December 21, the official first day of winter, is only a few weeks away. That means colder weather, snow, ice and slush are on the way. Winter weather can cause significant roofing problems, particularly for business owners and building managers, so it is important to make sure your roof is ready for winter now to save the time, money and headaches down the road.
Get to Know Your Roof
To reduce the risk of leaks or a whole roof sections collapsing, it is important to inspect the roof including the decking, insulation, underlayment, surface membrane, flashing, as well as all roof vents and drainage pipes/gutters. Split seams, cracks, holes, buckles, and blisters are the most common problems, but out-of-place fasteners, defective flashing, clogged drainage systems, and rooftop debris can also compromise your roof during the cold season.
During the inspection, jot down anything troublesome that you find. This will make it easier to act on problems that arise. If possible, you should also take a picture of anything that could become a problem because this can give a professional a visual of the issue without you needing to get back on the roof.
Assemble Your Roofing Team
The time to develop a relationship with roofing contractors is before you have an emergency. It is important to identify a team that knows how to safely remove excess snow from the roof. It is equally important to identify skilled roofers who know how to quickly find and eliminate leaks. Have your roofing team’s contact information handy if you need to reach them quickly.
Big Snows Equal Big Problems
Snow on the roof is a hazard, but excessive snow can lead to roof collapse. A fresh, dry snow can add 20 pounds per cubic foot to your roof, but wet snow or partially thawed-and-refrozen snow, can add as much 60 pounds per cubic foot of pressure. Therefore, it is critical to have heavy snows promptly removed from your roof, particularly in warmer climates where roofs generally aren't designed to bear the weight of heavy snow loads.
The Time to Act is Now
It may not possible to completely eliminate the risk of wintertime roof damage, but by taking steps now, you can minimize the risks dramatically. First, conduct a proper commercial roof inspection to identify issues that may leave your roofing system susceptible to major damage during the winter months. Then, identify the contractors who will comprise your roofing team, and keep their contact information close at hand. Lastly, repair troublesome areas now and quickly remove falling snows to help your roof endure the winter so you can protect your investment.