You probably already know that no matter how structurally sound your flat roof is, it needs regular maintenance to outlast its warranty. Flat roof or pitched roof, they all need some TLC to survive. This is especially the case in harsh climates where powerful rain, wind, snow and hail can inflict damage from season to season. In Canada, winter flat roof maintenance is very important to the lifespan of any roof, whether residential or commercial, urban or rural. Why? You know why. 6-9 months of snow. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can fight the insistent snow as it tries to lay claim to your roof this winter.
Step One: Inspect and Repair Before the Snow Hits
Don’t let winter hit before you remember to check out the roof – get it done in the fall. You can do the inspection yourself, if the roof is relatively new and has been professionally inspected in the last 3-5 years. Do an up-close inspection and check for cracks, leaks, pooling or billowing. If any of these issues are present, they need to be repaired sooner rather than later to protect the roof from degrading further during the winter. Again, professionals may or may not be necessary, depending on the progress and stage of the damage. Make sure to check the waterproof caulking for cracks, and repair any that have formed.
During this stage, you should also clean up the roof. It’s important to clear out the drains and remove any debris along the surface of the roof so that any melting snow can escape instead of pooling on the surface.
Step Two: Shovel the Snow
Even the strongest roof will start to buckle under the weight of a permanent snow drift. Just like shovelling the driveway, it’s necessary to shovel excess snow from the roof (and just like shovelling the driveway, shovelling the roof probably needs to be done more than once!) Although a light dusting of snow doesn’t pose any particular risks to your roof, billowing piles of snow do put it in danger of breaking down. Not only can the sheer weight of a snow drift cause cracking, but a build-up of snow that melts and refreezes periodically can seep into those cracks and cause springtime leaks. It’s easier and much less costly to prevent a leak now than to repair one next season.
Step Three: If you don’t Know what you’re Doing, Call the Pros
Seriously, this is important. There’s no shame in calling in the experts for an inspection or to perform a few repairs. In fact, a professional roofer can show you what to look for next season, after the snow melts. Even if you do know what you’re doing, it’s a good idea to call in an expert if your roof is difficult to reach or dangerously sloped. Don’t be afraid of the cost – winter flat roof maintenance is a regular service that most professionals are happy to provide at a decent price.
A little bit of simple winter flat roof maintenance is all you need to save yourself time and money in the future. Just remember: keep it clean; fix any issues before winter; and shovel that snow.