Flat roofs are a common choice for many commercial buildings. This is in part because many of the vital equipment, such as HVAC systems, are placed upon the roof. The issue with flat roofs is that unlike sloped roofs, snow collects and doesn't slide off. This can lead to major damage or even a roof collapse. The following tips can help you avoid this risk.
Tip #1: Schedule Annual Inspections
Annual inspections by a roofing contractor are the single best thing you can do to keep your roof in good condition. Leaks lead to a weakened area of the roof, which means this area is more prone to damage or collapse when snow builds up later. An inspection will catch any possible issues, such as a leak, early enough so that you can repair and reinforce the area before it is subjected to snow weight. Your contractor can also help you ensure your building roof is up to current codes, which sometimes change due to evolving weather conditions or the innovation of better roofing materials.
Tip #2: Keep the Drains Clear
One way to avoid snow damage is to make sure that all melt is quickly flowing off the roof. A flat roof is equipped with drains around the perimeter to allow for this runoff. Unfortunately, bird nests, debris, or ice can block these drains. Perform monthly inspections in fair weather to make sure the drains aren't blocked, and daily inspections for ice when snow is on the roof. You can keep drains clear yourself to so you won't have snow damage from a blocked drain.
Tip #3: Remove Snow Build-Up
Heavy snow buildup can be removed manually. Use a plastic snow shovel, since metal can damage the roof membrane. Do not use a snow blower on the roof. It's also a good idea to leave an inch or two of snow on the roof when shoveling so you aren't scraping the shovel directly against the roof. Make sure you look below before dropping snow off the roof, you don't want to hit anyone or dump snow onto a car below. You should clear any drifts that have built up around rooftop vents and HVAC units. Also, ask your roofer first to make sure your roof is rated for foot traffic.
Don't hesitate to contact a local roofer, such as Davis Bros Roofing, if you have any concerns about the snow building up on your commercial roof.