Why Spring Roof Assessments Minimize Costs

There’s no doubt about it, cost savings are highest when roof assessments are done promptly in the Spring. Why? Because damage grows over time.

Winter weather causes more damage to roofs than any other season. The freezing and melting of ice, the strong winds and the weight of snow all add up to real stress on the roof, testing each part of the system.

Damage is usually not apparent at first. When Property Managers hear about a roof leak it’s the first sign of a problem. That leak could have started months prior. It also spreads to other areas of the building, creating more headaches.

If you want to prevent reactive spending and early roof replacements, roof maintenance in Spring really is your best option. In this post we will provide the five most common roof problems that we find in Spring, all due to the stress of winter weather.

The Five Most Common Roof Issues Uncovered in Spring

1. Weaknesses at Penetrations

A penetration is anything that is penetrating the roof membrane or the wall, like a vent or chimney. They are by far the most common place where we see leaks happen. If they’re not properly sealed or if there’s any weak points or damages around these penetrations, it is very likely to cause a leak.
We address this by applying a liquid membrane or we make a custom fabricated pitch pocket or gum pan.

2. Blockages at the drains

Drains, technically roof penetration, serve an obviously essential purpose in the roof system.
When drains are blocked, and the free flow of water is not happening as intended, something is bound to go wrong. So much pressure from the weight of the water stresses all weaknesses until that water finds somewhere to go. Ponding water causes granule loss which weakens the membrane and leaves it unprotected from UV rays.

3. Fallen branches and heavy debris

The hazard from heavy debris in a roof is made worse if drains are blocked because the debris soaks up the extra water. It becomes heavier and over time it becomes a breeding ground for all kinds of vegetation and a nice spot for a nest.

Vegetation threatens the roof membrane because the roots puncture it. Pests are also a big risk and will cause damage for sure.

Debris also poses liability risk because it could blow off the roof in heavy winds and if heavy enough, could cause damage.

4. Splits and Cracks in the Roof Membrane

Temperature fluctuates in winter causing water to freeze and thaw repeatedly. As it freezes it expands and pushes on eavestroughs, shingles, flashing, etc. It also causes the roof membrane to become rigid and splits or cracks can form, leading to roof leaks.
Membrane breaks also happen as a result of fallen branches and heavy debris on the roof as mentioned above. Having those membranes patched up before too much time goes by will save the rest of the building from water damage.

5. Ice damming

Ice damming, the icicles that form at the edge of the roof, happens when snow melts and refreezes. it’s actually a result of heat loss and can form in many ways. The presence of ice damming can actually indicate much larger issues that are happening inside a structure including attic mold growth.

Ice damming is a huge liability. When temperatures go above zero, icicles break off and fall. Falling icicles are obviously very dangerous and can be lethal.

Ice dams also cause exterior damage. They wreck eavestroughs by pulling and warping or even bringing them down entirely. They freeze and expand causing them to split and break. They damage shingles and soffits.


Roofs Need Care

The roof protects the whole building so it’s important that it be maintained.  Regular repairs prevent long-term damage that gets worse over time and damages the building’s interior.  The best time to have roofs assessed is in Spring after the harsh effects of winter weather.


Make That Appointment

Is it Spring yet?  If it is, call us and set up a time for an assessment.  Not Spring yet?  Book ahead.  We’ll get you on the schedule for the perfect time.  And anyway, Condo Corps appreciate ample notice. You can also fill out this form and we will get back to you with a time.

The Lookout Housing and Health Society Makes a Difference in the Lower Mainland




The Lookout Society provides housing and a range of support services to adults with low or no income who have few, if any, housing or support options. Because they have challenges in meeting needs and goals,  barriers to accessing their services are minimal. The Lookout Society has 1,750 housing and shelter units in 55 buildings including 23 emergency shelters. They serve thousands more people through programs in 15 municipalities.

This Organization transforms peoples’ lives. They help people with all kinds of issues that have led them to become homeless: issues like poverty, disabilities, mental illness, addiction and social integration issues.

They provide health services and help people gain skills and find employment. Check out their website to find out more.

Giving back to the community is important to us and we’ve been supporting the Lookout Housing and Health Society as they make a big difference in the Lower Mainland.  On January 19th we donated $10,000.

Visual Roof Inspection vs Roof Leak Investigation




A roof leak investigation is much more detailed than a visual roof inspection.  It is important to understand the difference because often a free roof inspection doesn’t examine below the first layer of the roof and doesn’t look for hidden problems.  The result is two very different quotes: one showing obvious and known work and the other includes roof issues that were unknown and hidden.


Free Roof Estimates

Free estimates, roof assessments or visual inspections: these are all one and the same. This is usually a free-of-charge offer and a roof repair quote is included.  Note that any issues found during the roof repair process will have to be quoted separately if they weren’t found during the original inspection.  It is helpful to give the contractor as much information as you have about the roof and what you believe needs to be done.  Maybe you know about existing roof damage or that an area of the roof needs to be replaced.  The contractor will make sure this shows up on the estimate.

What you get: A quote containing work that needs to be done to maintain the roof plus anything you have specifically requested.


Roof Leak Investigation

When there is an obvious roof leak your roofing technician will need to trace that leak to its origin. This investigation is thorough and will uncover the extent of the damage that has occurred.  Often times more than one issue is found because the tech needs to find weaknesses and then confirm that it is the cause of the particular leak. As they investigate a weakness and test it, they could find other leaks and defects that haven’t shown up inside the building but are causing damage to the roof structure.  As a result the quote will be much more comprehensive than a free quote would be.

What you get: A quote containing work that needs to be done to repair parts of the roof that are failing.



Which Type Should You Use?

The service you choose depends on the situation.  The no-charge roof assessment is part of an on-going roof maintenance program.  Usually the review is done yearly and the purpose is to give you an idea of how much work needs to be done to keep the roof in good shape.  The technician uses a checklist and looks for specific wear and tear like rusting and failed sealant.  If you have been keeping the roof maintained and have the information about work that has been done previously and there haven’t been any damage or leaks, this is an appropriate option.


When there has been damage or if ingress is occurring a formal investigation needs to be done to determine all the steps that will be required to fix it.  It’s also important to have as much documentation as possible when there is a roof leak for insurance purposes and for the on-going health of the building.  A leak investigation report comes with photos of each step of the investigation and the subsequent repairs.


Inverted Roofs

Inverted roofs are a special case because the roof membrane is underneath the insulation.  Since the membrane is a waterproofing layer, defects won’t be found without an investigation.  You cannot tell by visual inspection if there is a problem with that membrane.  Inverted roofs are popular in the GTA and are also referred to as protected roofs. If you are managing a building with an inverted roof beware of contractors who tell you that a free visual inspection is going to produce a realistic quote.


Leak Investigation Process

Here is a typical process for a leak investigation.  You will notice that a visual inspection would not turn up the defects that are found here.

  1. Interior Inspection – Assess the reported leak area. Measure interior space to trace to roof surface.
  2. Cut drywall or lift tile to determine if further indication of water ingress is present behind ceiling (if possible).
  3. Inspect space between leak area and roof (if present) – Attic, crawlspace, mechanical room, etc.
  4. Trace out investigation area on roof surface based on interior measurements.
  5. Inspect membrane and surrounding items above leak area for defects (membrane to be exposed on inverted roof).
  6. Perform cut tests. Determine make-up of roof system and if there is presence of moisture under membrane.
  7. Apply compatible temporary or small repairs.
  8. Reassemble the roof system (gravel ballast, paving stones, deck boards, etc).
  9. Provide project summary report with further recommendations.


This is Why We See So Many Roof Leaks in Fall





So Many Roof Leaks

During the first few rainy days of Fall we get a lot of calls from our customers about roof leaks because it hasn’t rained in a while.

Those roofs have been quietly protecting buildings and not getting enough rain to actually expose any damage.  It’s like pent-up demand.  Damage  goes unnoticed in summer if no one checks the roof. This is why so many roofs are vulnerable to damage in those first rain dumps in the Fall.


Early Fall is a great time to have roofs assessed because vulnerabilities that exist won’t be able to stand up to the harsh weather ahead.  Roofs can be brittle after a hot summer due to UV ray damage to the roof membrane. Keeping the roof strong is your first line of defense.


Here are the Top 6 Reasons a Roof Leaks

1. Improper Drainage

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.

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

Flashing is used to protect areas of the roof where major parts join, like the roof edge, large vents, chimneys, 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, the same rule applies. Weather causes degranulation.  It’s important to monitor that protective layer and ensure shingles are in good condition.

Broken shingles need to be replaced to keep the roof membrane covered and protected.  Water will seep under the shingle and rot the wood. You can see how the membrane is directly exposed in this example.


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. 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.

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



Decks Need Strength




Two Purposes: Roof and Deck

Roofing GTA
Decks are part of the roof because they protect the area below them.  They are designed to function as a roof with extra capacity for human traffic and all the heavy things that get piled on them.  So really, the deck provides two functions: a roof and an outdoor space for people. That is why they need so much strength.

Leak from a Deck

Earlier this year we attended a leak into a resident’s living room. There were buckets on the floor catching the drips which were coming down with increasing speed from the ceiling.  It appeared that water had accumulated above the ceiling for quite a while and caused the wood above to swell.


It took time for the ceiling to actually start ripping and peeling back.  This was not a fresh leak. We opened up the ceiling and found saturated decking above that was actively leaking onto the ceiling.

Water Entry Point

We went to the roof and found the source of the leak on the deck above.  It wasn’t easy to find.  We had to pull back a layer of pavers  and disassemble the roofing system to get to the membrane. Once there we found a small tear. The concrete underneath it was soaked.  It must have gone unnoticed for months.

Why Membrane Quality Matters

There are many types of roof membranes available to builders.  Often a single-ply membranes are used to save money. Trouble is, single-ply is not durable enough handle the furniture, barbecues, planters, pavers and people that occupy the deck. Single-ply membranes, or worse, vinyl, tear or get holes.  It only takes a small hole, which is difficult to notice without testing, to cause a terrible roof leak.

We recently investigated leaks from several units in the same building. As you can see from this photo, a dropped key was enough to puncture the “protective” membrane and allow water ingress to damage the building structure and unit contents.  Sadly that was not the only puncture on this deck.

Residents want to enjoy their deck as much as possible.  Whether entertaining, lounging in the sun or gardening: People  want to get as much use out of the deck as possible and they place heavy things on it.  Barbecues, planters and furniture that is built to withstand windy days and harsh weather: all heavy items that get lots of use.


Drainage, sloping and waterproofing are vitally important to a deck because it also functions as a roof.  As we always say:  regular roof maintenance is the best way to keep all parts of the roof in the best shape possible including the decks.

What Will You Say When the Critters Move In?



Critters, like raccoons, squirrels, and birds, become unwanted tenants in the Spring.  They look for a place to nest and then they build a home for their families.  This can happen on the roof of any building – unless it’s protected. This is where Spring Roof Maintenance comes in.  Not only does maintenance protect buildings from pests, it prevents clogged drains and gutters, vegetation on the roof, general roof degradation and as a result: roof leaks.


Deterring Pests on the Roof

Birds are a major nuisance to roofs. Their nests cause damage and their droppings even more damage.  Check this article about birds.


Last year on a routine Spring maintenance job we cleaned up bird droppings.  But that wasn’t the end of that job.  We noticed some rust and an opening in the soffit above.



Guess what was hiding behind the soffit?  A bird nest.  Luckily there weren’t any eggs in the nest and we were able to remove it. This could have been prevented.



The good news is there are ethical bird deterrents that can be set up to prevent all of this.


Clogged Drains and Gutters


Debris has built up over the Fall and Winter.  As water heads to drains and gutters it carries  that debris with it.  What happens next is obvious, the debris begins to clog the drainage and the water backs up.  This clump of mud never dries and it becomes a great place for weeds to grow.  If left unchecked, the weeds grow and their roots puncture the roof membrane.


Schedule Roof Maintenance

Now is the time to have roofs maintenance done.  Roofs are checked for weaknesses and damage as well as maintenance that should be done like renewing caulking, removing debris, covering rust, replacing damaged shingles and more.


Roof Maintenance

Rusted Hatch Before


Painted Hatch

Hatch After


Design Roofing Maintenance

Lifted Vent Before


Vent on Roof

Vent After


Roof Maintenance Moss

Moss on Shingles Before


Shingles with moss

Moss Removed

Design Roofing Donates $10,000 to SHARE Family & Community Services




Responding to an Urgent Need

Design Roofing donated $10,000 to SHARE Family & Community Services because we wanted to help the community in the most efficient way possible.  Kimberly Wallace, VP at Design Roofing, noticed there were reports on the news about food banks being in urgent need of donations. Since our company provides a service that is essential and we are remaining open, she wanted to help those in our community who aren’t as lucky and may be losing wages due to COVID-19.

The great thing about SHARE is that it’s local and it provides community resources beyond just the food bank, like child like development and housing programs.

Donating Money Instead of Food

For every $1.00 donated the food bank can get $3.00 worth of food. This means SHARE can get about $30,000 worth of food for our community.  That’s a lot of food.

If businesses do what they can to help people during this uncertain time it will make recovery so much easier when this is finally past us. We hope that the donated money will help as many people in the Tri-Cities as possible whether it’s through food or support services since we know that demand on SHARE will be higher now.

Employees are Proud

Our employees do take a lot of Pride in the work that our company does to give back to our community. Everyone needs to do as much as they can right now to enable people to follow the guidelines from our health authorities to keep our community as safe as possible. It is a critical time for everybody all over the world and if everyone who can pitch in does, we will get through this so much faster and be so much stronger for it.

A Message from Design Roofing on COVID-19



Safety has always come first at Design Roofing and we are paying close attention to the current public health situation related to COVID-19. Design Roofing is open and operating for all services: repairs, maintenance and roof replacements. To ensure your tenant’s health and safety, as well as our employee’s and their families, I want to assure you that we have implemented the following measures:


  • All Roofing Technicians have been given gloves and respirators to use at their discretion.
  • Each truck is equipped with extra sanitizing material including alcohol-based hand rubs to use frequently.
  • All employees are practicing prevention measures as set out by BCCDC.
  • Employees are staying home if they are ill or meet any self-quarantine criteria.
  • We are minimizing interior access whenever possible.
  • If in-suite service is required, our scheduling team will be asking questions to the tenants:
  • Have you been sick?
  • Have you or anyone in your household been out of the country?
  • Have you been around anyone with symptoms?

Please understand that we may not be able to attend in-suite if technicians could be at risk.


While working outside, our technicians are able to keep a safe distance of 6′ to anyone and we are confident that there is no need to hold off on roof work at this time. Please do not hesitate to contact us for any reason.

Design Roofing Raises Funds for Our Wish Kids

How it Started

It was at a charity golf tournament in 2017 when Design Roofing’s Vice President Kimberly Wallace caught on to the magic happening at Children’s Wish Foundation. After hearing about a local teen’s wish to Disney World, Wallace stood up and urged the other golfers in attendance to match her on-the-spot $500 donation. Her passion for granting wishes and engaging her family’s commercial roofing business in philanthropy has only grown since.


Flash forward two years

Kimberly is now a board member on the Children’s Wish BC & Yukon Chapter Advisory Board. She proudly donated $51,815 this year, getting all employees at her company involved in the fundraising Design Roofing registered a team for Children’s Wish’s 2019 TIMBER MART Heroes Challenge event and raised the funds over the summer to grant 11-year-old Muskaan’s wish.  Their entire team turned their Port Coquitlam headquarters into festival grounds on Aug. 23 for their Make a Splash fundraiser, featuring axe throwing, a dunk tank, carnival games, bouncy slides, and other activities all going toward their fundraising goal.

In 2018 the company raised over $17,000 during several months of grassroots events – through pub nights, barbeques, and social media. Paired with seven-year-old Macken Leung, who lives with a severe seizure disorder, Design Roofing instantly bonded with the family and raised enough money for Macken and his family to go on his dream trip to Disney World.

Employees Get Involved

While many companies simply write a cheque from their social responsibility budget, Design Roofing believes employees should directly experience the value and reward that comes from getting involved with a charity.

“I looked into a lot of different charities and settled on Children’s Wish for Design Roofing to stand behind,” says Wallace. “They are very transparent with the fundraising and where the money goes. I really like that they can say ‘$10,000 a wish’,” she adds, referencing the average cost of a wish in B.C.

“In the past, we have supported large international foundations and they are all great causes, but I never knew where my money was going, and I didn’t feel like I was making a difference. With Children’s Wish, we meet the child, and see pictures of them and their family. The best part is to see the happiness the wish brought. Everyone at Design Roofing is able to fully understand how important the work they did was.”

Quote from Children’s Wish:

“Design Roofing is one of our most passionate and enthusiastic corporate sponsors. They have jumped into the world of Children’s Wish with both feet and never see a challenge too large – both in business and in their philanthropy. Their dedication is a testament to what a small family business can accomplish. The Port Coquitlam business community should look at Design Roofing as an example of how to engage employees in corporate giving.”

  • Hannah Smith, Provincial Director, Children’s Wish BC & Yukon Chapter

About Children’s Wish:

In a milestone moment, Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada and Make-A-Wish® Canada have joined forces, with the goal of granting the wish of every eligible child across the country. United as Make-A-Wish® Canada, our mission is to provide children with life-threatening illnesses the opportunity to realize their most heartfelt wish, giving them the strength to endure their treatments and build resilience. To learn more, visit www.thepowerofonewish.ca.

Together, we will grant over 2600 wishes annually by year 5 of the combined organization. With up to 6,000 children in Canada facing a critical illness and complex medical needs each year, this is an important step toward our goal of ensuring every eligible wish is granted.

You can help grant the next single most heartfelt wish. Visit www.childrenswish.ca or www.makeawish.ca for more information and to donate.

On August 23, 2019 we put on a fundraiser at our location in Port Coquitlam. It was a great success and everyone had a fantastic time.
The children we sponsored this year both love the outdoors and playing in the water. So we decided our theme for this year would be sharks!


The “Make a Splash” Fundraiser at Design Roofing

Our Mascot is SuperFinn

This was SuperFinn’s first appearance!



A big hit with the little ones.


The real Finn was not to be outdone though.


Kids Activities

There were lots of activities to keep the kids entertained including two bouncy castles.

Fun For All

Have you tried axe throwing?

It’s not as easy as it looks…lots of fun though.
And of course the dunk tank.


Would you dunk your boss?


Post-Summer Roof Leaks: We’re Bracing Ourselves, Are You?

Fall storms roof leaks

We have had a few leak calls in the past week because of rain.  But that’s nothing compared to what’s around the corner…

Insurance damage roof replacement

The First Fall Storm

Stratas often under-estimate the damage the sun has done to their roof.  Summer time is dry so roof vulnerabilities go unnoticed.  We are bracing ourselves because we know from over 30 years of experience that when the first storm of fall hits our phones ring all day and night.  Roof leaks are always bad after a dry, hot summer. The first fall storm is when all the roof vulnerabilities show.

roofer needs to fix

UV Rays Break Down Roof Membranes

Day after day of sun is hard on a roof.  They have layers of protection, but those layers break down over time.  Roofs that may already have issues get worse.  Roof cracks form, caulking dries and wears down, granules dry out and don’t stick as well, making them easier to get displaced.

Clogged Drain on Roof

Timing is Important

Get an assessment before the storms come. We recommend roof maintenance at this particular time of year to strengthen and protect roofs from the harsh weather that’s coming.  Getting the roof repair done after the storm will cost more than the maintenance that prevents it.  For example, renewing caulking on a vent is much easier and quicker to do than making a repair after a leak, which would also cause water damage to both the building and its contents.

Are your roofs ready for fall storms?