Thursday, 13 October 2016

Addressing Your Roof Problems: Immediate and Short Term Decisions

When your roof is damaged or fatigued to the point of leaking, a decision to repair or replace it needs to be made. You may be surprised to learn that many times—with proper repairs—a roof can be restored to provide many years of additional service.

In choosing between repair and replacement you need to consider how old the roof is and the type of roof that’s in place (some roofing materials last longer than others).

Remember, water is persistent and it can travel quite a distance before you see it showing up on your ceiling. By the time you notice it in the interior, the actual roof could have already been leaking for weeks or months.

In this blog post, we’ll detail what you need to do once a roofing issue is noticed immediately. We’ll also go through the ideal thought process behind the “Repair or Replace?” scenario.

What should you do when you notice an issue?

It’s important to call a roofing contractor as soon as you notice a problem—the earlier the problem is dealt with, the smaller and less expensive the repair will be.

So, let’s look at the four immediate steps you MUST take when you spot a roof leak in order to save a small fortune from the damage that can occur within the first few hours after detection.

Immediate Step #1: First and foremost, be very careful when you’ve suffered a water leak. Water coming in contact with electricity can be deadly. And floors can be especially slippery, so be extra careful when walking around.

Immediate Step #2: Stop the source of the leak. If you haven’t been able to locate the source of the water leak and/or been able to stop the leak, call someone immediately so they can guide you through this very important and time-sensitive step as best as possible over the phone.

Immediate Step #3: If the leak has been temporarily stopped, call a reputable roofing contractor so they can permanently stop your leak as quickly as possible. If they happen to be swamped with calls for leak repairs because of a bad storm, get someone who will promise to at least provide you with a temporary leak repair until they can return and provide a permanent solution.

Immediate Step #4: Remove furniture that is currently on wet flooring— or even near wet flooring—since most furniture can permanently stain wet carpet if left on top of it. But this expensive problem can be eliminated simply by removing furniture as soon as possible, or by at least placing some dry plastic under furniture legs. The need to take immediate action is very important.

When it comes to repairing or replacing your roof, making one wrong decision can inconvenience you and your family for weeks, not to mention cost you thousands of dollars in unnecessary work.

Added Value to Your Home – Repair or Replace?

When making the major decision to repair or replace your roof, don’t forget the cost vs. value estimates. If part of making the decision to replace your roof rests in the return you will place in your pocket at the sale of your home, ask your real estate agent about home prices for your

Surprisingly, the return you receive on the sale of your home in our area is quite high. Have you
ever heard the statement “location, location, location?” The return most homeowners receive on a major remodeling project runs about 80-96%.

Determining the percentage you recoup after a remodeling project (in this case roof replacement), is based on factors such as the condition of your current home (as well as homes in your area) and whether you live in an urban, suburban, or rural setting.

Check with your local realtor to verify the return that you can expect when replacing the roof on your home.

Let us know if you found this post informative. Got a question? Leave a comment below and we’ll respond to you.

Learn More Here: Addressing Your Roof Problems: Immediate and Short Term Decisions

Examining Common Roofing Problems

Roofs go through a lot. They get hit with debris. They’re on the receiving end of the elements. Naturally, your roof takes a beating and it can show over time. So it’s not surprising

You’re reading this because you want to know whether the problem that’s occurred at your roof is normal. Perhaps you’re wanting to know what can be done. The good news is that you’ve come to the right place!

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at where on a roof problems can occur and then we’ll examine the roofing problems themselves!

Here are a few of the common locations where we find problems on a house:


Your chimney has several locations that may require a roof repair. The likelihood of a problem depends on how well the original roofing installation was done.

roof chimney

Your chimney has four sides, and each side has flashing. Flashing is what protects the line where the side of the chimney meets the roof. In addition, each of those four sides could have a different type of flashing, depending on where the chimney is located.

Even the tiniest crack that allows water to get in behind the flashing can turn into a serious roof leak. This is why the chimney is one of the first places we check.


Skylights: In our area, skylights are a part of many homeowners’ roofing systems. Although many people may not be experiencing skylight problems when they prepare for a roofing replacement, they should consider the replacement of the existing skylights.

Roof Shingles with skylight

The average age of a roof being replaced is 18 years old. This means if the customer has an original skylight, it is also at least 18 years old. If the skylight is not replaced during the roof replacement, the potential for skylight failure in the future increases.

In 5-10 years after your roof is replaced, the original skylight will be 23-28 years old at that point and will surely be in need of replacement. When being replaced, your contractor will have to remove some of your newly installed shingles to replace skylights, which could cause potential problems such as color matching and proper sealing of the shingles.

At Adanac Roofing, we are proud to offer Columbia Skylights, which have the widest selection of Energy Star® Rated skylight products in Canada.

Other Projections

Other possible locations needing repair are any projections such as plumbing stacks or air vents that have to actually come out through a hole in the roof.

When a hole is made in the roof, it has to be sealed properly. In some cases, such as a plumbing stack, the hole could be sealed fine at the time of installation, but then the rubber boot around the pipe can become hardened or cracked over time and become compromised.

Your roofing material is designed to divert water that comes from above, not from the side. When a strong rain is blowing, it can be driven up and under your shingles. At that point, the only thing between the rain and your house is a layer of tar paper. This type of roof repair usually just means replacing any shingles that were compromised.

If part of your roof normally faces the wind, we would also fasten down the shingles on the edge with some roofing cement. This minimizes the chances of the same thing happening again.

Common Roofing Problems

Let’s take a look at common issues you may encounter on your roof. If you notice any of these, immediately call a roofing specialist to address the problem.

Missing/Damaged Shingles

Every missing or damaged shingle is one less layer of protection between your house and the rain. Every shingle is important, so if one or several are missing, it is definitely time for a roof repair.

Loose, Cracked or Rotting Shingles:

This is one of the most common roof leak occurrences, and is most likely to happen if your asphalt cedar shingle roof is more than 15 or 20 years old. That’s getting up in years for asphalt shingles.

We can look at the roof and see if it makes sense to repair the location of the leak, or if it would be more cost effective to replace the roof.

A Nail That Has Backed Out

In a shingle roof, you might find that a shingle nail has somehow backed itself out and cut through the top shingle. You would be surprised at how much water can enter in through that one little nail hole. Over time this can mean quite a bit of water damage; catching it early is a cheap fix.

Poor Flashing Installation

Flashing is the metal piece that seals up the area where the roof meets a vertical surface, such as a chimney or a wall. If this is not installed properly, water will find a way in eventually.

Nails can also work themselves out of flashing. The average life of a roof is between 15 and 20 years, depending on the type of products and materials used.

There are a few obvious signs that can indicate that it’s time to replace your roof. Following are some signs to look for—both inside and outside—when determining if a roof replacement is needed on your home.

Take Action Now!

Don’t wait - common roofing problems manifest and can put a stranglehold on your home. Don’t leave this til later. Don’t procrastinate. Take action. Give us a call now ( +1 (604) 888-1616 ) at Adanac Roofing and we’ll take care of you.

Source Here: Examining Common Roofing Problems

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

So You’ve Decided You Need a New Roof: What Type of Roof is Best for You?

If you observe any of the signs listed in the previous section, you need roof repairs or a new roof. Depending on the degree of damage, a professional roofing contractor can help you make this very important decision.

Your roof constitutes only 5% of the construction cost of your home, yet provides protection for 95% of your investment. So when it’s time to replace your roof, you want it done correctly!

Roof type and contractor selection are the most important decisions a homeowner has to make when installing a new roof.

In this blog post, we’ll go over particular roofing components and define roofing elements for you. We’ll then discuss the different types of roofs that you should consider. This is an in-depth post designed to put you and your concerns first.

Buyer + Education = Informed Consumer = Successful Roofing Project

The following sections include a few basic terms and define roof system components that will aid you in becoming a well-informed roofing consumer.

budget secrets from contractors

Understanding Roof System Components

When a qualified roofing contractor meets with you to replace an entire roof, they will speak a slightly mysterious language with terms like sheathing, flashing, roof drainage, valley treatment, underlayment, ventilation systems, drip edges, decking, trusses and shingles.

Understanding these terms will allow you to make the best choices to meet the needs and goals for your roofing replacement project. Being able to speak the same language as your roofing contractor will help you get the best materials and the best value for your roof replacement.

Whenever you have questions or simply need clarification on roofing components or terms, a qualified roofing expert should take the time to help you feel more comfortable with the basics of roofing. Always remember that you are the paying customer and that the roofing contractor needs your business to survive in a competitive market.

Roofing Elements Defined

TrussesTrusses are the backbone of a roof system. Usually built from wood, this framed structure is comprised of triangle shaped joints, which provide a roof with stability and a rigid structure to support the roofing system. A framed truss provides the strength and overall shape of a home or commercial building’s roof. The durability and strength of a truss will hold up to heavy amounts of snow and rain.

Roof Deck—This is the layer of material used to cover the trusses, and is then treated with weatherproof layers or insulation prior to receiving a layer of tile or shingles. The roof deck acts as the link that unites all of the roofing components together. The roof deck can be made of plywood, OSB sheathing, wood tongue and groove, corrugated metal, or a variety of high-quality materials that a professional roofer may recommend.

Underlayment—The underlayment is an essential piece of the roofing system, as it keeps water and other forms of moisture from penetrating the roof. Shedding water is the primary function of this roofing component. With high winds and heavy rain, a roof must have a high-quality underlayment to defend against the elements.

Flashing—Flashing is sheet metal or another rigid pliable material used to waterproof a roof system’s various joints and valleys and keep moisture from leaking in. All vents, jacks, and fireplaces that penetrate the roof should have a flashing layer.

Drainage—All roofing systems should have shapes and sloped features to drain water off of the roof. Having the ability to shed water will keep a roof system functioning for many years.

Ventilation—A roof breathes in cool fresh air and also will exhale warm, moist air as part of a healthy functioning roof system. A series of vents, pipes, and screened openings are used to allow air to flow in and out of a roof's attic space. A qualified roofing contractor can explain all of the building codes and requirements for a home or commercial building’s ventilation system.

Roof Covering—This is the final step of a roof system, and it consists of shingles, tile, slate, or metal. The materials used to cover a roof can largely determine the durability of it. The look and feel of a roof will also be decided by choosing from a variety of different shingles, tile products, slate surfaces, or metal roofing.

What Type of Roof is Best for Your Home?

Homeowners faced with a decision to replace their roof often make a common mistake—choosing the cheapest material or going with the most common choice suggested by a sales rep.

There’s a big benefit to taking the time to carefully consider which type of roof you want on your home—not just for functionality, but to be aesthetically pleasing.

  • Asphalt Shingles
  • Metal Roofing
  • Wood Shingles
  • Flat and Low-Slope Roofs
  • Steep Slope Roofs

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt roofing shingles are the most commonly used covering on residential properties in the market. Asphalt’s primary purpose in roofing shingles is to serve as a waterproofing agent.

Asphalt also holds the granules in place and adds to the overall strength of the roofing shingle. The best asphalt will stay flexible and will not dry out or become hard or brittle for the expected life of the roof.

There are 3 major categories of Asphalt Roofing Shingles available in the market:

3-Tab Asphalt Roofing Shingles: 3-Tab asphalt roofing shingles are single-layered asphalt roofing shingles typically designed to look like slate. These roofing shingles are usually the lightest weight asphalt roofing shingles available in the market.

Built on a tough fiberglass base, each shingle provides resistance to blow-off and tearing. 3-Tab roofing shingles are used primarily by home builders manufacturing economy-priced homes or purchased by homeowners as replacement roofing shingles for homes that already have 3-tab shingles on the roof.

CertainTeed manufactures 3-tab roofing shingles under the product name XTTM25.

Fiberglass Laminated Asphalt Roofing Shingles: Fiberglass laminated asphalt roofing shingles are manufactured as multi-layered products and provide a thicker and richer appearance on the roof (a multidimensional look).

Fiberglass laminated roofing shingles are typically heavier weight than 3-tab roofing shingles and usually have improved warranty protections, which can range from 30 years to Lifetime.

CertainTeed’s LandmarkTM Series roofing shingles are a prototypical design for a fiberglass laminated roofing shingle.

Premium Fiberglass Laminated Asphalt Roofing Shingles: These are fiberglass laminated shingles that have a differentiated appearance or functionality from traditional dimensional asphalt roofing shingles.

These products may have designs that mimic “old-world” roofing shingles, like natural slate or natural shake roofing shingles.

CertainTeed’s Grand ManorTM, Presidential ShakeTM and Carriage HouseTM shingles are prime examples of premium roofing shingles that provide an enhanced aesthetic appeal.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofs are growing in popularity thanks to their durability, aesthetic appeal and unsurpassed protection against the elements. There are several advantages to choosing metal as your roofing system:

Metal Roofs are Durable and Strong. Metal roofing systems have passed wind and uplift tests that are rigorously demanding, testing roofing materials simulating wind speeds over 150 miles per hour. Metal roofing systems also lead the way in fire protection for your home. Because metal roofs have extra strength (and resistance to fire), they may qualify for lower premiums on your homeowner’s insurance. Check with your insurance agent for information.

Metal Roofs are Beautiful. Metal roofing systems carry valuable and meaningful warranties against fading, chipping, chalking and rusting. A metal roof comes in lasting colors and themes that will fit a myriad of tastes and styles, ranging from vertical panels, or metal shingles that resemble slate, tile or even wood.

The long life and extra protection of a metal roof not only protects but enhances the beauty and value of your home.

Metal Roofs are Virtually Maintenance-Free. Most roofs will require some combination of maintenance or repair over their lifetime. Not so with a metal roof. “No maintenance” means no hassle and no ongoing expense. Of course there are rare exceptions, such as hail, which can dent the metal.

Metal Roofing Lasts a Lifetime. In fact, there have been known cases of the roof outlasting the home itself. When you compare metal roofs that last 50 years or more with asphalt shingles that last maybe 20 to 30 years, you can see why the cost is higher for metal. But you recover that investment in the long run by not having to replace your roof every 25 years or so.

Metal Roofing is Energy-Efficient. It is common for temperatures in your attic to go well above 100 degrees. When your home has a metal roof, it will actually reflect a good percentage of that radiant energy coming from the sun.

The roof will also have its own built-in venting system. All of this means that your attic doesn’t get as hot, so your home’s AC system doesn’t have to work as hard to keep your living area at a comfortable temperature. That translates to lower electricity costs.

A Metal Roof Adds Value to Your Home. Most people don’t stay in a home for 50 years. If you think you might sell your home and move within the next decade or two, a metal roof will be a big selling point. The new buyer will know that the roof won’t need to be replaced for a long time.

Wood Shingles

The simplest form of wood shingle is a rectangle about 18 inches (46 cm) or 24 inches (61 cm) long. The sides and butt of a shingle are often irregular; the sides may taper and the butt may not be square with the sides.

Shingles that have been processed so that the butt is square to the sides are called rebutted and re-squared or rebutted and rejointed shingles, often abbreviated as R&R.

Shingles and shakes may be tapered, straight, split or sawed and any combination of these, except straight-tapered. Different species and quality of wood are used, as are different lengths and installation methods.

Shakes and shingles may also be treated with wood preservatives before or after installation and fire retardants.

Shakes. A shake is a basic wooden shingle that is made from split logs. Shakes have traditionally been used for roofing and siding applications around the world. Higher-grade shakes are typically used for roofing purposes, while the lower grades are used for siding purposes. In either situation, properly installed shakes provide long lasting weather protection and a rustic aesthetic, though they require more maintenance than some other more modern weatherproofing systems.

The term “shake” is sometimes used as a colloquialism for all wood shingles. However, shingles are sawed rather than split. In traditional usage, “shake” refers to the board to which the shingle is nailed, not the shingle. Split wooden shingles are referred to as shag shingles.

Modern Wood Shingles. Modern wooden shingles - both sawed and split - continue to be made, but they differ from the historic ones. Modern commercially available shakes are generally thicker than the historic hand-split counterpart and are usually left “undressed” with a rough, corrugated surface.

The rough-surface shake is often considered to be more rustic and historic, but this is in fact a modern fashion.

Some modern shingles are produced in pre-cut decorative patterns, sometimes called fancy-cut shingles, and are available pre-primed for later painting.

The sides of rectangular shingles may be resquared and rebutted, which means they have been reworked so the sides are parallel and the butt is square to the sides. These shingles are more uniform and go on more neatly.

Flat and Low Slope Roofs

A roof that is nearly fl at or slightly pitched is called a flat roof or low slope roof—no roof should be dead fl at because it must have at least a slight slope to drain.

Low-slope and steep-slope terms describe roof pitch, the slant of a roof. A low-slope roof is one that has a slope of less than 3-in-12. This means that for every horizontal foot, the roof level goes up less than 3 inches vertically.

A steep-slope roof (typically a shingle roof) depends upon gravity to cause water to flow in one general direction so it can “shed” the water over the breaks and fasteners in the shingles until it flows to the edge.

A low-sloped or flat roof can’t depend upon the water to flow in any particular direction so it must form a watertight, monolithic membrane that stays watertight all the way to the drains or edge. Modern low-slope or flat roofs tend to use a continuous membrane covering which can better resist pools of standing water.

These membranes are applied as continuous sheets, bonded together with heat-welding or adhesives. Far more expensive low-slope or flat roof options (mostly for smaller traditional residential applications) include sealed metal roofs using copper or tin. These are soldered interlocking systems of metal panels.

Traditionally low-slope or flat roofs would use a built-up (“tar and gravel”) roof, which used to be good enough. Today, this traditional type of roofing suffers from performance, cost and environmental concerns requiring better value solutions.

Besides performance in wind, freeze-thaw cycles and UV radiation from the sun, a low-slope/flat roof must also withstand expansion and contraction and remain 100% watertight. This requires well-engineered attachment, seaming and weathering characteristics to meet these performance demands.

Steep Slope Roof Systems

Steep slope roofing usually refers to roofing materials suitable for roofs that have slopes of 3:12 or greater. These include asphalt roll roofing as well as asphalt shingles, concrete and clay tiles, wood shakes and slate.

Benefits of steep slope roof systems include:

  • Aesthetically pleasing styles and colors;
  • Provides slope and drainage;
  • Numerous material options.

The most common steep slope roofing types are asphalt shingles and are most often associated with residential construction, but can also be used for steep sloped commercial roofing as well.

Asphalt shingles are composed of fibrous glass mats infused with asphalt. Because asphalt is easily degraded by UV exposure, a surfacing of varying colored mineral granules is embedded into the exposed side of the asphalt shingle that also conveys its finished color.

Shingles are overlapped and secured by nailing through the roof overlay into the roof deck from the bottom of the roof slope to the high point of the roof, referred to as the ridge. Special ridge vents are typically installed to provide ventilation from the attic space.

Professional Gutter Installation

So why replace your gutters when you replace your roof? The typical lifespan of the average roof is 20 years, and that number is the same for gutters. So if your gutters are damaged or in disrepair, you should probably have them replaced along with your roof.

If you’ve noticed several spots where leaks, dents or separations are present, or if you’ve noticed runoff water overflowing them frequently, a gutter replacement is a smart choice. And if you’re getting your roof replaced due to storm damage, there’s a pretty good chance that your gutters were damaged by the storm as well.

If you’ve already taken the time to find the right contractor, scheduled appointments and arranged the timing of the project, it makes sense to have the same contractor replace your gutters. Most contractors can perform both jobs concurrently or with very little additional labor time added.

Besides, you don’t want unsightly gutters to ruin the look of your beautiful new roof! Today’s gutters come in a variety of colors to match or complement any roof. There are several seamless aluminum gutter styles and leaf guard protection systems and also specialty zinc, copper and galvanized steel gutter systems.

Take Action Now!

If you need a new roof, contact us - the experts at Adanac Roofing. We can take care of your roof replacement and gutter installation together. It’s what we do and what we love. You can request a quote here.

Article Source Here: So You’ve Decided You Need a New Roof: What Type of Roof is Best for You?

Friday, 8 July 2016

Great Advice To Keep The Roof In Terrific Shape

Originally Posted By: Roofing Tips

Home is called "a roof over your family's head." Clearly, it is very important to have a good roof on the house. Proper roof care can be just as important. Continue reading to find some fantastic roofing advice.

Continually be safe when you're up on your roof. Don't rise there should you don't really know what you're doing! Wear the proper safety gear and don't do just about anything that puts the body in danger. Make sure you bring along the correct tools to do the job at the same time to make sure you do the work right.

When meeting having a professional roofer, ask to find out a copy of their insurance. Any trustworthy roofer needs to have copies easily available. They're most likely not someone you need to assist should they have trouble offering you their papers. When you're trusting someone along with your roof, you need all of your bases covered.

Be sure that you use the proper safety precautions before attempting to increase on your own roof. Although you may think you are perfectly safe rising there with out a harness, wear one anyway. It is additionally a great idea to put on shoes which may have rubber soles since they will stop you from slipping.

To prevent a standard scam roofing companies embark on, don't pay anything to your contractor till the supplies have been delivered. Some firms will request a deposit in the beginning to protect their supplies, nevertheless, you should pay them only upon having the supplies at hand which means you get whatever you pay money for.

Whenever a storm blows by your area, beware of roofers who knock in your door. They often times adhere to a storm and give their services to everyone around the block, they set up an inexpensive, inadequate roof while taking each of the money your insurer will give you on your own claim, ripping you off.

Request copies in the roofing company's liability coverage before allowing them to work towards your homes roof. They must have these papers along with them after they talk to you if they are a seasoned and professional company. Any company that doesn't carry or outright refuses to offer copies of their papers and insurance detailing worker's compensation needs to be avoided.

Make certain any roofer that you simply hire has the licensing needed to do the work. In the event you don't know what type of licensing your city requires, you shouldn't just ask the roofer what's needed. Instead, call your neighborhood building department to find out the required licenses.

Ask the roofers you are interested in what materials they utilize most regularly. If you prefer a tile roof, however they have never laid one before, they aren't the best option to your project. Prior to deciding to tell them what material you plan to utilize to protect yourself from duplicity, ensure that you ask them this question.

The age and elegance of your house may influence the type and color of roofing material that can look best on the home. When you own a Victorian style home, roofing material that imitates wood shingles are a good choice. Many home builders are employing various kinds of metal roofing on the model homes.

Consider whether you need to employ a contractor who subcontracts out the work. You won't necessarily know the quality of anyone he hires to complete the job, to end up with a subpar roof in the end. Contractors that do the task themselves are better choices ultimately.

Only employ a contractor who offers emergency services within their contract. You have to know that somebody through the company will demonstrate around repair the problem without delay in case a tarp blows off within a storm or maybe your roof caves in. Move on to the next firm should they don't offer this service.

Solicit referrals out of your peers if you're having a difficult time deciding on a roof specialist. Personal experiences of others might be terrific helpful information on locating good contractors. One additional location to get advice is produced by a contractor you might have hired before to accomplish work towards your own home. No less than, this will start you off on the right path.

If their staff are subcontractors, when researching roofing companies, find out. In case of liability problems, (suits, accidents, or perhaps the like) things will get extremely complicated when the workers involved aren't directly utilized by the contractor you hire. Before you sign anything, always see the fine print.

Its not all roofers are great at what they do, so ensure you select one wisely. Avoid choosing because of a splashy ad. Positive word-of-mouth is normally the ideal kind of advertisement. Look at reviews online or search for the advice of friends. Read up concerning the company's reputation. Having the wrong contractor can be a costly mistake.

Determine your roof's age to ensure you'll determine it deserves repairs or to get replaced. Understanding when you should employ a professional contractor for a roof replacement depends mainly about how old your roof is. Typical roofs last around fifteen to 20 years. It's time for you to consider upgrading in case your roofing is near that in age.

Be sure to don't let your roof to become covered in ice in case the area you reside in carries a chilly climate. Ice could cause several problems on a roof. Prevent ice damage by installing ice, drip and rain shields. This can have better ventilation by encouraging the air flow that helps keep your roof's integrity.

Be skeptical of any roofer which requires one to pay completely at the start. An established roofing contractor has sufficient supplies accessible to begin work. This ought to raise some red flags in the event the contractor can't afford to start without having initial payment. A greater choice is to schedule payments at regular intervals.

When your roof is in good condition, you're as being a good homeowner. Not roofing issues, even though many repair and maintenance jobs have the ability to be ignored. Begin using these tips, as well as your roof will remain in good shape.

Roofing Revolution: How (Gorgeous) Green Roofs Benefit Birds

It’s not wasted space if you do something with it. Four green roof projects are helping species around the world.
Published by: Emma Bryce
Published on:
February 18, 2016
Birds in This Story

Cities: They’re not the greenest spaces in the world. But now, some major greening projects are placing roofs in the spotlight, and the results are delightful. In France, all new buildings are required to include vegetated roofs or solar panels, and in California, Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly recently unveiled plans for what will be the world’s largest green roof and public park, at 30 acres. All of this is good news for city wildlife. Here’s a sampling of four roofs whose formerly concrete premises are now, literally, for the birds.

Javits Center, New York City

Size: 297,000 square feet

Vegetation: 14 types of sedum, a flowering succulent that grows in thick mats

Key species: Herring Gulls, European Starlings, Barn Swallows

The monumental conference center looming over Manhattan’s West Side used to lure thousands of birds to their deaths via its giant glass windows. But the installation of bird-deterring glass cut fatalities by 90 percent, and now a 6.75-acre rooftop has transformed the Javits Center into an avian haven. Layers of hardy, herbaceous sedum provide perfect nesting habitat for Herring Gulls, which have taken up residence on the roof along with scores of other species. “More than a dozen types of nests have been found on the roof, with several eggs hatched throughout the past year,” says Tony Sclafani, a representative from the Javits Center.

Over the spring and summer of 2014, New York City Audubon and Fordham University surveyed the roof and counted 524 birds making use of the space, including the American Kestrel, European Starling, Barn Swallows, and the Northern Mockingbird (it also hosts bats and a multitude of insects). According to Sclafani, NYC Audubon also installed special recording equipment on the roof to continually track bird and bat species using the space. In January this year, further renovations, totalling $1 billion, were announced, including a new public green roof terrace and a 34,000-square-foot solar energy array.

Chicago City Hall Green Roof. Photo: Conservation Design Forum
City Hall, Chicago

Size: 35,000 square feet

Vegetation: herbaceous plants, grasses, shrubs, trees

Key species: Peregrine Falcon, Olive-sided Flycatcher

This site may be small compared to Javits, but it’s something of a catalyst. Fifteen years ago it triggered a trend that transformed Chicago into one of America’s most verdant cities, with its more than 3.5 million square feet of vegetated roof space. City Hall’s project began as an experiment to “promote green roofs as a very positive and sustainable strategy for the city,” says David Yocca, an architect from the Conservation Design Forum who was the lead designer on the project. The roof was initially intended to improve the building’s energy usage and reduce rainfall run-off. Now 15 years on, it contains active beehives and 200 plant species that create a leafy stopover spot for migratory songbirds that skirt Lake Michigan.

“The grasses are left all winter, they’re not cut back until the spring,” Yocca says. “Many of the flowering perennial plants have seeds that the birds will eat.” Visiting field biologists have recorded a wealth of birdlife there: Field Sparrows, Cape May Warblers, chickadees, wrens, thrushes, woodpeckers, and, notably, Peregrine Falcons, along with rarer birds like the Olive-sided Flycatcher, flock to the site to nest and rest.

Emmen green roof, Switzerland

Size: 150,000 square feet

Vegetation: scrubby grassland

Key species: Northern Lapwing

Since the 1970s, Switzerland’s population of flamboyantly-crested Northern Lapwings has dipped dramatically—from 1,000 breeding pairs to just 150 today. They’ve lost a chunk of their natural marshy habitat to agriculture. But a few of the remaining pairs have abandoned their shrinking habitats for green rooftops, says Stephan Brenneisen, an urban ecologist at Zurich University of Applied Sciences.

So, he and colleagues have set out to provide more—they’ve landscaped an existing green roof atop an industrial building complex in Emmen, central Switzerland, to provide improved foraging ground and more accommodating nest habitat for these threatened birds. “Green roofs have the benefit that no ground predators can get the eggs or chicks,” Brenneisen says. “Our research showed that chicks can survive if the design is correct.” These spaces may become key to a species’s survival.

Wild West End, London

Size: 46,000 square feet (and growing)

Vegetation: grasses, flowering meadowland plants, trees

Key species: Black Redstart

Despite the noisy bustle of traffic and shoppers in London’s West End, the area will soon also be a haven for birds: Major property owners in the area are voluntarily combining forces in a project called “Wild West End” to convert their rooftops into lush oases for wildlife.

The Crown Estate, a property owner in the area, is spearheading the project and has already pledged an acre of roof space. Ultimately, this will provide ecological “stepping stones” that link the nearby Regent’s and St. James Parks to each other, creating a lush corridor, says Neil Harwood, an ecologist from Arup, the project’s engineering consultancy.

A flagship species set to benefit is the Black Redstart, he adds. “Its natural habitat is gorges and cliffs. It has managed to spread from those areas and take on tall buildings.” Other target species include Blue Tits, goldfinches, Song Thrushes, wrens, and blackbirds. By incorporating various landscape features like bird and bat boxes for nesting, food-producing plants, vegetated walls, and trees at street level, businesses aim to create a continuous green corridor that will attract wildlife to the city’s core.

“Even the smallest space can make a contribution,” Harwood says. The Crown Estate launched the first roof in October 2015; at 46,000 square feet, it’s a sky garden designed to attract insects, birds, and bats. Further roof renovations are set to expand and connect green space across West London properties over the coming years.