How Does Winter Affect My Commercial Roof

Commercial Roof Damage Due to Winter

With the temperatures fluctuating day by day in the winter, commercial roofs can take a beating. During the winter, commercial roofs face below zero temperatures, ice, high winds, and tons of pressure from snow. Check out some of the different ways your commercial roof sustains damage throughout the winter.

Temperature Fluctuations

Most roofing materials are made to withstand the brutalities of winter. Winter months are potentially more destructive than summer due to ice and snow. Fluctuating temperatures between the peak daytime heat and overnight lows will wreak havoc on your roof over time and are the number one reason for roof failure.

As these temperatures go up and down, the materials on the exterior of your building expand and contract as they heat and cool.  The problem is that the different materials expand and contract at different rates. Your roofing material might expand and contract at different rates as well. This process causes stress where different building materials meet causing small cracks and holes over time at these stress joints.

This is not great, but then you add in water, from the snow that melts during the day, that gets into these holes and cracks, and then freezes and expands in these holes and cracks as the temperatures drop overnight. Over time the holes and cracks become larger and larger eventually resulting in a leak.

Ice Dams

Ice dams are ridges of ice that form at the edge of your commercial roof and prevent melting snow (water) from draining off your roof. These dams cause water to back up. As you read above, water that stays on your roof gets into holes and cracks causing more potential for leaks over time. Another problem with water not being able to drain properly off of a roof is the weight of it as it continues to accumulate with nowhere to go.

Snow Buildup

After a couple of heavy snowfalls, the amount of weight on your commercial roof is tremendous. This weight can result in leaks, damage to the structure, and in worst-case scenarios, total collapse of the roof. Commercial flat roofs can also experience free-thaw which is when the snow melts on the roof and seeps into holes and cracks, and as stated above, can cause severe damage to the roof. To prevent these types of damages during the winter, regularly remove snow from your flat roof.

Contact ARC Contracting for all of your commercial roofing needs in Appleton, Oshkosh, Fond du Lac, Green Bay, and De Pere areas. We offer commercial roof inspections, maintenance, repairs, and replacements.

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