Winter Roofing Tips
Your commercial roof is one of the most important assets to your business and knowing how to maintain and protect it is critical. Commercial roofing in Denver comes with it’s own unique challenges and it’s important to know how winter weather poses a threat to your commercial roof and how to be proactive in preventing damage. Here are some tips for protecting your commercial roof in the winter:
- Enroll in a maintenance plan with your local commercial roofing expert.
- Regularly inspect your roof and building for signs of damage including cracks or sagging in the ceiling, bowing in load-bearing walls, or displaced air ducts, pipes, or ceiling tiles.
- Make sure your gutters are always free and clear of debris.
- Regularly inspect all seals and check that the flashing and caulking is still intact and in good condition.
- Routinely check your attic insulation. When the attic ventilation is compromised and condensation begins to form, this can cause cracks to freeze and open up creating infiltration points.
- Consider edge roof panel solutions.
Regardless of where you live, it’s important to have your commercial roof inspected at least once annually. According to PR Newswire, “There was a high level of reroofing activity in the commercial market between early 2016 and 2018 (and) most roofs that were repaired or replaced during that time will require little additional work in the near term.”
Commercial Roofing in Denver.
When it comes to protecting your commercial roof in Colorado, it’s important to choose a local roofer who is properly licensed, insured, vetted, and is familiar with how the climate and weather impact commercial roofs in your area. Different types of roofing materials will be impacted differently depending on their climate. Commercial roofs in Colorado are prone to ice damming in the winter or severe damage from hail and wind storms. It’s important to have a local roofing contractor in Colorado who is an expert in commercial roofing and is familiar with potential seasonal hazards, how to prevent them, and is able to recommend a roof maintenance program. Most insurance companies will not accept a roof replacement claim if the roof was not properly maintained, regardless of whether or not there was damage. Click here to connect with your local commercial roofing expert.
Fixing a Leaky Roof in the Winter
If you’ve noticed stains on your ceiling or walls, a strange smell (potentially near the visible stains), or water droplets or small puddles on the floor, there’s a good chance that your commercial roof is leaking. There are several causes for a leaking roof:
- Poor Drainage Or No Drainage – sometimes gutters that were not properly cleaned can lead to roof leaks. Here are some basic tips for keeping your gutters clean and free of debris.
- Penetration Points – areas like the flashing or caulking around your HVAC system are particularly vulnerable and a big cause of leaks if not properly maintained especially during the winter months.
- Old Or Damaged Roof Flashings – roof flashings are the metal that is installed around conjoining areas of your roof such as around roof edges or interior walls. When these age they can be more vulnerable to damage from weather elements or even temperature fluctuations like those that are common in Colorado.
- Damaged Roof Membrane – a roof membrane is the waterproof layer of your commercial roof and can sustain damage from a variety of factors including foot traffic, weather elements, or machinery and other mechanical equipment.
- Damaged Or Aged Roofs – If your roof has reached its lifespan or has sustained damage from hail, wind, or other weather elements and was never repaired, it may start to fail altogether.
If you notice that your commercial roof has started to leak and recognize any of the causes listed above, you should take action right away. First you should clear the area of anything that could be damaged from the water as well as keep the area clear of foot traffic. You’ll want to mark the point of intrusion and search the area for any others. Then you’ll want to call in the experts and get a professional assessment from a local roofing expert.
Ice Dam Prevention
Preventing ice dams are an important component of maximizing your commercial roof’s potential life span. Ice dams can take a critical toll on your commercial roof and in the most severe cases, cause total roof failure or even collapse.
What Is An Ice Dam?
Ice Dams are ridges of ice that form at the edge of a roof. The frozen ridges trap melting snow and prevent the water from draining properly. The water builds up and can leak in through intrusion points causing damage to insulation, ceilings, and walls. When temperatures drop again the remaining water can refreeze and as additional precipitation builds up it will be unable to drain properly causing pooling and putting additional stress on your commercial roof including its load bearing limits.
What Causes Ice Dams?
Some of the most common causes of ice dams are:
- Poor attic insulation or ventilation
- Poor drainage or no drainage
- Clogged gutters, scuppers, drains or downspouts
- Accumulation of debris on the roof like pine needles or leaves
How Do You Get Rid Of Ice Dams?
Steep Sloped Roofing Systems:
If your roof sits low to the ground, you may be able to brush the snow off from the roof using a rake. If the roof is too high to reach, you can contact a local roofing contractor who can remove the snow for you.
You may need to increase your attic ventilation. Soffit and ridge vents provide good ventilation. Box and static vents are also improvements that will get the job done. Another option is to place an electric fan over your vents to stimulate airflow.
Be conscious of potential heat sources like lighting fixtures. If you look up in the attic and see light entering from a specific source it’s likely transferring heat too. You may want to seal or insulate it.
Seal any other attic penetrations like access doors, electrical or mechanical chases, or plumbing stacks.
Flat Roofing Systems:
You’ll want to have snow removed right away from flat commercial roofing systems. Snow will usually melt away normally from sloped roofing systems but flat roofing systems are more prone to ice dams and pooling.
Placing heating cables throughout the roof that lead to the drains may help create a path for melting water. You should consult with a commercial roofing contractor before having these installed.
When the roof is dry, look for signs of white residue. This is usually an indication of pooling or a melted ice dam. If you notice it, contact your roofing contractor to assess any potential damage and to create a prevention plan.
Want to have your commercial roof in Denver, Colorado inspected and winterized? Contact Kapella Roofing today for your free inspection and recommended commercial roof maintenance program.