Toronto District School Board
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Roof Repairs

Repairing or replacing school roofs is critical to maintain a safe learning and working environment.

Leaky roofs can damage ceilings, walls, windows, flooring, library books and fire alarms and in the long term, compromise the health and safety of our staff and students.

During the year, the TDSB works on hundreds of roof projects to help maintain our buildings.

Due to the volume of school roofs being repaired every year, work must continue throughout the school year during daylight hours however, we are making every effort to do as much work outside of regular school days and hours as possible.

It’s important to note that work may be impacted by weather conditions.

If a roofing project is scheduled at your school, Facility Services staff will hold a pre-construction meeting with school staff and an information meeting with the community prior to the start of construction. Throughout the process, Facility Services staff will monitor the work to minimize the impact on school operations and ensure the health and safety of the school occupants.

Should you have any health and safety concerns related to this project, please contact the school principal. 

Learn More

  • Review the fact sheet provided by Toronto Public Health

Questions and Answers

1. Why are roofs being repaired/replaced?

The TDSB repairs or replaces roofs to help ensure a safe work and learning environment for our staff and students.

2. Why are you doing it during the school year?

During the year, the TDSB works on hundreds of roof projects to help maintain our buildings. Roofing projects need to be done during the day and in good weather. Where possible, we complete as much work as possible outside of school hours or during school breaks. However, due to the volume of roof repairs/replacements and lack of qualified roofing contractors, they cannot be limited to the summer and must be completed year-round. Unlike other school boards in Ontario, the TDSB has a large inventory of aging facilities with roofs beyond their life expectancy. As a result, some roofs require expedited replacement to prevent further water infiltration. 

3. How are the roofs repaired?

These projects involve using low odour hot applied asphalt, primers, foam and/or cold adhesives. The asphalt is heated in roofing kettles which generate odours from fume and vapour emissions. Cold adhesives without the use of roofing kettles having low VOC will be used when feasible.

4. What should I expect during repairs? Should I be concerned?

During the repairs you can expect occasional noise, dust, and moderate odours on projects utilizing low odour asphalt, especially near the kettle where the asphalt is heated, or weak odours on projects utilizing foam and cold adhesives. The effects of roofing asphalt fumes are usually mild and temporary and can include headaches, dizziness and nausea. Symptoms should resolve themselves within hours after exposure to the odour. There are no known long-term health effects.

5. I have breathing problems. Can inhalation of roof asphalt odours aggravate my condition?

Individuals with medical conditions should avoid inhaling roofing asphalt emissions as they may aggravate their condition. Please discuss with your school principal if any accommodations are required.

6. What safety precautions does the TSDB take?

To reduce discomfort during this project, the roofing contractor and TDSB Facility Services staff are required to:

  • Turn off/modify air handling systems during roofing, so that fumes are not drawn into the school.
  • Seal all windows and openings in close proximity to the kettle.
  • Whenever possible, place the asphalt kettle downwind of the school.
  • Turn on the air handling systems when the kettle is off (normally after regular school hours) to provide fresh air into and remove additional particulate from the building. Provide a series of portable air circulation fans and fans equipped with both HEPA and charcoal filters that remove odour and particulates from the air.
  • Vacate space below and provide alternative accommodation for students/staff by the school during disruptive construction activities.