How To Prepare Your Flat Or Low-Pitch Roof For Winter

If you live in an area that receives snow during the winter and your business has a flat or low-pitch roof, it is important to prepare and protect your roof from snow fall damage. A flat roof, or a roof with less than a 30 degree pitch--which is a rise of 4 inches per foot--creates a risk to your commercial property. When temperatures do not warm up enough to melt the snow off your roof after a snow storm, or the snow can not slide from your roof, the snow can create too much weight. For this reason, it is a good idea to go on your roof before winter arrives to prepare and check your roof. Here are some tips to help you get your flat or low-pitch roof ready for winter snow. 

Maintain and Clean Your Roof

Sweep up and remove any dirt, leaves, and other debris that have accumulated on your roof over the summer. Also, check and clean out your roof drains of debris that may be blocking water drainage. Then, check that the insides of each drain and downspout are not blocked with debris. Turn on a hose into each drain to make sure the water freely exits out of each downspout. This will help prevent snow melt backing up and remaining on your flat roof to cause water leaks and damage. 

If you do find a downspout has become clogged, feed your garden hose up the bottom of your downspout to the clog, or as far up as you can reach. Turn the water on full blast and wiggle the hose around inside the downspout to dislodge the clog. If you are not able to dislodge the clog with your hose, you can use a plumber's snake to clear the clog.

Then, check the roof drains, or scuppers to make sure they are not clogged with any debris. Make sure your roof has adequate scuppers for drainage. You should have at least two scuppers for every 10,000 square feet of roof space. Then, you should check and clean any debris from your scuppers every three months or after a severe storm.

Have an Emergency Plan for Snow

Also, have an emergency plan in place to remove snow from your roof before it becomes too heavy. When it begins to snow and weather forecasters have predicted a total snowfall of six inches or more, have a plan and be ready to clear off your roof when snowfall levels reach three inches. When you wait too long, the snow will become too heavy on your roof to accommodate the added weight of snow removal equipment and people. And as the snow gets deeper, it can also be dangerous for your or others to be on the roof safely. You can hire a snow removal company to handle this task, or do the work yourself as long as you work smart to avoid any injuries.

To do your own clean-off from your roof during a heavy snowfall, make sure you are wearing snow boots with adequate traction so you don't slip and fall while you are working. Also, wear appropriate winter gear for the work.

Then, you can use a snow blower, ice melt, and plastic snow shovels to clean off your roof and avoid damaging your roof. When you use a snow blower to clear your roof, make sure the rotating blades do not come in contact with your roofing materials, as it can damage them. Also, sprinkle ice melt around and down inside drains and downspouts to prevent snow melt from refreezing when temperatures drop. This will help your roof continue to drain properly.

These tips can help you make your roof ready for winter.Contact a local professional, such as RTN Roofing Systems, for more information.