Commercial, Mixed-Use and Strata Roof Maintenance in Vancouver, B.C.

3 Types Of Roofing Drains Every Property Owner Needs To Be Aware Of.

3 Types Of Roofing Drains Every Property Owner Needs To Be Aware Of:

Often our roofing teams receive calls from distressed roof owners. Who is experiencing water ponding, leaks, moisture, condensation clogged drains or a number of these problems? All these issues sprout from one common cause, clogged drains.

Having a functioning roofing drains and drainage system on your roof is paramount to avoid a series of roofing problems.

There are three main types of roofing drains; Internal drains, Scuppers and Gutters.

However, to pick the right drainage system for your roof you need to know the basics of each type. In this article, we will see the need for a drainage system and which type is best for which type of roof.

What Are Roof Drains?

A roof drain is a cast iron grate that is used to help rainwater, snow and other debris move off the roof’s surface. In simple words, it is a piping system that helps the water go down the drain.

In a roof drainage or roofing drains system, rainwater and melted snow travel through the drains that are placed of water are collected. This water travels down through a gutter system and makes its way to the downspout into the ground.

While installing downspouts, ensure that they carry the water further away from the house. It can be damaging if the water remains in the boundary of the house.

Also, the gutters are usually a part of the drainage system and are installed along the borders of the roof.

While installing roof drains, the slope of the roof needs to be considered. Moreover, these drains need to be cleaned from time to time, so that they don’t get blocked by debris or ice dams.

What Is The Need for Roof Drains?

Every type of roof is prone to water ponding. Especially, if you have a flat roof, there is no escape from rainwater, snow or other dirt. When these things accumulate on the roof they may cause problems, which could be significantly reduced by installing drains.

Below are several reasons why you should install a proper drainage system.


Gathered water can over time cause leaks. These leaks may seem small, which gradually lead to the breakage of your roof. Proper roof drains prevent leaks by letting the water flow off the roof.


Moisture leads to molds and other fungi. Molds especially the black variety are dangerous for not only your roof but also your health.

It eventually finds its way to your furniture and clothing, causing respiratory disorders. Proper drainage systems and ventilation help in avoiding the growth of these molds.

Types of Roofing Drains:

While installing roof drains on your roof several things need to be considered like durability, materials used, pros and cons etc. Here are three types of roof drains you can choose from:

Internal Drains.

The most common solution for water management on flat roofs is inner drains. This type of drainage system includes drainage pipes that are installed under the roof. This drainage system is the most aesthetic one since the pipes are not visible to the naked eye.

Also, they are covered with a strainer to prevent any debris from entering these pipes. This helps to avoid clogging, allowing a smooth downpour of water.

Internal drains are the best option out there. Especially if you have a large and flat roof where water frequently gets collected in the center.

However, its installation and maintenance cost is something that needs to be considered before its installation. As this type of roof drain requires constant inspection, to make sure the pipes remain unclogged. Else it can damage not only the drainage tube but the parallel walls as well.

Best for: Flat roofs or low sloped roofs.


Scuppers are the most effective roof drains. This type of drainage system has small holes at the edge of the roof to drain water.

Scuppers can be paired with collectors that direct the flow of water away from the walls. Also, downspouts should be kept precisely below the scupper opening. This will make the water drain away quickly without any damage to walls or other parts of the house.

Scuppers are less expensive compared to inner drains and hence, more cost-effective and affordable. Having large-width scuppers add to the smooth flow of water and makes it harder to clog.

However, if you have a small roof that can’t fit wide scuppers, having a narrow one is sufficient too. But, maintaining narrow ones can be difficult as they may clog easily. So, it needs constant inspection.

Best for: Flat, low sloped, asphalt roofs.

Gutter System.

The gutter system is a bunch of conductor pipes placed on the roofline that direct the water away from your roof.

When water puddles on your roof, it flows through these gutter pipes to the downspout. Then these downspouts further carry it away from the house.

These gutter systems are cheap and very convenient as well. Its durability depends on the type of material you use. Materials like aluminum and galvanized steel are commonly used. While sturdy plastic may last a couple of years too with proper maintenance.

While installing the gutter, make sure the downspouts extend further from your building’s foundation. Pooling of water in the vicinity of your building can lead to problems like soil erosion and basement flooding.

The gutter system is a good choice though it needs regular inspection to avoid clogging.

Best For: Tiled, Shingled, Metal, Sloped roofs.


I hope this article gave you a detailed idea about roofing drains. Depending upon your roofing system you can pick your drains. However, if you have any further questions you can refer to our Q&A section or comment on your questions below. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

If you live in Vancouver or the neighboring cities, our roofing team can visit you to help you with your roofing issues. Contact us any day!

LeakStop is a one-stop destination to meet your roofing-related requirements. We offer roof repair, replacement, maintenance and inspection services all over GVRD (Greater Vancouver Regional District).

We offer a free inspection to first-time clients. Connect with us TODAY at 1 866 777 0084 for immediate assistance!

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