is safeguarded against thermal expansion and contraction, which is a direct result of weather fluctuations, such as freeze-thaw weathering and solar radiation, by an insulation layer. It’s also protected against damage often caused by foot traffic on the rooftop, temporary equipment movement, etc. 

As previously mentioned, these systems are roofing structures in which a waterproof membrane is positioned beneath the insulation layer. This so-called “inverted” sequence means that the roofing structure is first and foremost impermeable, then insulated, and then ballasted with gravel or concrete paving slabs. Ballasting prevents the insulation layer from being wind-lifted

This type of roof doesn’t require additional air or vapour barriers, as the waterproof membrane is positioned beneath the insulation layer, which fulfills that very role. The waterproof membrane’s position is instrumental in protecting against the elements, UV rays, rapid temperature changes, and mechanical damage. Therefore, using this membrane is highly recommended in situations where the roofing space requires the manoeuvring and storage of plants and materials. Furthermore, these are also well-adapted for buildings with frequent vehicle and foot traffic. 

building a flat roof

Source: Flickr

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Inverted Roof: Features

An inverted roof is characterized by the following elements, according to their respective layers (from outside, in):

  1. Ballast or concrete slab on supports (made of stone, gravel, or slabs on blocks);
  2. Water flow reducing layer;
  3. Rigid thermal insulation;
  4. Draining layer (optional);
  5. Liquid waterproofing layer;
  6. Screed (layer of material stabilizer used to level or coat);
  7. Structural slab/deck;
  8. Internal finish.

MM6125 Inverted Roof

The monolithic membrane 6125 (MM6125) is a flexible, tough, and thick, hot fluid-applied bitumen membrane. Said membrane is heated and paired with a layer of reinforced and protective polyester to then form a waterproof layer that’s 100% adherent.

It has been successfully used worldwide by architects and engineers as a covering and/or waterproofing membrane, typically, on concrete substrates, for vertical or horizontal applications (terraces, parking lots, reflecting pools, mechanical room floor underlayment, foundation walls, tunnels, planters, etc.).

More so, it offers the following advantages:

  • It can be applied in temperatures as low as -18°C and isn’t affected by extreme weather conditions immediately after installation. 
  • The MM6125 is designed with an inert filler consisting of up to 40% post-consumer recycled material, such as recycled oil and tires. This increases durability.
  • It’s especially resistant to fertilizers, cleanings, acid rain, and methane.
  • It binds tenaciously to the substrate, making it ideal for heavy-duty green roofs, platforms, and waterproofing projects.

Inverted Roofs: Types

Monolithic membrane

To mitigate drawbacks, which are often a direct result of a roofing system’s joints, a rather simple solution, and quite obvious at that, consists of not having any joints at all. With a monolithic membrane, the liquid waterproofing system (rubber bitumen) is applied in adhesive layers to provide a roofing surface that’s entirely devoid of joints. 

This results in an adhesive protective membrane that’s sealed against humidity, thereby eliminating leaks and costly maintenance directly linked to non-monolithic systems. The necessary maintenance is mainly with the drains; it’s actually recommended to call in a specialist in the trade to carry out the work.

Furthermore, in terms of advantages, monolithic membranes are known to last more or less 25 years, all the while remaining flexible to structural movement to minimize damages. 

Elastomeric membrane

This roofing system greatly differs from regular tar and gravel roofs. It’s actually a much more sophisticated two-layer system, made up of a base sheet and a finishing layer (coloured on the surface). The base sheet can be screwed or glued to the support and the top layer welded to the base sheet. Also, all the joints are hot-welded to ensure that the membrane fuses in place.

Elastomeric membranes are applied to a number of different types of roofs to protect and waterproof the underlying roofing materials, eliminate and prevent leaks, and limit any damages resulting from future harsh weather conditions. They’re also designed to move with instead of against the roof and are more flexible, rather than rigid, thus making them especially durable. Moreso, the top (finishing) layer protects the roofing system from harmful UV rays and the elements. 

In terms of advantages, the elastomeric membrane is aesthetically pleasing. Its overall resistance is quite remarkable and requires little maintenance. It also significantly reduces heat islands, a practical feature in urban areas.

Now, as for maintenance, the elastomeric membrane is very low-maintenance. However, a bi-yearly, seasonal (fall and spring) visual inspection is recommended.

Protected membrane blue roof 

This easy-to-implement option is ideal for utility roofs that aren’t designed for users, like green or blue roofs that aren’t people-friendly (so devoid of a terrace, garden, play or lounge area, etc.). It can be made from the MM6125 system, using standard stone slabs as ballast. Here, the water from the inverted roof is stored in the voids between the stones and up to the required level above the ballast.

There’s also a terrace version, one in which the void beneath the architectural slab (heavier and thicker) can be used to store larger quantities of rainwater. The slab supports can be adjusted and placed higher up to generate a larger volume of water if necessary. 

This system also facilitates water drainage beneath the slabs toward concealed drains, which in turn expedites the slab drying time, all the while reducing the quantity of stagnant water and trapped moisture.

Additionally, all the assembly parts are easily accessible. Therefore, simply lift the pavers off your flat, inverted roof to repair, replace, or maintain a specific section.

green roof

Source: David Mark - Pixabay

Inverted Roof: Ballast

When a roofing structure’s waterproofing system isn’t directly adhered to its support, it’s commonly referred to as independently installed. Therefore, it must be ballasted. The ballast is an independent feature that’s affixed to the insulation to maintain its positioning (due to its weight). The weight of the ballast is determined according to their load. In cases of inverted roofs, the insulation is placed between the waterproofing layer and the ballast.

The inverted roof’s ballast enables its resistance to the insulation layer’s potential flapping caused by particularly heavy rains. It also protects the insulation and/or the waterproofing layer from UV ray deterioration.  

The most commonly employed materials are gravel, soil, and patio slabs. A possible alternative to the latter is screed, while a green roof covering can also be used as ballast if its weight is suitable. Furthermore, if you can get your hands on an inverted anti-root roof, the barrier needs to be applied directly to the waterproofing layer below the thermal insulation.

The inverted roof offers considerable advantages in terms of durability. As a matter of fact, the insulation material and the whole of the roof’s construction are optimally protected against exterior weather conditions. Therefore, the roof is less likely to expand or shrink, which reduces the risks of tears or the roof covering bursting. Also, the potential money-saving opportunities of an inverted roof are significant. This makes it an excellent option, especially for flat commercial roofs.

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Last modified 2022-11-21

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Step 2: To achieve a straight and professional-looking line (50-50 on either side) without damaging it, fold the material in half. Step 3: When applying ridge cap shingles, start at the lowest point of the hip rafter and work your way toward the ridge board (top). On hipped roofs, install ridge cap shingles working from each end to meet in the middle. On gable roofs, lay the ridge cap shingles by starting at the far end facing away from the wind and working your way to the other end. Step 4: Nail the ridge cap shingle roughly 14 cm above the ridge, some 2.5 cm on either side, depending on the type of ridge cap shingle you’re using. Step 5: Once you’ve worked your way to the top of a gable roof, start with the ridge end in the opposite direction of the wind for optimum ridge wind resistance. Step 6: Now’s the final step: set the final shingle in cement and cover the exposed nail heads with cement, too. In fact, the final shingle must be glued with plastic cement specifically, and the exposed nails must also be covered. Ridge Cap Shingle Pricing To give you an idea of the price range of ridge caps, note that for Glacier Hip & Ridge pre-cut cap shingles, you’ll need to spend roughly $61. These are covered with algae-resistant granules and an adhesive sealant which provides top-notch wind resistance. Each pack contains 21 shingles, divided into three sets for a total of 63 units. But, typically, the most popular ridge cap shingle prices are as follows: Ridge cap tiles: $5.40 to $27 per linear metre Metal ridge cap: $20 to $33.70 per linear metre Slate ridge cap: $67.50 to $202.50 per linear metre Are you looking for experts for your roof ridge installation project? Fill in this form to be connected with top-rated contractors! How do Ridge Vents Work? Source : Canva Naturally, your house ought to be able to breathe. The heat generated by the house can build up in the attic, so to avoid any mould issues, humid air has to be released somehow. If left to build up, it’ll cause problems such as the early deterioration of your roof shingles and mould growth, which is potentially harmful to your health, and detrimental to your bank account and your home's structure. One of the most effective ways to ventilate your home is to employ a proper roof ventilation system. A ridge vent is the most effective solution to remove moisture-laden air from your attic, while also ensuring proper ventilation. Quickly, a ridge vent is essentially a metal moulding designed and positioned on the roof’s ridge to draw warm air out of your attic and rooftop. Your roof may have more than one ridge, depending on the number of roof slopes and the size of the ridge boards. So, how does a ridge vent work exactly? The answer to that question is pretty straightforward. Ridge vents function through a natural air exchange process that, when broken down, is a combination of some basic principles you may already know. When warm air flows into your attic and you have a ridge vent in place, the airflow rising over the roof ridge naturally exchanges the air by allowing the rising warm air to escape through the ridge openings. Those are the small sections on the side of the ridge vent that look like a vent. With this natural air flow occurring, warm air is released through the top vents, naturally amassing cool air to then substitute via soffits. This natural air exchange process then creates negative pressure in the attic, which is also known as the venturi effect. Should I Install a Ridge Vent On My Roof? In most cases, the short answer is yes. If you’re building a new roof on your house, your roofing expert will most likely advise you to embed it within your ventilation system. Proper roof ventilation will prolong your roof’s overall durability and will prevent future issues linked to moisture, which result from a build-up of warm air. And for that alone, a ridge vent is a superb option. Cover image source: Micah Carlson - Unsplash

6 min read 24 Oct 2022

Shingle Roof Maintenance: Ensuring Durability?

Regardless of the type of material used to cover your roof, with time and exposure to the elements, grime can quickly build up and compromise the roof's functionality. Therefore, it's essential to clean your roof regularly to prolong its durability and maintain adequate waterproofing. Below are some tips on how to maintain a shingle roof. Why Is Shingle Roof Maintenance Important? Source: Canva Asphalt shingle roofs are very common in residential areas in Quebec, mainly because of their aesthetic value, superior weather resistance, and ability to conform to various building styles. Shingles are an important investment for homeowners, so maintaining them regularly is essential to avoid any damage and maximize their durability. Moreover, reroofing can be very expensive, whereas regular roof clean-up is much cheaper and helps prevent future damage that could lead to major renovation work. Aside from ensuring the comfort and safety of the home's residents, a well-maintained roof retains its thermal performance and increases the home’s value, which is especially advantageous when putting it up for sale. What Causes Damage to Roof Shingles? Throughout their operational time frame, shingle roofs can be damaged due to several factors: Adverse weather conditions: Between exposure to sunlight, wind, rain, hail, and snow, roofs can easily deteriorate with time, which can cause insulation and ventilation problems that leave room for mould growth. Vegetation: Algae, moss, and lichen growth, as well as plant and tree debris, create micro-fissures in the roof and leave the home with an unappealing appearance. A poor installation technique can also cause damages, as well as inadequate maintenance or dispersal pattern. Certain problem indicators may be visible, such as cracked or warped shingles, missing shingles, mould on the ceiling (as well as brown and yellowish stains), water leaks inside the house, etc. Are you looking for experts for your roofing project? Fill in this form to be connected with top-rated contractors! How to Maintain a Shingle Roof? Source: Canva Shingle roof maintenance is a 4-step process, preferably done twice yearly. It's not advisable to carry out some of the maintenance work yourself; it's best to hire a qualified roofer who is more likely to detect problems and implement effective measures. 1- Roof maintenance Regular roof cleaning is the first step in maintaining roof shingles. This includes cleaning the shingles and flashing, as well as any related parts of the roof such as gutters, skylights, downspouts, chimneys, vents, and solar panels. We recommend that you: Occasionally remove leaves and branches that coat the surface of the roof. Work from ground level or, if this isn't possible, use a leaf blower to remove the vegetative debris. Trim the foliage directly above the roof and hire an arborist for hard-to-reach areas. Alternatively, you can spray anti-moss products that are available at hardware stores over the vegetation. Clean out the leaves and other vegetation from the gutters with a trowel. This will help the water drain into the downspouts. Prevent a build-up of debris in your gutters by installing gutter guards or wire mesh grates. Doing so also makes it easier to remove any debris. If you're not comfortable with heights, have your roofer tackle the job. The Canadian Asphalt Shingle Manufacturer’s Association (CASMA) suggested a simple formula to eliminate rooftop vegetation: ¼ cup trisodium phosphate (TSP, chemical cleaner); ¼ gallon bleach; ¾ gallon water. Carefully mix all ingredients above-mentioned and put on safety gear before ascending the roof. Don’t use a pressure washer, as it could damage the shingles; rather opt for a soft bristle brush. The process is best undertaken under favourable weather conditions, i.e. clear skies. 2- Roof check After thoroughly cleaning the roof, inspect it for any potential damage. Ideally, carry out this inspection twice yearly, preferably during spring and fall. To that end, hire an experienced roofer who'll be able to locate any potential problem, detect any cracks, and carry out small repairs before they exacerbate. They'll also be able to ensure that your ventilation system is working properly and that it doesn't need to be cleaned or unclogged. 3- Roof repairs This step consists of repairing damaged areas noted during the inspection. It's important to carry out any repairs immediately once detected, no matter how insignificant a fissure may seem, because, over time, it may exacerbate and require costly repairs. Water leak damage, even if it isn't initially apparent, is often difficult to repair and can be hazardous to one’s health. 4- Log roof repairs Homeowners are advised to keep a roof inspection log wherein roofers record all potential problems and past repairs made to the roof. This will allow the roofer to identify potential problems during future inspections and make more effective and durable repairs. By using this memory aid, you'll be able to better plan your roof maintenance budget and provide evidence of regular roof maintenance to a future inspector or buyer. Gutters: What to Look Out for During Maintenance Source: Canva Cleaning the gutters is an essential step in maintaining an asphalt shingle roof. And that’s why, according to Marc-André Martin of Toitures Horizon, "When it comes to roof maintenance, all homeowners should clean out their gutters every fall." Cleaning keeps the roof leak-proof and the house in good working condition. A build-up of leaves and dirt can clog gutters, which may lead to issues such as cracks, sagging structures, water infiltration, etc. Regularly cleaning your gutters helps to remove any accumulated debris and thus avoid rust and corrosion, which can damage the rainwater drainage system. Depending on the manufacturing material used, properly maintained gutters can last up to 50 years. To effectively clean your gutters, first, climb up a ladder and remain adjacent to the area. Then, remove any debris from the gutter: bird nests, dead leaves, grit, dust, etc. With a scrub brush, proceed by scrubbing the surface; note that anything sharp could damage the gutters. Repeat this process as many times as needed as you work your way around the perimeter of your gutters. Using a garden hose, start rinsing from the top down, and simultaneously inspect your gutters. If there’s a water leak, then your gutter is probably punctured or cracked. It may also be that your fitting gaskets are worn and some hooks are damaged. Also, the presence of stagnant water in some areas is a tell-tale sign of a sagging gutter, which must be realigned. If water just isn't flowing, then, in all likelihood, your gutter is probably clogged up with debris or something else. When to Clean a Shingle Roof? The best time to clean an asphalt shingle roof is during dry seasons. Ideally, it shouldn't rain for 3 days following the maintenance work. We suggest avoiding rainy seasons, as rain results in a slippery roof. For safety reasons, windy weather conditions are also excluded. High temperatures cause the roof to dry too fast or expose the roofer to potential heat stroke. Rain and cold weather will wash away products before they can even take effect. Heat also causes the products to evaporate. Thus, it's important to find a happy medium. Furthermore, to ensure that your restoration project is as efficient as possible, only proceed with maintenance work when the trees around your roof and property have shed all their leaves. Cover image source: Steve Johnson – Flickr

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