How to Winterize Your Commercial Roof

Now that days and nights have finally turned colder and summer is officially over, it’s clear that winter is coming once again. Is your commercial building’s roof ready for the snow, ice, and sub-freezing temperatures?

If you’re not sure, now is the time to take action and prepare your roof. Membrane damage, clogged drains, and ponding water, among other problems, could be waiting to cause leaks this winter, and without a thorough inspection, you may not have advance warning.

So, how can you winterize your building’s roof to assure that leaks (or worse) don’t threaten your livelihood or safety? Let’s take a closer look.

Understand the risks

Do you know how old your commercial building’s roof is? If your roof has been in place for many years with little maintenance, or if you don’t know its service history, you’re potentially flirting with disaster. Your roof will naturally develop issues as it ages, and aging roofs require special attention to help them through the winter.

Partial collapses under snow loads occur every year, and these preventable emergencies can literally destroy your business, or cause grave injury.

Even the regular temperature swings between daily highs and 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.

If you have a preventative maintenance plan in place, assure that your roofing contractor has been on site recently to check on the status of your roof before freezing weather takes hold. While you or your maintenance team can likely spot major issues on your roof or remove debris, complete winter weather preparation is best performed by skilled professional roofers who know how to look for every potential source of trouble.

Schedule an inspection

On the subject of preventative maintenance, does your current plan include a thorough inspection at least once per year?

Even if your building’s roof is newer and you’re not experiencing problems, your roof should be inspected on a regular basis. This includes a physical examination of your roof, of course, but inspections also need to include careful documentation and reporting back to you, the customer, in order to be useful.

Before winter arrives this year, make sure your roofing contractor actually gets on the roof and then lets you know what they find. Here at Heidler Roofing, we provide our clients with access to an online portal to share inspection results. This tool allows customers to view photos of their roof and track repairs. It also gives us an easy way to communicate with our customers, even if they’re frequently out of the office or traveling between multiple facilities.

Perform any recommended repairs

This may sound obvious, but after fall preventative maintenance inspections are done, it’s vital that you make recommended repairs to your building’s roof to stop leaks and fix problems.

It’s true that busy building managers and owners are often forced to prioritize maintenance work on various systems and structures within their facilities, but it’s essential to remember that your roof may actually be the most important part of your building. It has the greatest exposure to the elements of any other structure or system, and it literally covers everything else. Don’t neglect it!

Additionally, repairs now could save you on a total replacement later, or at least delay that major project that no building manager looks forward to.

Stay alert

As winter progresses, be on the lookout inside your facility for leaks, and call your roofing contractor at the first sign of trouble. Unfortunately, we cannot yet predict severe blizzards or ice storms before the season starts, and even excellent preventative maintenance may not fully protect your roof from extraordinary weather events like 2 feet of snow suddenly falling, or extremely high winds.

One of the best winterization tips we can offer is to simply stay alert for problems. And if you’ve had a thorough roof inspection, you’ll be armed with the knowledge of potential trouble spots ahead of time. That is, if you haven’t already addressed issues.

Call Heidler Roofing

If your current roofing contractor is not meeting your expectations, or you don’t have a roofing contractor to care for your commercial building’s roof today, call Heidler Roofing right away. Our skilled craftsmen provide legendary service within the Mid-Atlantic region, and we’re here to ensure a trouble-free winter for your roof.