Five Ways to Prepare Your Commercial Roof for Winter

Your commercial roof is your first line of defense, and the weather greatly impacts it. Our seasonal weather does affect your commercial roof. A roof’s membrane expands in the heat and shrinks in the cold. These fluctuations in your roof’s membrane is a crucial reason to maintain yours properly.  Even the regular temperature swings between daytime highs and nighttime lows are harder on your roof’s structure and materials in the winter, especially if there is water/ice or snow already on the roof. Ice dams can form at the transition points between warm and cold roof surfaces, and ponded water anywhere on your roof can damage membranes or other roofing materials as it freezes, thaws, and refreezes.

Facility executives who react to problems as they occur versus routine maintenance and inspections spend more money on their roofs. A proactively maintained roof has a longer lifespan (about ten more years) than a roof that is not maintained or inspected twice a year.

The Fall is the time to winterize your roof.  Membrane damage, clogged drains, ponding water, and debris could cause major winter leaks.  Many of these leaks can be avoided by understanding your risks and having a thorough roof inspection.

How can you prepare your roof to assure your business can continue to operate without any significant roof issues?

1)    Know Your Roof’s History

How old is your roof?  What’s your roof’s maintenance history?  When was it last inspected?  It is essential to know your roof’s maintenance history so your roofing contractor can assess your roof accordingly.  Although you can detect some noticeable and potential signs of roof issues such as ceiling stains, it is best to have a skilled roof contractor prepare your roof for the winter.  A roofing contractor will know what to look for in the flashings, seams, structure, roof top equipment and roof membrane.

2)    Schedule an Inspection

It is important to schedule a roof inspection before freezing weather takes hold and again in the Spring.  With regular inspections, you increase the chance of catching small problems with the roof before they become larger, more difficult, and exponentially more expensive.  A roof inspection, by an authorized roofing contractor, is required to maintain your roof’s warranty by most manufacturers and it will save you a lot of money by detecting problems early.

During roof inspection, a roofing contractor will scrutinize roof traffic patterns, drainage systems, base attachments, flashings and will also investigate the possible occurrence of any contaminants, moisture infiltration , unauthorized or improperly installed new roof openings, or faulty roof membrane seams.

3)    Perform Any Recommended Repairs

After your inspection, it’s imperative that you make recommended repairs to your building’s roof to stop leaks, clear roof drains and gutters and fix and prevent problems.

Your roof is the most critical part of your building. It has the highest exposure to the elements of any other structure or system, and it literally covers everything else so it should not be neglected.  Timely repairs can save you on a total replacement or extend the life of your roof and reduce the potential of having to solve an emergency leak situation that could occur under a snow or ice covered roof membrane.

4)    Maintain Clear and Clean Roof Surface and Gutters

During an inspection, your roof contractor should make sure your roof and gutters are clean and clear of debris.  Ensure trash, leaves; branches have been removed.  Your roofing contractor can periodically check your roof and maintain it clear of anything that doesn’t belong on the roof.

5)    Evaluate Your Roof’s Surroundings

Are there tree branches hanging over your roof? If so, cut them down. Surrounding trees and limbs hanging over your roof are a hazard.  Snow adds weight and that weight can cause tree branches to break onto your roof and possibly penetrate your roof’s membrane.

Even the best preventive maintenance might not fully protect your roof from extraordinary weather events or extremely high winds.  But being proactive and having a plan is better than no plan at all.

Please call Kautz Roofing to discuss your roofing needs. We have been in the roofing business for over 40 years, and we are here to help you have a trouble-free winter for your roof.