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

Roof Drains that Look Like Potted Plants

No one would argue that roof drains are important.  No one would argue that potted plants are pretty.  But that doesn’t mean roof drains that look like potted plants are a good thing.

weeds in roof drains
It’s been a very rainy Spring and no one would argue that either. Now those weeds are getting a full dose of hot sun. It’s the reason we’re seeing so many roof drains that look like potted plants this year and it’s real problem.

plant growing out of roof drain
Any vegetation growing in a roof drain will make it harder for water to drain, or totally block water from draining.  We all know roof drainage is key in preventing leaks.


But vegetation causes another more serious problem and that’s because of it’s roots.  If you know how fast weeds grow and spread their roots, you know this is something you’d have to act fast on.

roots causing roof damage

We never know how much damage the roots have done until we remove them.

Roots are tough and determined. They will do whatever they have to for water. Even if it means piercing a roof membrane.

Add that pierced membrane and the water build-up caused by the caused drain and you’ve got yourself a leak.

Here are a few more roof drains that look like potted plants.

roof drain vegetain
The Roof Fern

vegetation in roof drain
“Small but Hearty”

clogged roof drain
“The Hanging Basket”

plant clogging roof drain
“Young and Tough”

The Importance of Drain Cleaning and Maintenance

The Importance of Drain Cleaning and Maintenance

Drainage on flat and sloped roofs

All roofs have some kind of drainage system to prevent your roof from holding water and debris which can cause damage and deterioration to the roofs membrane often leading to leaks. On a sloped roof the concept is straight forward, the water runs down hill and the gutters control the direction and flow of the water to downpipes as it leaves the roof system. On flat roofs the system is not as straight forward and can often require more attention. There are different types of drainage systems including scupper, overflow and internal drains for flat roofs. Most flat roofs have an internal drainage system that is placed strategically throughout the roofs surface to allow the water to leave. These drains are connected to pipes that run through the building taking water to the ground.

a roof system that is holding water

Flooded Roof System

Why should you have your drains cleaned?

This time of year with falling leaves landing on your roofs your drains are especially susceptible to getting clogged. Despite what you might read online it is very important that you don’t attempt to unclog roof drains on your own. Snaking a drain without the proper knowledge can dislodge and loosen internal pipes causing leaks and internal damage. Something as simple as removing leaves and debris from around your drains improperly can cause pipes to burst and in turn unimaginable internal damage can occur.  Some things are best left to the professionals!

a clean drain

Debris Removed From A Drain

clogged drain

Debris Blocking A Drain

Whether you have a flat or sloped roof system it is important to have your drains inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. Just as flat roof drains can get clogged, drains in gutter systems and downpipes on sloped roofs can get clogged with debris as well. This can cause your gutter system to hold water which is never a good thing. When gutters hold water and gutter drains are plugged you are no longer able to control the flow and direction of water leaving your roofs system. This will often lead to gutters over flowing and depending on the severity this can cause leaks on sloped roof systems.

debris in gutters

Debris Clogging A Gutter System

How should you prevent roof damage caused by clogged drains?

The best way to prevent clogged roof drains, be it flat or sloped roofs, is to have regular maintenance performed on your roofs. This will included drain cleaning and inspection to make sure that your drains and drain screens are secured and functioning properly. Now that we are into the winter season it is especially important to speak to your roofing contactor to see if you require additional semi annual drain inspection and cleaning, especially after storms with heavy wind or rain. In doing so you will help mitigate the effects of clogged drains and in turn flooded roofs which leads to damage of your roof system.

water ingress at plywood decking

Internal Damage On Plywood

water ingress at leak location

Internal Damage

A Temporary Roof Repair Only Buys Time

Fall is Here

It’s starting…the rain.  Our 24 hour phone line is ringing and we’re dispatching for emergency leaks.  Fall is here.

When we send a crew on a leak call, they investigate the leak and make a temporary roof repair.  It’s unusual that we can fix the problem when it’s raining so we do a temporary repair and schedule a time to come back and fix the problem, so it doesn’t happen again.

Temporary Roof Repairs are Only Temporary

It’s important to understand that temporary roof repairs are just bandaid solutions and there’s no way to guarantee how long they will last.  Always follow through with a proper repair.

Here’s a situation that we sometimes see happen because the temporary repair was left as is and never properly fixed.

failure of a temporary repair

So we put another temporary repair on it.

bandaid over bandaid

If this customer had let us back to fix that temporary repair, they would have saved themselves from having to deal with another leak, the damages from that leak and us coming back to put in another temporary repair.

Get the Drain Replaced

This is what happened when a drain that had a temporary repair wasn’t replaced in time.

New Drain not installed. Leak ensued.

We located the problem drain and found a temporary repair that wasn’t dealt with.  It needed a new drain.

A new drain after a temporary repair on a drain would have been good.

We couldn’t properly install a new drain while it was raining so we put in a temporary repair.  Since the real drain was never installed, another leak happened.

This drain needs to be replaced.

Of course it was raining when the second leak happened so we put in another temporary repair.  We still need to install a new drain.

Watch the Weather Forecast

Temporary roof repairs are just temporary and need to be followed through with a proper repair.  Keep an eye on the weather.  We need a dry day to do a proper fix because the materials we use need to dry and set.  That won’t happen on a rainy day.  We keep a close eye on the weather every day of the year so we know what days we can do permanent repairs, and which days we will be reacting to leaks.

Get it Fixed ASAP

The length of time that a temporary roof repair will hold depends on many many factors, most of them are out of everyone’s control.  There’s just no way to guarantee how many days or weeks it will last.  That’s why it’s important to get it fixed ASAP.


Ponding Water on Flat Roof: What To Do

If you get a leak due to ponding water that’s been on a flat roof for a few months, don’t blame the ponding water – blame the roof.

water ponding on roof


Quality & Maintenance

A quality roof completely seals out water.  As long as it’s maintained, it will stay sealed and won’t leak.

When a roof is built, it’s designed to prevent water from ponding.  Even flat roofs have a slight slope to them.  The guideline is ¼” per foot, minimum.  The roof should be sloped in a way that guides water towards the drains.  As long as the drains are clear, the water won’t pond.


So why would this happen?

ponding water on roof


Over time buildings settle.  This causes the pitch to change, so the water isn’t all getting to the drain.  When this happens, we build a “cricket” and roof it in, to slope the water to the drain.  Even though a building might not have the best quality roof, we can still help maintain it by preventing water from ponding.

Here’s the cricket.

roof cricket to slope roof

We roof it in with a 2-ply SBS membrane and then cover it with a UV protective coating.

Cricket roofed in.

Clogged Drains

Preventing clogged drains comes with regular roof maintenance.

This is a clogged drain.

Clogged roof drain


This is a drain that has been clogged for too long and is causing a lot of ponding water.

Clogged Drain on Roof

As long as someone is checking those drains every six months, the drains should not have water building up around them.

clean drain

It is inevitable that there will be ponding water on flat roof.  This is why we always recommend a quality roof that can handle some ponding water, so damage is not done between maintenance visits.


Things Found Growing in Gutters

We have found many things growing in gutters.

Gutters are Important

They drain water off the roof and funnel it out of the way so it’s not pouring on your tenants when they enter and exit the building when it’s raining. To keep them working, they have to be kept clear of debris and leaves. Even with gutter guards the debris will build up and slow things down.
When gutters aren’t cleaned out regularly we find all kinds of things growing in them.
Leaves don’t take long to build up and clog drain holes.

Leaves can clog the gutter

If left to decompose, all kinds of things can grow in the gutters.

Here are some thing found growing in gutters:

Plants can grow in the gutter

Plants can make gutters look more like planters than gutters.

Plants can grow in the gutter

We’ve seen all kinds of things growing in gutters.

Grass can grow in the gutter

Here’s my personal nightmare: realizing there’s a wasp nest in your gutter.  It happens right here in the lower mainland.

We found a wasp nest in the gutter

Can you believe this went unnoticed?

A tree growing from the gutter corner

Gutters are the forgotten child sometimes.  If left too long you could also end up in this situation.

hoes rusted out in the gutter

We can install gutter guards.  For unique shapes and sizes we can make custom gutters and gutter inserts in our sheet metal shop.

Gutter guard



We make custom gutter guards

Even with gutter guards it’s important to have them checked every couple years.

So our advice is to be sure those gutters are all being cleaned regularly.

Always consider liabilities when you’re getting gutters serviced.




How safe are the workers?

  1. Are they trained in fall protection?
  2. Do they have ladder safety training?
  3. Do they need to use a harness?
  4. Are they aware of power lines and other potential hazards?
  5. Are they trained to deal with dead rodents and birds, sharp objects, insect infestations, all kinds of nests including wasp nests?

Not every company will practice such protocols.  We recommend you check on this and avoid having accidents happen on your property.



Vegetation on the Roof: Roots Can be a Problem

Green Roofs

There are so many great things about a green roof, or having vegetation on the roof. They save money in numerous ways. Insulating the building, preventing water damage, preventing UV damage and providing food. They’re becoming more popular and are an excellent investment. Did you know the Olympic Village has many green roofs on its buildings?
Olympic Village Green Roof: Vegetation on the Roof

Vegetation on the Roof

If you’re getting one installed, you’ll need to know that the very thing that makes it a green roof, the vegetation on the roof, can also cause damage.  Plants start from seeds and seeds get spread around from gardens.  The wind, the bees, the butterflies and birds all help spread the seeds around.  Some end up on the roof membrane and the start growing roots.  It’s so important to have a quality roof membrane so they can’t get in.

This isn’t  just a problem for green roofs.  This can happen to any roof!  We’ve seen roofs that could actually be mistaken for green roofs.

A picture of weeds growing on a roof.

Sometimes it’s a few grassy weeds.


A picture of weeds growing out of the roof.

They grow tall.


A picture of a man standing next to a small tree that is growing on the roof.

Like a shrub.


A picture of vegetation growing on the roof.

Like a bush.

a picture of a small tree growing on the roof.

Like a tree.

They grow even if they weren’t meant to.  It’s a bad sign when vegetation on the roof shows up with its roots in the membrane.  Those roots are trying to find water in any way they can and will draw it down into the membrane.

Prevent Possible Root Damage from Vegetation on the Roof

Uncontrolled vegetation growth on the roof poses serious problems. For example, blackberry bushes have strong root systems which quickly and easily cause damage to the membrane.

Dried grasses and moss pose another safety concern especially in the hot summer months. A simple spark can ignite the dried grass and moss creating a serious risk of fire. Making sure such vegetation is regularly cleared off your roof is essential to proper roof function and safety. Such proactive measures will help extend the life of your roof system.

The Lowest Price: Is It Your Best Choice?

Who doesn’t like to save money? The answer to that is most likely no one, we all want to save money where we can. Certain things like kitchen gadgets, clothing, furniture etc. make sense to save money on and for the most part we do not think twice when we find a price for the same item at a different place that is significantly cheaper. We quickly snag up the item, some of us may even do a little victory dance (usually on the inside) and walk out of the store proud of ourselves.

However, this mentality tends to shift when it comes to much bigger purchases like a car or a house. If there was a huge difference in the price of two identical cars, one would begin to wonder; or should wonder, what is wrong with this cheaper car? Why are they wanting to sell it at such a lower cost? Has it been in many accidents? Are there faulty parts? The same goes for a home. If for some reason two exactly the same homes went up for sale right beside each other but one was $10,000 cheaper would you not wonder what is wrong with that home? Why are the owners willing to sell for less? Is it faulty in some sort of way? Does it have a hidden termite problem? Are there issues with the foundation that they hope you do not find out about after the purchase?

In both of these scenarios, you would end up kicking yourself for choosing the cheaper option to save money at the time of purchase when unforeseen repairs and issues arise shortly after.

A roof is a large investment that is undeniable. But when you put it in perspective, the roof represents approximately 5 – 7 % of capital building costs. However, what it does cover is 100% of the building and everything we choose to put inside. Therefore, when we choose a company to put on a new roof for us, we should be careful of the urge to save money. If you are getting pricing for the exact same roof, a much lower price does not always mean you are getting a deal. If the price is for the exact same roof system, the companies are getting their material from the same places. So one has to wonder where are they cutting the costs? Is there something someone is missing that I will end up paying for after as an “unforeseen” cost? Are they using trained professionals to install this new roof? Or are they just letting regular labourers “figure it out”?

Roofing Tip # 2: Always be wary of saving money on such investments like a roof. While you may at times save money initially, later on the repair costs for improperly installed roof systems add up to much more. Nobody wants a new roof to look like the image below.

Blog 2 Image - Lowest Price Is Not Always Best

Regional Challenges in Roof Maintenance: Vancouver and Surrounding Area

When it comes to the upkeep and proper care of property, whether commercial or industrial, one of the most often overlooked areas is roof maintenance. Vancouver, and most of British Columbia for that matter, have some of the highest annual rainfall totals in all of North America, which means that for residents of this particular stretch of Pacific coastline, the stakes are simply higher when it comes to potential damage resulting from faulty rooftops.

When considering the main risk factors for damage resulting from improper roof maintenance, Vancouver and its surrounding areas consistently appear near the top of the list. Whether it is the mountainous terrain that surrounds the area, causing moist weather fronts to linger, or the unpredictable climate (which ranges from sub-zero to near tropical), there is simply more precipitation and moisture in Vancouver than most cities are forced to deal with. Of course, other factors such as the nesting of birds and animals also contribute greatly to the downfall of many roofs, and the Pacific Canadian coastline is well known for its abundance of wildlife. Simply put, the West coast is a just plain difficult place to ensure proper roof maintenance.

Vancouver may be a difficult place to maintain a rooftop, but these unique conditions have also led to the development of some of the most reputable roofing experts in the business. Some companies, like Port Coquitlam’s Design Roofing, have been managing the West coast weather for the better part of three decades and have developed a simple, biannual maintenance plan that works for nearly every type of property.

The key is thorough upkeep and expert inspection twice each year, preferably in the early spring and late fall, when accumulated damage from winter and summer respectively, are at their peak. By nipping any small problems in the bud, costly repairs and even total replacements can be easily avoided. Looking for the earliest signs of lifting and bubbling beneath the roof’s membrane takes a well-trained eye, but that combined with thorough removal of debris, such as moss and animal’s nests, can easily save hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages and lost property.

As with most things, the key to managing Vancouver’s susceptible climate is proper attention to detail and the willingness to perform preventative maintenance. And when it comes to keeping the roof over your head, minor proactive spending will decrease reactive spending on emergency repairs and extend the service life of your roof.

Source: Flickr's Andrew Ressa

Source: Flickr’s Andrew Ressa

Now is the Time to Schedule Flat Roof Repairs

With spring fast approaching, the time to perform flat roof repairs and maintenance is on the horizon and gaining speed quickly. With the melting of snow and ice comes an abundance of water flow, meaning that any and all perforations in the Lower Mainland’s rooftops will soon be exposed. From mild water damage to structural collapse, the problems caused by an improperly functioning roof run the gamut from slightly annoying all the way to devastating.

When you factor in the increased rainfall that inevitably accompanies warmer weather patterns, the need for proper upkeep on commercial and residential roof tops becomes even more apparent. The unfortunate reality is that most building owners do not factor in flat roof repairs and maintenance until it is too late. By waiting until the first signs of trouble, people let the problem fester, accumulating far more damage than is necessary when compared to the bi-annual maintenance checks (which are recommended by most industry professionals).

In fact, most experts recommend holding a standing appointment with a reputable roofing company not only during the early part of spring each year, but also once in the fall. This approach ensures that melting snow and ice, along with accumulated rainfall, do not cause unnecessary damage in the spring, and that small fractures and permeations are repaired in the fall, before winter moisture has a chance to penetrate the openings. Once this occurs, the water will inevitably freeze and expand, causing a massive increase in the total cost of repairs.

Whether working with a standard rooftop or a flat roof, repairs and maintenance are the key to avoiding long-term issues that can eventually lead to tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars in damages. From lost stock to lost operational hours, there are very few businesses that can afford to sustain the damage incurred by a faulty or damaged roof. As is the case with so many other of life’s problems, ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is a dangerous mentality to take when it comes to rooftop repairs.

Source: Flickr's sean dreilinger

Source: Flickr’s sean dreilinger