How Is Your Roof Handling the Snow? Tips for Commercial Buildings

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The accumulation of snow on rooftops can cause severe damage to commercial buildings. Because these buildings usually have a flat wide-span rooftop, they are more prone to roof damage and collapse more frequently than homes. Here are some essential roof damage prevention tips for commercial buildings:

  • Inspect the roof.  Monitor the roof’s integrity year-round and repair the possible deficiencies. Pay close attention to the areas with previous structural damage.
  • Monitor warning signs. The structure may be in danger of collapsing when you hear cracking noises, notice sagging in the ceiling, cracks in walls or when windows and/or doors won’t open properly.
  • Check the roof’s drains. If the drains are not maintained, melted snow may penetrate through the rooftop and cause water damage, or it may pool and add significant weight, overloading the roof’s structure.
  • Use the right tools. Only use a snow shovel made of plastic, not metal. Leave a 2-inch layer of snow to prevent damage to roofing membrane, hidden wires and other equipment.
  • Remove snow preemptively. A good guideline is to remove snow when it reaches the height of one foot. Start by removing snow around equipment, at elevation changes, parapets and other non-flat structures. Shovel the remaining snow from the roof center towards the edges.
  • Be aware of ice dams. In the case of slightly pitched roofs, ice dams may form at the edges of the roof. They prevent melted snow from draining off the roof and force it to flow into roof cracks or openings, causing water damage.
  • Prevent ice dams. Because ice dams occur when the temperature outside is below 22°F and the attic/roof temperature is above 30°F, the best way to prevent the snow from melting and refreezing is proper ventilation and insulation to keep the roof “cool”.
  • Remove ice dams. The entire roof must be shoveled before the ice buildup can be removed. Use a long roof rake while standing on the ground or use ice melt products. However, because of the risks involved (damage to the roof and personal injuries), and the need for special equipment, it is recommended you hire a trained contractor to do the job.

If you live in a snow-prone area, it is important to take preventive measures for dealing with snow storms that may damage your building’s rooftop integrity. Use experienced employees or hire an outside contractor that specializes in roof maintenance and snow/ice removal. If water damage has occurred, contact your local PuroClean office immediately. We will mitigate the loss to prevent further damage and restore your property to pre-loss condition as quickly as possible.

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Last edited on 2nd of July 2018