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November 01, 2018

How Snow and Ice Affect a Commercial Roof

There are some major implications when it comes to snow and ice affecting a commercial flat roof.

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Excess Weight

As snow accumulates on a flat roof, it naturally adds weight to the roof. That can create a heavy burden for the roof to bear and can seriously affect the building's structural integrity. “Too much snow” varies by building and roof, but if snow on your roof can be measured in feet, it might be prudent to have it removed – using equipment that won’t damage the underlying membrane, of course.

Water Damage

Water penetration and damage is another negative result that can come about from snow and ice being on a commercial roof. Freeze-thaw cycles put pressure on seams and flashings, and water underneath a rooftop snow pack can seep through tiny cracks and holes. One potential result that might not show up for months: the development of mold inside your building that can be very difficult, expensive, and time-consuming to remediate.

Interior Building Consequences

Snow and ice on a commercial flat roof can also have an impact on the building interior. For example, snow and ice can negatively affect the plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems. The ceiling can experience cracks and other damage. Walls and beams may buckle and weaken.

Ice Effects

As water accumulates on a roof around its edge, ice and icicles can form, which can damage gutters as well as impede water flow. There are also safety issues to be concerned about when it comes to snow and ice on a commercial roof. Chunks can break off and fall to the ground below. That is, needless to say, a safety problem.

If the right materials are chosen for your climate and the roof system is installed properly by a competent contractor, it should protect your building throughout the winter months for many years. However, you should remain diligent about the potentially negative impact that snow and ice can have on your roof and other parts of your building.

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