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Was Your Commercial Roof Impacted by Winter Weather?

As the chill of winter begins to fade and we welcome spring, it's a good time to turn our attention to the condition of our roofs. While winter often brings cozy nights by the fire and picturesque snowfalls, it can also pose challenges for our homes' most vital protective layer. From heavy snow accumulation to the formation of stubborn ice dams, the winter months can leave their mark on our roofs if we're not careful.

In this blog, we'll take a look at the impact of winter weather on commercial roofs and what steps you can take to address any damage as we transition into spring. By understanding the common problems roofs face during winter and taking proactive measures, you can ensure your roof remains in good shape for the seasons ahead.

Common Winter Hazards for Your Commercial Roof

Expansion & Contraction

To understand the damage that changing temperatures can have on your commercial roof, we’ll have to take a trip through time back to your high school science class. When most items freeze, their molecules get closer together and contract, and as they heat up again, the molecules spread out and the item expands. When this happens to your roofing material repeatedly, it can begin to lose structural integrity, and items can also become unglued or loose as screws come loose.

On the other hand, while these rules of contraction during colder temperatures and expansion during warmer ones hold true for most materials, it turns out the opposite is true of water. Water’s molecules expand when they freeze, so if water has found its way into cracks or imperfections in your roof and the temperature dips below freezing, the ice will expand in your roof and further exacerbate the pre-existing issues. When the temperature eventually rises, the ice will melt and cause water damage to your roof and structure.

Ice Dams

If your gutters are clogged when a winter storm comes along, water, snow and ice can build up inside and freeze, causing an ice dam to form. Throughout the winter storm, additional snow can accumulate on your roof, and as the temperatures heat up, it has nowhere to go as it melts because the gutters are still blocked. The pooling water can then seep into the roof and cause mold and structural damage.

Snow Load

Snow load is the force that a large accumulation of snow or ice puts on your roof. As more and more snow gathers over the course of the storm, the snow load’s weight increases, which can put a massive amount of stress on your commercial roof and building structure, leading to instability and loss of integrity.

Signs That You Might Have Roof Damage

Water Leaks

If you notice water leaking from the ceiling, it’s a pretty clear indication that you have roof damage. Other signs of water leaks include water stains on your walls and ceilings or mold growth.

Sagging Roof

If your roof looks warped, wavy or like it’s sinking in, you should seek a roof inspection as soon as possible.

Musty Smells

If you notice an odd scent throughout your property, it could be due to water damage or mold. See if you can identify the source of the smell, and if you can’t, schedule an inspection with a trusted recovery partner.

Combatting Winter-Storm-Related Roof Damage

When it comes to potential roof damage, the best time to act is now. If you hesitate, you run the risk of additional deterioration as cracks expand, more water seeps into your structure and your building is further exposed to the elements. Even if you think your roof is fine, it never hurts to schedule a free, no-obligation roof inspection to ensure that it’s in working condition.

Fortunately, identifying the damage and making repairs is easy when you partner with the right contractor. Here’s how you can get started:

  1. Identify the Right Roofing Partner - With so many contractors available, it pays to do your research. Check out our guide on choosing a commercial roofing partner for help.

  2. Schedule a Free Roof Evaluation - Your contractor will use a variety of tools and techniques, such as infrared thermal imaging, to diagnose any issues on your roof. From there, they will outline the repairs you’ll need to make and any recommended upgrades to prevent further damage.

  3. Make Any Necessary Repairs - Once you determine the right course of action with your roofing contractor, they can begin making repairs to prevent further damage and return your commercial property to its pre-disaster state.

Prevent Future Roof Damage

Once your roof is back in working condition, it’s important to perform regular maintenance to reduce the risk of future damage. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Clear gutters regularly to ensure water doesn’t begin to pool on your roof.

  • Trim trees to prevent loose branches from falling on your property during a storm or other disaster.

  • Regularly check for loose shingles and roofing panels so you can address them as soon as possible.

It’s also essential to develop a disaster preparedness plan so you can act fast at the first sign of a storm. Cotton GDS’ experts can help you create one customized for your business.

When you partner with Cotton GDS, you’re getting much more than a roofing contractor. You’re finding a partner to help your commercial building with everything that comes its way. From structural repairs after a snow load damages your building’s integrity to mold remediation to address any water leaks that came through cracks in your roof, Cotton GDS’ team of experts is ready to provide end-to-end solutions to help you get back to business.

Schedule a roof inspection today, or call our team at (877) 511-2962 to learn more.