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A Short History of Flat Roofs in Montreal

Black and white image of the building

Looking down from an airplane, you can see that many buildings in the city of Montreal have flat roofs or very low slope roofs. Why is this so? At Couvreurs DM, we specialize in flat roofs everywhere from Lasalle to St-Léonard, from Old Montreal to Ville St-Laurent and elsewhere in Montreal and the West Island. In this article, we reveal how this is actually a big part of the history of Montreal. Once you read this, you'll probably never see roofs the same way again!

Since When Have There Been Flat Roofs in Montreal? The first flat roofs appeared in 1875, during the Industrial Revolution. Housing construction was booming as thousands of workers had to be accommodated quickly. At the time, duplex dwellings were built in rows, with simple brick or stone facades. Inspired by the industrial constructions of England’s cities, the buildings had flat roofs made of felt, asphalt, gravel and tar. A few years later, around 1890, flat-roofed triplexes, longer than they were wide, became more popular. Even today, traces of this working-class era can be found throughout Montreal, especially in the Saint-Henri and Centre-Sud neighbourhoods. Why Are There So Many Flat Roofs in Montreal? More than a practical or aesthetic solution, the reason for building flat roofs during the Industrial Revolution was … public safety! Indeed, the predominantly sloping French-inspired (attic or gable) roofs were dangerous in winter, especially in densely populated areas. Sheets of ice or snow could slide off these angular roofs at any moment in time and hurt (or even kill) passers-by. In short, flat roofs were a way to avoid disasters during the cold season back then – and still are today! Almost 144 years later, flat roofs are still a main feature of the city, and many of them have been worked on by Couvreurs DM! Couvreurs DM: Your Flat Roof Experts in the Greater Montreal Region For more than 20 years, we have specialized in the installation, repair and maintenance of flat roofs for all sectors (industrial, commercial and residential). Our qualified technicians travel throughout the Greater Montreal Area (LaSalle, Saint-Léonard, Westmount, Plateau Mont-Royal, Rosemont – La Petite-Patrie, Saint-Laurent, etc.) to offer you services that meet your highest expectations: Contact us for a free estimate!


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