When colorful Autumn leaves fall in preparation for that wintertime chill, people scramble to finish their roofing projects. Before a storm hits isn’t the only time you’ll need to pay attention to your roof, though. You also need to give it some TLC after snowfall.

Before the Winter Rolls Around Again

Specific issues should be addressed by a professional before it’s too late:

  • Does sheet metal have to be installed right away? Hire a contractor to get it done while the weather’s still warm.
  • Roof drains should be installed and attached to storm sewers.
  • Drains should be set in a sump, which is a lowered area that has thin insulation. That way, the building’s heat will melt any snow or ice where the drain is located.

It’s possible that you’ll need temporary roofing to get you through the wintertime. Not sure if this is necessary for your building? Answer these questions:

  • Do you need more time than you have to install a roof system that will be permanent?
  • Is there going to be a long spell of cold weather, rain or snow?
  • Do you have to keep materials stored on the deck of the roof?
  • Is there a lot of work that has to be done on the roof’s deck and your roofing contractor needs to hire more experts?

After a Winter Storm

Beware of walking on a roof immediately following bad weather. Single ply membrane roofing can be particularly slippery when it’s wet. Remember, light colored roofing melts ice more slowly than dark colored roofing. Also, if there are photovoltaic solar panels on the roof, there will be limited space to walk, which could increase the risk of slipping and falling.

Not everything can wait until the spring, though. If HVAC or rooftop equipment was affected during the storm, repairs need to be made as soon as possible. If there is wind damage or if ice is still falling, electrical hazards are a concern. Ideally, emergency crews that are equipped with properly insulated helmets, gloves and boots will be able to take care of any damage. Regardless of who decides to repair the roof, plastic shovels should be used instead of metal ones, which could damage the roof.

If the roof itself must be repaired, thermoplastic roof membranes can sometimes be welded with heat. Since heat welders run on electricity, this is hazardous when everything’s still wet. If you have a professional roofer make the repair, they’ll have grounded generators so that wet cables aren’t a concern. Otherwise, it’s best to use an emergency patch temporarily. When the weather’s nicer, the patches will have to be replaced, but they’ll at least get you through the wintertime. Sometimes duct tape can be used as a patch in a pinch if single ply membranes are exposed.

A Couple More Thoughts…

Leaks in the roof can be extremely difficult to locate, even with devices that are meant to detect moisture. The best thing you can do is prevent leaks before they even occur. You can do this by having puncture-resistant membranes installed. Also, drains should be kept free of debris, particularly during the wintertime.

Nick Simpson is Social Media Coordinator at Blindsgalore, a leading provider of plantation shutters with different colors and more.

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