Unpredictable winter weather can wreak havoc on your roof, especially when it comes to flat commercial roofing materials. In cases of extreme temperatures, heavy snowfall, and strong winds, you may need the assistance of a commercial roofing contractor much sooner than you had anticipated. But if you want to avoid calling a roofer this winter, you’ll need to make specific preparations to reduce the risk of damage to your commercial roof.
What kinds of conditions should I be worried about?
- Heavy snow: Commercial roofing is designed to withstand weight, but you’d be surprised by how much damage one snowfall can do. If your roof is nearing the end of its life, the additional weight of heavy snowfall may be too much for it to bear. If you hear loud popping noises, see bends or cracks in the supports, or notice sagging or deformities, that’s a sign that your roof may be buckling under the pressure.
- Freeze/thaw cycle: The combination of snow and ice with constant thawing and refreezing has the potential to significantly damage your roof. Spots on your roof like drains, flashings, downspouts, and seams are particularly vulnerable, as snow tends to accumulate in these areas. Water can seep into a crack, freeze, and expand, which often leads to leaks.
- Thermal shock: Certain types of roofs are more affected by extreme temperatures. A roof may experience thermal shock when higher temperatures in the daytime plummet below freezing during the night. As this happens, parts of the roof are unable to expand and contract without causing damage.
What can I do to protect my roof from winter damage?
- Inspect: Under normal circumstances, your roof should be professionally inspected once or twice a year. But you should also take it upon yourself to do occasional visual inspections, especially during the winter (and immediately after). Check for cracks in caulking, missing or damaged shingles, or other signs of deterioration. If you notice these, call a commercial roofing company right away.
- Clear and Clean: While fallen branches or leaves may not seem like a big deal, you should clear any visible debris off your roof. Debris can trap water and cause puddles, which can then freeze. You should also ensure that your gutters are able to function properly by removing clogs. Water should be able to move freely without incident; this will reduce the chance of freezing and subsequent damage.
- Snow Removal: Buildings with flat commercial roofs often require snow removal. If you live in a snow-prone area, you may need to address this need. Never use metal shovels on a roof; instead, use plastic shovels to move the snow off. Exercise extreme caution if you plan on handling this on your own.
If you need roofing repair or installation this season, we’re here to help. For more information, contact us today!