There Are Rules About Bird Nests on Roofs

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Removing Bird Nests

If birds are a problem at any of your properties you should know that precautions must be taken if there are nests.  According to the BC Ministry of Environmental Stewardship, if a nest is occupied by a bird or its eggs, it is not allowed to be removed or destroyed.

Nests are Usually Hidden

Birds are experts at hiding their nests on roofs.


Birds cannot be occupying a nest when it is removed

They may or may not be occupied.

Nests hidden in the roof

These nests were found up here.

More than a Nuisance

They cause fires, flooding and carbon monoxide poisoning.  When they nest in gutters create a dam, letting water pool, leading to leaks and damage. Nests are highly flammable and if they’re situated near electrical wires or machinery they can easily spread a fire. Vents and chimneys can be blocked by nests leading to carbon monoxide build up.

Remember the Skytrain Fire that shutdown the Expo Line?

That was because a bird nest caught on fire and incinerated a metre of cable.

Nests Can Be Prevented

We offer services to protect your roofs from birds nesting.

Bird Solutions:

  • Bird Spike Installation
  • Anti-Bird Flashing
  • Bird Netting
  • Bird Shock Electric Track
  • Bird Spiders
  • Protective Membrane Installation (to strengthen areas damaged by birds)

Read more in our post about birds from last year.

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Top 6 Reasons a Roof Leaks

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Roofs will leak for several reasons.  The most common reasons are improper drainage, damaged flashing, granule loss (the top protective layer), damage to the roof membrane, and ventilation issues.

The wear-and-tear caused by weather in every season will affect every roof on every building and the only thing you can do to lessen it is preventative maintenance.  Keep the roof strong because it’s your first line of defense; It covers the whole building. Fall storms with flying debris, snow and ice in winter, heavy rains in spring, hot sun and strong UV rays in summer – all of these are forces you cannot control and they all damage your roof.

Here are the 6 most common roof leak causes that you can control:

1. Improper Drainage

backed up gutter
Gutter Back-Ups

This is an obvious one because it is easy to see the signs of gutter problems.  Is it draining?  Is it on tight or coming loose?  There are a number of things that could be blocking gutter drainage such as ice, leaves, growing weeds, dirt, etc.  Gutters should be checked at least twice a year. The pressure of the built up water will cause a leak at the weakest area around it.

leads to water build up on roof
Clogged Drains

Drains get clogged easily because the water flowing to them brings debris.  The drain screen you see here keeps the water flowing despite the leaves.   However, in time, the build up of debris will clog the drain.  Regular maintenance is the only answer.

2. Damaged Flashing

Damaged flashing

Flashing is used to protect areas of the roof where major parts join, like the roof edge, large vents, chimnies, HVAC units, etc. It diverts water away from the areas where water is most likely to get in.  There are a variety of materials used to make the flashing from metal to liquid membranes.  This example shows damaged metal flashing.

3. Granule Loss and Damaged Shingles

Direct UV rays damage the roof membrane; Granules are used to protect it.  Shingles are coated with granules.  Flat roofs typically have a layer of granules though sometimes stones and other materials are used and the same rule applies. Weather causes degranulation.  It’s important to monitor that protective layer and ensure shingles are in good condition.


If there’s moisture there could be moss issues. Moss retains water in the roof system leading to granule loss and deterioration of the roof system. It can be removed and treated but over time it will start growing back.

november 25, 2015 93505 am pst-resized-320

Broken shingles need to be replaced to keep the roof membrane covered and protected.  Water will seep under the shingle and rot the wood and lead to a leak.


You can see how the membrane is directly exposed in this example.

roof membrane weakens
This is a worn down membrane on a flat roof that hasn’t been properly protected.

4. Deterioration of Roof Membrane

There are many types of roof membranes and all of them experience some kind of wear. If you are getting a roof replacement, avoid cheap roof membranes that claim to cost less.  In the long run, that cheap roof membrane material will cost you more.

roof membrane has holes
Seams can open, membranes can be punctured, they can blister and crack and over time deteriorate.

5. Vents and other Roof Penetrations

There are several types of vents: doghouse, whirlybird, flat, chimney, plumbing, etc.  Other penetrations are skylights, hatches, HVAC units, and more.

Roof vents need to be sealed
All of these need to be thoroughly sealed.  Sealants wear down over time and that leads to water ingress.  They can also rust which leads to holes, another big cause of leaks.  All penetrations need to be looked at regularly to prevent leaks.  In this example there is actually no caulking at this doghouse penetration.

6. Poor Ventilation

Condensation is how a roof can break down from the inside.  The roofing system needs to breath so air can circulate and stay dry.  If the ventilation system is not adequate or gets plugged up it will lead to condensation which will lead to mold growth and rot and water will find it’s way in and make the situation worse.  When that gives way you not only have a leak to deal with but mold and the health issues and high costs of replacing damaged structures.

mold grows if soffits don't work

attic condensation

The attic and soffit vents are important parts of ventilation and need to be maintained.

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Leak Investigations

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When a tenant spots an obvious leak you have an emergency on your hands.  That leak could be something that built up over time and has finally come through, or it could be something sudden that had a clear cause.  Whatever the situation is, you know you need a technician in as soon as possible to do a leak investigation.

So what really happens when a technician shows up?

We perform an investigation by finding the leak and taking steps to trace it back to the source.  It depends on where it is, sometimes we have to look into attics or rafters, around windows and soffits. Lights, skylights and vents are also places our technicians look for water ingress.

roof leak repair

Here a tenant spotted a leak and put down a bucket with some tarp.  We were alerted.

Leak Area on Deck

We started the leak investigation by looking at the deck directly above the leak.

removed bricks above leak

We lifted the bricks and insulation and stacked them to the side so we could inspect the membrane underneath.

Plugged drain repair leak

We discovered a plugged drain and some ponding water.

Disposed of debris causing plug

The drain was plugged with debris so we removed that and relieved the ponding water.

roof membrane hole

We discovered a small penetration in the membrane.

deterioration of roof membrane

While there we found the membrane was deteriorating.

Applied water cut off mastic

We cleaned and prepared the membrane and  applied water-cut-off mastic to temporarily seal penetrations and deteriorated membrane found on the deck.

roof membrane failure

Upon further investigation we discovered the corner membrane had failed.

Used water-cut-off mastic

We applied water-cut-off mastic to temporarily seal the failed membrane in the corner of the deck.

SBS base shee to protect

We installed an SBS base sheet as an additional protective layer.

In this leak investigation there were a few reasons for the leak.  There was a small hole in the roof membrane and the drain was plugged.  The plugged drain caused water to pool, which found it’s way to that hole.  The other issues we discovered while there would have led to more leaks.  These temporary repairs need to be followed up with permanent repairs.

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Five Consequences of Roof Leaks

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The consequences of roof leaks can really eat into your bottom line.  The longer the leak is active, the more damage is done.  So on top of the repair costs you also have to consider:

  1. The hazards it created by roof leaks.
  2. The cost to replace damaged assets.
  3. The cost to repair structural damage.
  4. The cost of housing occupants if necessary or the lost productivity.
  5. The side-effect of unhappy tenants, workers, customers.  This could affect your reputation.

leaks cause slips


  • Slip and fall hazards simply by having water dripping onto the floor
  • Fire hazards if the leak affects any electrical wiring
  • Weak structure that could cave in and potentially hurt someone

Damaged Assets

Roof leaks cause water damage to:

  • Attic, ceiling, lights and fans
  • Walls, floors, furniture
  • Computers, appliances, inventory

Roof leaks cause mold and mildew growth:

  • Building structure get weakened by mold and mildew
  • Health of tenants / employees can be affected
  • Can spread through HVAC systems making the damage even worse
  • Plants itself in carpets, furniture, and clothing making it more difficult and more expensive to get rid of

Structural Damage

  • Building frame weakens and rots
  • Drywall saturates and deteriorates

Residents / Employees

  • A roof leak can cause so much damage that tenants are unable to function in their unit and have to be put up in a hotel.
  • If it’s a facility you could have production down time.

Your Reputation

  • A roof leak that isn’t fixed right away becomes frustrating very quickly.
  • When people are frustrated and cannot control the situation they usually look to blame someone.
  • If you’re the manager, you or your company could be at risk of losing credibility.


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A Career in Roofing

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A Realistic Career Path

sunny day workingSome of our best foremen hadn’t even thought a career in roofing was going to be their path. The truth is, some of them didn’t have any future vision when they applied for a Labourer position at Design Roofing. We were lucky they did and we hired them because they had a great attitude and they fit perfectly into our company culture.

We provide training in-house and we put our Apprentices through the Industry Training Authority (ITA) Roofing program. When they complete the program they become red seal certified. Someone with no skills could start working at Design Roofing as a general labourer. They would then start formal training and become an apprentice and eventually a foreman, earning a good living that can take them through their future and help them reach their life goals and dreams. That gives a lot of hope to people who are lost or unsure about their future.

It’s About Attitude

People under-estimate the importance of attitude. There’s no measure, qualification, certification or test that proves it. It’s something we try our best to recognize.

So what is the definition of a great attitude? It depends who you ask. We look for people who are willing to help, willing to learn, are very precise, and who feel accountable for their work and want to be proud of it. Our best employees are the ones who want their co-workers to succeed and want the company to succeed. That’s our magic formula, and you need it to fit in. Every company has a different one.

We survey all of our employees every 12 – 18 months. The survey is anonymous and it takes under two minutes to complete. We find out how connected they are feeling to the organization and how positive they are about working with us. We have an idea box where employees can submit with their name attached or anonymously. We share customer feedback with all of our employees and make a point of recognizing great work.

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