Flat commercial roofs are especially vulnerable to leaks in the winter. This is because, unlike sloped roofs, the water from snow and rain is more likely to stay trapped on the roof. By maintaining good drainage, repairing the caulk as necessary and by removing snow build up, you can prevent leaks on your flat roof.
Clean and Recaulk
This is a good activity to complete before the roof is covered in snow for the season. On a dry afternoon, go onto the roof of your commercial building and sweep or rake up all dry leaves and debris. Focus on keeping the area around drains clear so that melting snow and ice has somewhere to go when it melts. Once all the debris has been cleared off, check the caulk around the seams and edges of the roof. Scrape out any caulk that has become cracked or damaged in some way, then replace the caulk with a bead of fresh roofing caulk.
Maintain Good Drainage
Look for standing puddles of water on the roof after a rain or snow. These puddles are indicative that the roof's drainage system has a clog. When this happens, water on the roof has nowhere to go and is more likely to penetrate the roof's sheathing. To fix the problem, remove the drainage cover over the pipes leading from the roof, then use a plumber's auger to unclog the stopped up drain. You'll be able to tell when the clog has been fixed because the standing water on the roof will suddenly flow through the pipe once again.
Remove Heavy Snow
Heavy standing snow puts a lot of pressure on your roof, and can also lead to roof leaks in the vulnerable areas of your roof. You can remove heavy deposits of snow yourself, or you can hire a professional roofer to do it for you. If you decide to remove the snow yourself, avoid throwing snow over the side of building. If you must throw snow over the side of the roof, be sure to block off the area around the perimeter of the building to prevent customers and passerby from being hit by falling snow.
Have Your Roof Inspected
Another good way to avoid a roof leak this winter is by having your roof inspected by a professional roofer. He or she can tell you whether or not your roof is in suitable shape to last the winter and if not, how you can best protect your roof from leaks. Click here for more information, or talk to your commercial roofing company.