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Protecting Property During Re-Roofing

Once the roof of a building has reached the end of its life, re-roofing is inevitable, but to install a new roof, the old roof must be removed and carted to a transfer station.

Old roofs have been sitting out in the elements for decades.  The material is dirty, heavy, and one must use force and leverage to remove it in small and irregular pieces.  This debris must be safely dropped to the ground or into a disposal container if it can be placed close by.

In commercial re-roofing, flat or low slope pitches are most common.  This means that the old roof that has been removed will not fall down to the ground down a steep pitch.  It can be picked up in pieces and carried along the roof to where the container has been parked, adjacent to the building.  If the roof is up high, ramps or chutes can be utilized to funnel the debris to the container and a sweep of the ground can be conducted to collect any loose gravel or dust.  This also applies to most residential flat and low slope roofs.

For residential sloped roofing, removal can be more complicated.  Walkways, trees, garden beds, decks, stairs, planters, canopies, and swimming pool decks are just some the variety of obstructions that can be found at the perimeter of most homes and multi-family dwellings.  Not only must the debris be consolidated to allow a smooth transition from the roof to the container, these objects and this plant life must be protected from damage due to the weight, volume, and destructive potential of the roof garbage. 

To accomplish the goal of roof removal without damaging property, roofing companies may use plywood, tarps, and scaffolds of various types.  Plywood is placed against the building, over top of wooden and membrane deck surfaces, against and over top of railings, etc.  Plywood may also be used to line chutes created from lumber, often at a valley mouth, to steer debris away from the house.  If the roof overhangs a delicate object such a glass canopy, it is necessary to keep debris from falling from the eave (gutter) of a roof sloped roof section, roof jacks and plank, a roof-mounted scaffold, can be fastened near the bottom of the roof section.  This will catch most of the heavy material, which can then be carried to a more suitable dropping point and lowered to the ground.

Once the roof has been removed and cleaned up, some loose pieces, dust, and the occasional nail will remain or can land slightly outside the protected area.  It is therefore very important to use a magnetic rake or some sort of device to search for stray nails before become lodged in a vehicle tire, or worse, somebody’s foot.

With the use of ladders, lumber, plywood, tarps, and scaffolds, many situations with the potential for damage can be easily avoided.  Be certain your roofing company uses these methods or has a well-conceived plan to care for yours or your strata’s property when they remove old roofing. 

Even though all of these preparations may appear satisfactory, mistakes can happen.  Does your potential Greater Vancouver roofing contractor have adequate liability insurance?