A flat roof can be a wonderful asset during summer, expanding your living space and giving you your own private rooftop getaway. But if you want to be able to enjoy it worry-free for years to come, when fall and winter come around you need to take the proper steps to maintain it.
These five tips can help you prepare your flat roof before and during winter, and help you rest easy during even the fiercest blizzards and ice storms.
1. Make Sure the Roof is Clear of Debris
As autumn draws to a close, make sure that your roof deck is clear of debris, including fallen tree branches, garbage, and leaves.
Given how warm November was across much of North America, leaves have been falling more slowly, and it is possible that leaf debris may still be an issue, and before the snow starts to fall, you’ll want to make sure the roof is clean.
2. Clear the Drains
A clear drain is essential if you want to avoid ponding water following autumn storms and winter thaws, so clear out gratings by hand to prevent the build-up of dirt that can cause blockages.
If your scupper is clean but water is still not draining away, there may be a blockage inside. In this case, renting a snake or hiring a plumber is the best way to break up any debris that might be clogging up the pipes.
3. Check for Holes in Membrane and Caulking
Roofing membranes are generally quite tough, but they can suffer damage over time as holes, rips, and tears form, especially along the seams where two rolls of membrane meet.
Once you’ve swept the roof, check thoroughly for any damage that could cause leaks during the winter, and make sure the caulking around chimney stacks and edges is intact. If you notice any damage, call Professional Roofers to make sure the issues are dealt with as quickly as possible.
4. Don’t Shovel the Snow
There is a common misconception that the extra weight of snow on your roof can cause damage to your house. Flat roofs are built to hold significant amounts of weight, and even a few feet of snow will not be a problem.
In fact, a build-up of snow can actually be beneficial, insofar as it adds an extra layer of insulation, making your home more energy efficient and possibly even reducing your heating bills.
5. Undertake Regular Roof Inspections
If you live in an area that experiences frequent fluctuations in temperature over the course of the winter, you’ll want to keep an eye on your roof to make sure snowmelt isn’t ponding in low areas.
During warm spells, snow often melts faster on open areas of the roof while the drains themselves remain frozen. If patters of freezing and thawing continue, it can lead ice to build up around the scuppers and leave your roof vulnerable to water damage. Breaking the ice will help the water drain away more quickly, so make sure to undertake regular inspections when the temperatures rise.
While flat roofs offer many benefits, they do require more maintenance, especially during the autumn and winter. But by cleaning it thoroughly, inspecting for damage, and checking on the drains following any thaws, you can ensure that your roof will keep your house warm and dry all winter long.