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How to Prepare Your Commercial Roof for Winter?

You don’t want winter to hit your commercial roof without having some form of preparation in place, especially if it’s a flat roof. We recommend having an experienced commercial roofing contractor like First Response Roofing inspect and clean your roof during the fall season. Don’t wait until the eleventh hour before the snow hits. Discuss a snow removal plan with the stakeholders and approve necessary roof repairs. Also, take the time to understand the steps a roofing contractor will take to protect your roof.  How do you know your roof has been cleaned properly? What comprises a good roof inspection?

The roofing contractor you hire should clean your rooftop before inspecting the roof. They can inspect the roof better once the debris has been removed. Cleaning the roof also helps prevent blocked drainage, moss, mold, rotting, and more from developing throughout the season.

The professional inspecting your roof should also check for animal infestation. If some animals are living on or visiting your roof, they may cause damage. Cleaning out food scraps, nesting material and other such debris can deter such animals from returning. The roofing professional may also recommend the following:

  • Repair slow drainage and pooling issues to remove a source of water for animals
  • Prune nearby branches and trees that give raccoons and squirrels access to your roof
  • Close up any gaps that could give animals access to your roof
  • Remove the nesting materials (NB; Some animals are protected by law. Bird nests are protected by law, but you can still legally keep birds off your commercial roof).

Looking for more tips on how you can prepare your commercial roof for winter? Here’s some insight from experienced roofers. 

Commercial Roof Inspection During Fall

You should have your commercial roof inspected by a professional roofer at least once every year, and fall is the perfect time to do it. This allows the roofer to find and fix roofing problems before it starts to snow, so they don’t escalate during winter. For instance, gaps in flashing or small cracks in membranes can be opened further as snow expands and refreezes.

Your commercial drainage systems may also suffer if water refreezes inside them. Finding these problems early enough can help lower roof repair and maintenance costs down the line. Key parts of a roof inspection include:

  • Ensuring the roof ventilation is free of debris
  • Ensuring membranes are free of dips, ponding and punctures
  • Ensuring the flashing and seals around all roofing penetrations are up to standard
  • All drainage points and the downspouts draining internally should be free of leaf clutter and other debris
  • Gutters and downspouts should be in good condition and free of any debris

The roofing professional should also check all areas of the roof for damage, weakness or deterioration.

Repair Your Commercial Roof Before Winter

You can have your commercial flat roof repaired during winter, but we strongly advise against leaving repairs until then. Here are some of the reasons why repairing your roof during winter is less than ideal;

  • Snow can hide dangers on your roof, so the roofing contractors would need to use markers to highlight equipment, skylights and other features.
  • Several roofing products need to be stored at warm room temp before and during installation.
  • Snow and cold may make it difficult for roofers to work without sliding or needing to warm up.
  • Repairs during winter can be inconvenient for the building’s occupants and other people using it.

All these challenges may prompt your roofing contractors to charge a bit more during winter than they would during other seasons.

Winter can also aggravate existing roofing issues with the melting and refreezing of water, so it’s best to have them repaired before snow hits. 

Create a Snow Removal Plan

Commercial flat roofs require the most snow removal during winter; you may have to do it several times. However, quick and haphazard snow removal can damage roof membranes. That’s why we recommend hiring an experienced snow removal contractor. They may also recommend having the below features installed;

  • Snow guards – Snow guards are most commonly known for their use on metal roofs. But they are also used on flat roofs. They are helpful in sheltering roof features that can be damaged by drifting snow.
  • Wind baffles – You can have a roofer install wind baffles on ventilation and drainage systems to prevent snow ingestion. Ingested snow may melt and refreeze, potentially causing leaks and stressing pipes.

The best way to prepare your commercial roof for winter is to consult with a professional roofer. They can clean and inspect your roof, fix damaged or deteriorated areas and offer suggestions on how best to protect your roof.

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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