10/14/16 4:05 PM 5 min read

Preparing Your Flat Roof for the Winter


Autumn is a beautiful time of the year. As the leaves continue to fall and the temperatures begin to drop, those of us who make Northeast Ohio home know that the crisp fall days will soon give way to snow, wind and cold temperatures. For commercial and industrial building owners, there are steps you can take now to help ensure your flat roof can survive the winter ahead.

Fall Cleaning

Yes, we typically think spring cleaning…but we’re talking roofs now. Discard leaves, twigs and debris that are covering your roof’s surface. Even layers of dirt can lead to mold and mildew forming on a roof membrane. Remove obsolete equipment that has the potential of causing damage in high winds. Look around for any other loose parts that can wreak havoc in high wind conditions.

Gutter Check

Are your gutters, pipes and drains clear? Make sure your gutters and downspouts can withstand larger volumes of water, snow and ice. In fact, be absolutely sure you have the right gutters in the first place. We have found residential gutters on commercial building that are not made to withstand the amount of drainage a flat roof will have in the winter. Check for sagging or overflowing gutters. If water is constantly running down the gutter edge, it can eventually infiltrate the foundation of the building. Don’t forget about HVAC units—you’ll want to be sure lines are clear for proper drainage.

Small Leaks Lead to Large Leaks

Now is the time to pay attention to what happens after a heavy autumn rain. Do you see pooling water that is not draining the way it should? Take a good look at your seams and sealants. Melted snow can seep into any open cracks and seams. When it refreezes, any crack you have will widen and increase the chances for leaks and even interior mold. Consider whether you need a roof coating to help any problem areas survive through the winter. A professional commercial roofing contractor can advise you on whether your roof surface needs to be coated.

See related blog: 5 Warning Signs of Commercial Roof Damage


Freeze-Thaw Damage Control

Nothing can damage the integrity of your commercial roof more than the expansion and contraction that results from repeated freezing, thawing and refreezing. This is why it’s essential to check roof flashing for defects and correct sealing problems at penetrations. By having an inspection now, you can avoid membrane splitting, seam separation and other deterioration.

Inspection for Prevention

The best way to mitigate winter damage to your roof is to have a professional commercial roofing contractor conduct a thorough inspection. You’ll want to have any problems addressed before the snow arrives.

Roberts Roofing Company performs year-round emergency commercial roof repair—even during or after inclement weather. Our professional crews are trained to repair all types of roofing systems and carry the proper materials and equipment to service your roof. Roberts Roofing has many clients who utilize our repair crews and have us inspect their roofs after severe storms or catastrophes, such as fire or other calamities.

To learn more about selecting a commercial roofer in Cleveland, Ohio, simply fill out the form on this page and a member of our team will be in touch. Or, you may call us at 440.946.2233.