The Impact of Winter on Your Commercial Roof

December 2, 2014

Snow, ice, and frigid temperatures can wreak havoc on your roofing system. Here are a few effects winter has on your roof.

Ice Dams

If drains, gutters, and downspouts freeze, water will pond on the roof or cause ice damming along the perimeter. Because snow melts from the bottom, the water can run under the ice, behind the gutter, into flashings, and leak into your facility. Make sure drainage paths are clear of leaves and debris and if problems persist, consider having a licensed electrician install heat tape in the gutters.

Snow Drifts

Just a few inches of snow and high winds can easily result in a five-foot drift on the roof. This kind of accumulation may have you thinking about wielding a shovel to disperse the weight. If snow removal is truly necessary, hire a professional roofing contractor that knows how to work safely on the roof and remove snow without causing damage.

Safety Hazards

Rooftop work is especially risky in winter. If you have low curbs or skylights on your roof that could be buried by snow, set up cones or neon orange snow flags to stop people from accidently tripping on or stepping through them.

Wear & Tear

Sealants can shrink and crack during winter. An aging roofing system may become brittle with the extreme cold, which causes foot traffic to be particularly damaging. Small punctures or seam delaminations can become much bigger when water enters and expands as it freezes.

Expansion & Contraction

As the roof warms and cools, it expands and contracts, which can result in shrinkage, cracks, splits, and extra stress on seams. Most systems are flexible enough to withstand rapid temperature changes (and the thermal shock they cause) but age can make them more susceptible to leaks.

Contact D. C. Taylor Co. today to schedule general preventive maintenance!


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