Photo of a flat roofed street in old Montreal

A short history of flat roofs in Quebec

Have you noticed that many residential and commercial buildings in Quebec have flat roofs? Flat roofs have been steadily growing in popularity since the late 1800s. The team at René Perron Couvreurs specializes in installing, repairing and maintaining all types of roofs, including flat roofs for customers in Montreal and Laval. Our team has put together a blog about the history of flat roofs in La Belle Province.


The first flat roofs

Flat roofs first appeared in Quebec in the late 1800s during the Industrial Revolution. At the time, many workers needed quick, affordable dwellings. Therefore, row housing with brick or stone facades became popular. These homes were inspired by those in large British cities and had flat roofs made of asphalt, gravel and tar.


Why flat roofs?

In the past, pitched roofs were thought to be dangerous in the winter, especially in densely populated areas. Large sheets of ice or heavy snowdrifts could slide off the angular roofs and hurt or even kill passersby. Therefore, flat roofs were favoured in many urbanized areas.


Today, flat roofs are typically preferred by home and business owners for their modern look and capacity to be converted into green roofs. For example, many people turn their flat roofs into beautiful rooftop terraces or gardens to extend their living space. Moreover, green roofs can help mitigate air pollution.


Flat roofs are now often sealed with a bright white membrane that reflects the sun’s rays and helps reduce the heat island effect in urban areas. In fact, several boroughs in Montreal now require new builds to have flat white roofs.


Concerns of the past

Although poor drainage and durability used to be major concerns for flat roofs, technology has come a long way. For instance, roofers can now install double-layered elastomeric membranes on flat roofs. These membranes can last up to 30 years with minimal maintenance and have been designed to withstand extreme temperature changes, snow and high winds.


Flat roofs for residential and commercial buildings

Are you interested in installing a flat roof on your home or business in Montreal or Laval? The team at René Perron Couvreurs can help. Our installers have several years of experience and the know-how to get the job done right. We also offer a preventative maintenance program called Mon toit j’y vois to ensure your flat roof remains in good condition for as long as possible. Contact a team member to learn about this type of roofing and get a free estimate.