When you discover a problem with your commercial roof, you want to fix it as soon as possible. But what should you do when you discover roofing problems during the winter? Let’s discuss what to do about roofing in cold weather and how you can avoid winter roof repairs and replacements in the future.
Can Roofing Contractors Repair and Replace Roofs in Winter?
Yes. However, contractors have to take special precautions to ensure winter weather conditions and freezing temperatures don’t hurt their roofing jobs. These extra measures keep their employees safe and protect your commercial roof during the repair or replacement process.
Do We Recommend Scheduling Roof Replacements and Repairs During Winter?
Not quite. While Kirberg and other roofing contractors can perform these services during the winter months, it’s often safer to perform them during warm weather months, particularly summer. Metal roofing projects often work well in winter because their roofing materials don’t react to cold temperatures. All other commercial roofing projects, such as EPDM and TPO membrane repairs and replacements, should wait until the spring or summer, when the weather warms up and won’t affect the membranes’ conditions or roofing employees’ safety.
When Should You Check Your Commercial Flat Roof for Damage?
Check your commercial flat roof for damage periodically—at least twice a year. It’s best to check for roof damage in the summer or other warm weather months first. Why? As we mentioned above, it’s easier for contractors to perform flat roof repairs and replacements during warm weather. Also, it’s easier for you and your contractor to locate roof damage when your roof isn’t covered in snow and ice. Finally, checking for damage in the spring, summer, or fall allows you to find the damage and schedule repair or replacement services before cold weather arrives and makes it harder for your contractor to deliver those services.
What Types of Damage May Appear on Your Flat Roof?
When you check your flat roof for damage, it’s best to look for a few common signs before you call your roofing contractor. These common signs of flat roof damage include:
- Ponding water: If small pools of water form in different areas on your flat roof, it has ponding water. This sign of damage often accompanies poor roof drainage and leaks.
- Clogged gutters: If your roof has clogged gutters, it can’t drain water from your roof properly. When you notice your commercial roof has clogged gutters, contact your contractor immediately. If you don’t unclog your gutters before winter arrives, you may end up dealing with ice dams.
- Ice dams: Ice dams are most often a winter roofing problem. They occur around gutter clogs. In these situations, ice forms around the clog and grows larger and larger until it’s big enough to weigh the gutter down and pull it off the roof. Ice dams melt more slowly than snow does, so it’s best to unclog your gutters to prevent ice dams from forming.
- Broken flashings: Flashings fit over the seams of your flat roof membrane to prevent water from slipping beneath the membrane. If your roof’s flashings break, they can become detached from the membrane and allow avoidable water damage to form on your roof.
- Membrane damage: Sometimes, the roof membranes themselves can sustain damage. For example, TPO membranes can show cracks in their coatings after sustaining weather damage or large amounts of wear and tear. Similarly, EPDM membranes can visibly tear at the seams if they sustain lots of damage over time. We can repair these types of membrane damage with our roof restoration services, where we spray coatings onto existing membranes to add new layers of protection.
What Types of Flat Roofs Does Kirberg Replace and Repair?
We replace and repair EPDM, TPO, and built-up roof (BUR) membranes. The first two are single-ply rubber membranes, but the third membrane consists of several layers of granule-filled slag and reinforcement fabrics. We have the knowledge and resources to repair all three membrane types, despite their differences. We can repair them in winter, summer, or at any other time of year. What if you need a full roof replacement? We can assess your roof to ensure a replacement is the best course of action. Then we perform a proper installation with the new membrane. When we provide repair and replacement services, we customize them to fit your roof design and your commercial building’s needs.
When Is Your Roof Ready for a Replacement?
All roof membrane types have general lifespans. For example, EPDM and TPO roofs last about 10 to 20 years. Multi-layer BUR membranes last about 15 to 20 years, while BUR membranes with three to five layers often last about 10 to 15 years. If your building has one of these three membranes and the membrane is within the range listed for its roof type, you should consider replacing your roof. However, your commercial roof may need replacing before then for other reasons. For instance, your roof may need a replacement if it has sustained major damage in the wake of a severe storm. If your roof has extensive damage and you don’t know whether it needs repairs or a replacement, use this rule of thumb: Talk to your contractor and figure out how much the repairs will cost, then compare those costs to the cost of a roof replacement. If the repairs cost more than half as much as a replacement does, choose the replacement.
Replace or Repair Your Commercial Flat Roof With Kirberg
If you want to replace or repair your commercial roof during winter or before winter arrives, reach out to us today. We have the knowledge, experience, and resources to install a new roof or repair an existing one at any time of year.