Scheduling a Roof Replacement

Don’t wait to schedule a roof replacement. Demand is high, timing is important and residents appreciate advanced notice.

Increasing Demand

Aerial view of a big construction site at a mall with skytrain and appartment buildings in the vicinity. Taken in Burnaby, Vancouver City, British Columbia, Canada.@0.5x

  • New construction in the lower mainland is strong and our crews are being kept busy building new roofs.
  • Buildings constructed in the 90’s are scheduling their roof replaced now (if they haven’t already).
  • Demand increases in the Fall due to a pre-winter panic that plagues indecisive stratas.

Summer Month are Ideal

Working Outside
In this neck of the woods, we make every sunny day count. The best time to get a replacement done is when days are long and relatively dry.

  • More hours of sunlight means more productive hours.
  • Avoiding rain days reduces schedule changes.
  • Suppliers are stocked and ready with supplies and materials.

Less Complaints

Condo CorpResident
Giving residents as much notice as possible reduces stress and complaints.

  • Residents can avoid planning activities that would be inconvenient, like having guests stay, planning a staycation, home renovations, etc.
  • Residents may plan to be away during that time.

Right and Wrong: Two Roofs in a Parallel Universe

Two Roofs, Different Outcomes

Some movies use time travel to show how one decision leads to a different outcome in a parallel universe.
Books tell tales of characters choosing one of two possible routes and describe both outcomes. Hey even in school we could read “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. The technique is classic and we’re using it here to show how one choice – act fast or wait – can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. We’re here to talk about roofs – two roofs that were in the same situation that had very different outcomes.

Roof One

roof needs to be redone
In this case, the strata had their roof replaced seven years prior by a low-bid roofer. The material used for the roof was inexpensive and the work was done incorrectly.

roof leak
This client called us to investigate a leak in one of the units. We discovered the drywall was damp and investigated further. It didn’t take long to see what was happening.

saturated roof fibreboard
Due to incorrect vent and ducting installation, the fiberboard became saturated with water. We provided a quote to install breather vents to dry the roof without having to replace it.

The strata chose not to treat it as an emergency and it took a number of weeks for them to review the quote and make a decision. In that time the roof rotted and became unsalvageable. The difference between getting repairs done immediately and waiting four weeks will cost that strata almost $300k. And just think about that: that strata had just paid for a new roof seven years prior. This is going to hit them where it hurts.

Roof Two

water was found under the roof membrane
During a leak investigation we discovered water in the roof deck in 20 places. This was due to previous vent installations that were done incorrectly by a low-bid roofer.

water on roof vacuumed
We vacuumed the water and repaired the defected vents that were causing the water ingress.

breather vents
In this situation we were able to save the roof by installing breather vents. These vents are pulling moisture up out of the roof, drying it out, so the entire roof doesn’t have to be replaced.

It’s pretty obvious who made the right choice.  As a property manager, these choices can seem out of your control when a strata insists on putting off something that really is an emergency.

It’s also worth noting another lesson we can take from this story. In both cases, a low bid was chosen and the work done caused damage. Roof Two still had to pay around $40k for those breather vents. It’s not as expensive as having to get a roof replacement but if you add that to the original bill they paid the low-bidding roofer who incorrectly installed their roof vents, you’ll see the lowest bid is not the lowest cost.

Please share this story with your stratas and encourage them to embrace emergency decision making.

When It’s Time For a New Roof

How do you know when your roof needs to be replaced?

Every type of roof system has a different life expectancy which gives you a general idea of how long your roof should last for and when it should be replace. The life expectancy of a new roof is impacted by a few different key facts, the first factor being the quality of the installation. The higher the quality of the installation the greater the chance that your roof system will reach its full life expectancy. This means that every type of new roof system should be installed to the product manufacture specification as well as to the specification of your designated roofing association such as the RCABC.

The second factor is the weather, which has a huge impact of the life expectancy and break down of your roof system. All roof systems require some form of UV protection from the sun which you can find in the form of a ballast on an inverted roof, or granules on shingles or a flat 2 ply SBS roof system. On the opposite end of the spectrum the water that lands on your roof system also greatly affects its life expectancy be it rain, or snow. In conjunction, the UV rays and water work against each other to accelerate the deterioration of your roof system. The UV rays cause the roof system to become brittle and loose its elasticity. This combined with the wet and cold will affect the roofs membrane and it ability to expand and contract as required causing cracks, split seams and other membrane defects. This is especially prevalent in flat roof membrane systems. This deterioration often leads to leaks.

The third factor and best way to combat these affects is to have regular roof repairs and maintenance performed on your roof to help maintain it life expectancy by repairing any defects before damage may occur. If you do not have regular maintenance performed on your roof it will not reach half of its life expectancy. Having regular repairs and maintenance performed on your roof will keep the overall repair cost down while helping to ensure that the roof system reaches it maximum potential, saving you money in the long run. Allowing damage or defects to occur without repair can cause major interior repairs and compromise the structure of the building.

Roof Leak Damage

Internal Damage

New Roof VS Repairs?

When determining if you should continue to repair your roof or if it should be replace it is important to consider all factors. The cost of repair, the cost of the roof replacement and the life expectancy of the existing system. Although a roof replacement may seem to be more expensive compared to costs of repairing the critical damage it may in fact be more cost effective and beneficial over time. You must determine if the cost of repairs to the roof and interior of your building will out weigh the cost of the roof replacement. There is a point where a new roof is more cost effective in the future as long as it was a quality installation and that maintenance is performed on a regular basis.

If your roof is leaking or you have to do large membrane repairs on a regular basis it is time to consider a re-roof. If you are unsure of what to look for your qualified roofing contractor is the best place to start. They will be able to tell you what the remaining life expectancy of your roof is and if you should continue to repair your roof or if you are better off having it replaced.

New Roof

Roof Replacement