Repairing commercial roof can be a challenge even when the weather is cooperative. When it is cold and rainy during fall or winter months, the process becomes even more of a struggle. Locating a leak on a flat roof that has puddles of water can be a very time-consuming job. Repairing a simple, slow-dripping leak can take several hours, because you first have to remove any pooled water from the roof surface. Then, the roof surface must be dried sufficiently to apply repair materials. Work performed during colder months is also more expensive. The reason is that cooler and wetter weather produce conditions that cause considerably more work for roofers. Getting up on a commercial roof during wet conditions is more dangerous. All slush or water has to be cleared first and solid footing is needed for the ladder. And this is all before roof repairs have even begun. A good way to avoid costly and difficult winter repairs is to have your roof maintained before the forces of winter arrive. That being said, there are a few things to watch for during the winter months, if you find yourself in need of roof repairs.
Repairing Your Commercial Roof During Winter
Warm air inside your building can cause a leak to start once water accumulates on the roof surface, even where there wasn’t a leak before.
Contraction occurs when temperatures drop, causing the roof membranes to bend and buckle, which can create leaks. Water can freeze overnight along gutters and around drains and this will prevent any drainage from occurring, resulting in considerable damage to your roof surface. Having a flat roof gives your home a sleek, modern profile, but it comes with special considerations. Most flat roofing actually features a slight slope but they still collect more rain and debris than traditional roofs and this can make them more of a liability in terms of safety. Caring for your flat roof during the winter months requires more prevention, which is most effective when carried out during autumn. Even in warm regions like California, you can take measures to bolster your roof against winter wind and rain.
- Excess debris encourages water pooling, so sweep the roof clear of debris, such as leaves, twigs and small branches. The weight of debris puts stress on the roof and increases the chance of leaks. Don’t apply too much pressure when you sweep, as this may damage the roofing membrane or remove the protective coating.
- Remove leaves, dirt and debris from the cage-like drain hub and surrounding area by hand. Do not use a brush or other tool for this as it may result in you missing some of the debris.
- Remove the drain hub with an adjustable wrench and spray it clean with a garden hose and high-pressure attachment. This will dislodge minor buildup. Then you can run a plumber’s snake through the drain to clear clogs, then replace the hub. Repeat the process for all the drains on your roof to prevent water from collecting on the roof during the winter rainy season.
- Cut back limbs that hang over the roof before winter hits to reduce the risk of broken limbs damaging your roof. This also helps cut back on debris, which in turn, prevents clogged drain spouts and pooling water.
- Inspect your roof for dents and holes, making sure to check the caulking along the flashing. Look for cracks as well as puddling or standing water, which indicate low areas.
- Check your roof for blisters, or pockets of water between layers of roofing. These pockets must be cut out and replaced. You also need to look for cracked surfaces, which can indicate that a new layer of roofing tar is needed.
For any commercial repairs during the winter, it is best to contact a professional roofing contractor. Reach out to us today for a quote and our trained and experienced team will make sure your roof is safe and strong all winter long.