Preparing Your Commercial Roof for Snow & Ice

A commercial roof is a huge but important investment that protects your facility from the elements. Here are a few things you should know about flat roof maintenance and how to prepare your roof for the cold, harsh conditions of winter. 

Clean Debris Regularly

As cold weather approaches, it’s important to clean all debris off your building’s rooftop while it’s still easy to do so. Even seemingly minor piles of leaves or twigs can damage your roof’s structure if left in place all winter. Once you climb up, you may be surprised to discover how many items have accumulated over the last few weeks or months. Anything that is not part of the regular roof assembly should be promptly removed. While you’re doing a sweep for trash and debris, take a moment to check any loose wiring. If you notice anything that isn’t properly secured, consider hiring professionals to come secure it for you. 

Look for Problems

Once the surface of the roof is clean, professional inspectors will be able to spot any areas of obvious concern. It’s generally not recommended to conduct the inspection yourself unless you have experience in roofing and know how to identify and fix any issues you find. 

No matter what the weather is like, it’s recommended that you hire inspectors to check out your roof at least twice every year. For best results, schedule one inspection at the end of winter and one at the end of the summer. Additional inspections should occur after every major weather event to make sure damage is detected and fixed early. While this may seem like overkill, it could mean the difference between keeping your roof in perfect condition and dealing with costly damage and repairs. 

As professional roofers, we are trained in both obvious and inconspicuous roofing problems that you may easily miss. We also have a variety of tools and safety equipment designed to protect our inspectors from falls. Even with these tools, inspecting rooftops can still be dangerous and is not recommended for building owners. 

During roof inspections, we check for many things:

  • Damaged vent covers
  • Loose chimney caps
  • Damaged or loose flashings, tiles or shingles

If we notice any issues, we will recommend repairs or replacement and request your approval before proceeding. Our primary goal is to get your roof ready for the coming winter. We do this by repairing problems and preventing roof damage in any way we can. 

Identify Flat Roof Maintenance Needs

Even if there are no obvious issues with your commercial roof, it is still important to make sure all its parts are maintained regularly so they remain in good working order. It’s simple to walk over the surface of low-slope roofs and visually pick out items that need maintenance. Typically, maintenance can involve the following:

  • Tightening loose metal trim and flashings (this keeps moisture and ice from entering your building)
  • Securing antennas, security cameras and other accessories so they don’t get dislodged by winter wind gusts
  • Tightening fasteners and screws as needed

These maintenance procedures don’t take long to perform, but they can make a huge difference in how well your roof withstands winter damage in the coming months. 

Ensure Proper Roof Drainage

One of the most important steps to protecting against roof damage before winter hits is to make sure your roof is able to drain properly. Unlike sloped residential roofs, flat and low-slope roofs tend to accumulate moisture. Since water weighs a significant amount and can potentially cause your roof to collapse if it doesn’t drain properly, it’s imperative to inspect drainage systems before heavy snow and rain begin to fall. 

When we check draining system function, we make sure water has a way to escape from the roof before it turns into ice. As part of our inspection, we do the following:

  • Water-test roof drains (we do this by using a garden hose to run water through each drain)
  • Check and remove any vegetation buildup in the drains
  • Remove any deep clogs within the drain piping
  • Locate and remove any debris around the drains that can potentially clog them (plastic bottles, balls, bird nests, etc.)

If water is allowed to accumulate and freeze over in the winter, it can severely damage the structure of the roof. It can cause leaks to spring up inside your building that may contribute to mold growth. It can also pose a slipping hazard to maintenance personnel who regularly check the roof. 

Make Sure Your Roof Is Ready for Winter

Do you have doubts about whether your roof can withstand the cold winds, snowfall and ice it may encounter this winter? Give yourself some peace of mind by scheduling an inspection and flat roof maintenance services. Remember, making a few minor repairs now will cost much less than making major repairs in the future. To schedule your consultation or request a no-obligation quote, contact Benton Roofing during regular business hours.  

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