Winter can be a tough time for roofs, and in some areas of the US, you can’t get away from it. Your facility goes through a lot of wear and tear from snow, ice, wind and freezing weather.
It can ruin your day to see a roof problem during the winter months but do not despair; some actions can be taken to protect your facility and possibly repair your roof during the winter weather.
Common Winter Roofing Issues
If you have an undiagnosed roof problem before the winter weather hits, it could mean a headache when the snow falls. If you have wet insulation when you turn your furnace on for the season, it could pull the moisture into your ceiling causing discoloration or leaks.
When Autumn weather makes the leaves fall, it can be beautiful…but it can also cause havoc on your roof. If you have your Fall inspection before the leaves fall, you could miss built up leaves in your drains and gutters.
These clogged waterways mean that all of the snow and ice have nowhere to go when they melt throughout the winter. The backed-up water could sit on your roof or find other places to drain on your roof…places that you don’t want them to drain.
The biggest problem our service team sees in the winter is when water enters a small hole or puncture in a roof, that water turns to ice which expands, then melts…leaving a bigger problem with your roof.
Difficulty Finding Leak Source
It’s common for a leak to travel before finding its way into your building. When you have snow and ice on a roof, it could be challenging to find the source of a leak. A leak in a building could be caused by a hole 20 feet away!
Repairs and Maintenance That Can Be Performed in the Winter
While it can be more dangerous and costly, there are steps your roofing contractor can take to protect your facility during the winter.
Interior Leak Protection
The first step our service team takes is to minimize the damage to the interior of your building. Tarps can be installed inside the building, commonly referred to ‘Pig Tarps,’ that catch the water and drains into a sink or bucket. These tarps can be short term while the repair is being made or they can be installed for the remainder of the winter season so that the repair can be made when the snow and ice melt from the roof surface.
Tented Roof Repairs
If a repair needs to be made on a roof, it is not uncommon for our service team to install a tent on the roof surface to perform the repair. The tent keeps out weather (snow, rain, wind) and can be heated so that the materials work correctly.
Snow and Ice Roof Clearing
Snow can add a significant amount of weight to a flat roof system. Part of winter maintenance can be shoveling or removing snow and ice from the roof surface. This is not necessary for all roofs, but it may help larger roofs alleviate weight stress.
How Preventable Maintenance Can Save Your Roof
Roof maintenance refers to the work done on a commercial or residential roof to prevent extensive damage from occurring in the future. It takes a proactive approach to keep your roof from leaking. Preventative maintenance allows contractors to detect and fix areas of the roof that are vulnerable to future leaks or significant damage.
The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) recommends maintenance inspections be performed at least twice a year; this usually falls in the Spring and Autumn seasons. These scheduled maintenance inspections are to prepare your facility roof for extreme weather of the Summer and Winter.
In addition to scheduled maintenance, it’s more important to have your roof maintenance team to your facility before and after severe weather (such as tornadoes, thunderstorms, hail or winter storms) to make sure any damage from the weather is minimized.
Reasons to Wait Until Warm Weather
When possible, its always best to have roof repairs performed in warm weather. From safety to performance, if you can delay repairs to warm weather, it will save you time and money.
- Materials are affected by cold weather – Adhesives are less sticky, shingles and membranes are more brittle.
- Unpredictable Weather Patterns – Winter storms can slow projects and snow piles can form on the roof.
- Dangerous Conditions – Slippery conditions, low visibility, and snow-covered skylights make the roof hazardous.
Some of the essential winter weather tips from our service manager include:
- Find a contractor with an emergency phone line – At West Roofing Systems, our emergency phone line is available for existing or new customers. We are always available to help!
- Get your roof inspected after the leaves fall and before the snow falls – this is the best time to clear your gutters and repair anything ahead of time.
At West Roofing Systems, our goal is to help you and your facility. Whether we installed your current roof or not, we will help mitigate any damages until we can solve your roofing problems. Call our service team today: 1-800-356-5748!