How the weather can affect your commercial roof
It’s unpredictable, we are often at its mercy and we talk about it all the time. Yes, the weather affects our lives every day. It especially rouses your commercial roof.
They say that there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. Rain, heat, and even wind all have their benefits. However, when all that good weather seems to be attacking your commercial roof, it can seem anything but useful. Learn how the weather can affect your commercial roof and what you can do about it.
Weather conditions that can impact your commercial roof
Fall and falling objects – when most people think of autumn, they picture stunning foliage and envision the start of the holiday season. But all those leaves, plant matter and branches can fall and inflict harm to your commercial roof, such as punctures and deterioration. Falling debris may also be cause for alarm during a windy fall. You may want to cut back any trees that are close to or overhang your roof. Additionally, keep gutters and vents clear to prevent clogs and blockages from causing standing water problems and drainage issues.
Fluctuating temperatures – in some areas, if you don’t like the weather you need only to wait 15 minutes and it will change. Unfortunately, this kind of variety can really damage your commercial roof. Often called the freeze/thaw effect, it can result in thermal shock. Rain or melting snow will quickly refreeze overnight and then melt again in the morning sun. Just one small gap in the seams or crack in the flashing can let water in. When that water then freezes, it will cause the crack to expand and lead to a major leak. Frozen water can also add up to 60 pounds of extra weight per cubic foot. If your roof is old, all the freezing and thawing will ultimately affect its ability to expand and contract as necessary, which will weaken your roof over time. It’s essential to have your roof professionally inspected at least twice a year to catch potential problems when they are small, before they become major, costly headaches. These inspections should be done in the fall to prepare for the winter and again in the spring to correct any trouble caused by severe winter weather.
Heavy snow – falling snow can look beautiful and peaceful but when it piles up and becomes heavy, it can wreak havoc on your commercial roof. It can even lead to complete roof failure. This is especially true for flat roofs due to their wide span and low slope. If you are in an area prone to lots of snowfall, your roof was probably constructed to withstand this climate. Still, there remains the possibility for danger. Heavy snow can add a considerable amount of weight to your roof and affect its load bearing capacity. The depth of the snowfall does not determine the weight. Even a minor snow event can have a major impact. Research shows that new snow can add more than 20 cubic feet of extra weight. The last thing you want to hear is creaking or loud popping sounds coming from your roof. That is an indication that you have exceeded the maximum snow load your roof can take. Other signs include sagging metal supports, warped wood and any type of distortion. It’s vital that you develop a comprehensive snow removal plan so that snow does not sit on your roof for too long. Most importantly, this work should only be performed by professionals to avoid damaging the roof and to prevent accidents.
Ice jams – have you ever glanced up to see those fascinating looking icicles hanging off buildings? They may look beautiful and intriguing, but they are actually evidence of a failing gutter system. When the water from melting snow cannot drain properly, it gets trapped and forms these ice jams. Eventually, they can become too heavy and make your gutters and downspouts collapse. You must make sure your gutters do not get clogged with ice and leaves and prevent water from flowing away from your commercial roof.
Rain – just about every area of the country experiences rain at some time. Many places get lots of it. This affects every part of your commercial roof, from the materials to the gutters. Even a small crack in the material or flashing that has become loose can result in leaks, standing water issues and other problems. After any significant rain event, you should check to ensure your roof is still okay.
Summer heat – for some reason, everything seems better in the summer. Warm weather, sunshine and longer days are the very recipe for a good time. Consequently, these intense UV rays can also weaken the seals and bonds in the materials on your roof. Additionally, certain roofing materials can swell in the heat. Then, further damage is wreaked when they begin to shrink. Then there is the humidity, the mortal enemy of roofs, which boosts the moisture and can lead to rot and mold growth. It also causes you to use your HVAC system more than usual, which can increase the amount of foot traffic on your commercial roof from repair people and technicians as the air conditioning unit requires service. Do your best to limit foot traffic and make sure your commercial roofer uses high quality materials to help combat the effects of summer.
Wind – while you may enjoy the feeling of the wind blowing through your hair, severe winds can mar your commercial roof. Those with asphalt shingles or tile roofs are particularly vulnerable. Protected membrane systems are also at risk for damage to the structural deck. Uplifting is a real concern as well. Extremely strong winds can cause trees to fall on your roof or possibly even damage the frame of the roof. Don’t throw caution to the wind. Have an emergency plan for dealing with wind events and check with your insurance company to find out what’s covered and what isn’t. If you are in a high risk area, you might want to consider adding a high wind warranty or extra coverage to your policy.
No matter what Mother Nature throws at your commercial roof, it’s best to be proactive and prepared. You can start by choosing a respected, high quality roofing company to ensure your building is ready for any weather condition. Peck Brothers Roofing is the company for you!