How to Prepare & Maintain Your Flat Roof This Winter
There is a common myth among homeowners that flat roofs are less structurally sound and therefore more dangerous than sloped roofs. This is categorically untrue. Flat roofs are just as strong and water-resistant as sloped roofs. However, that resiliency does require a little help. Keeping your roof in good shape throughout the winter falls into two categories: Preparation and Maintenance. Check out the steps below to learn the steps to prepare your flat roof for the winter
Preparation: Be Proactive
- Get Cleaning
The snow has yet to fall, but that doesn’t mean you should sit around and wait for it to happen. Leaves and twigs and other debris can become a real issue if left alone throughout the winter. For starters this material can and will freeze which means when snow does fall, it will take longer to melt. Likewise, frozen leaves and other autumnal detritus will put a heavy burden on your roof, especially when water begins to pool on top of them. If those leaves are not cleared, it could lead to structural damage that will require lots of time and money to fix.
Clearing the roof is good, but if your drains are clogged then it will all be for not. Be sure to pay extra close attention to any drain hubs or other drainage areas around your roof and make sure they are good and clean. Likewise, it is recommended that you use a high-powered hose to clean out any drains. And, if that doesn’t work, then take a plumber’s snake and run it through those drains. It is imperative that you make sure you break up any clogs. If you don’t, then you could be the person this winter with an ice rink on their roof. Trust us, it’s not as fun as it sounds.
- Tree Prep
While this is true of any roof type, it is especially important for people who own homes with flat roofs. If there are any branches that hang over your roof cut them down, either on your own or by hiring professionals. High winds, heavy wet snow, and frigid temperatures can turn even the strongest of boughs into brittle twigs ready to snap at the next big gust. And for your sake and your homes, make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Give this trees a haircut and avoid the fall out, literally.
- Inspect, Inspect, Inspect
Alright, your roof has been cleared and cleaned. The trees have been cut back and the skies overhead are clear, what’s next? Simple, the last step to preparing your flat roof for winter is to make sure that it is physically ready for the season. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an expert to do this, just check for the following things:
- The obvious: check your roof for holes and indentations. Basically, if there’s a hole, patch it up. If there’s a spot on your roof that’s as soft as a ripe banana, call an expert.
- Checking the edges: You need to check the roof’s caulking along the flashes. Don’t know what that is? It’s ok. Those are just fancy terms for where the roof meets the wall. If you notice water damage on your ceiling right near the wall or in the corner of the room (this is typically where water damage occurs) then that means you may need to reseal that area. If you have experience with this then go on ahead and fix it up. If not, you may want to call in an expert. Prolonged water damage could lead to mold in your walls and ceiling and if that goes ignored for too long it could lead to bigger issues.
- The not-so-obvious: Keep an eye out for “blisters” on your roof. What this means is looking for areas where water has gotten under your roof. If you touch these spots and they feel mushy, like a blister, then that means the spot needs to be cut up, dried out, and resealed.
- This part will either be really simple or really difficult. It all comes down to how many of the above steps you do while you still can. Do them all, and the only maintenance that will be required all winter is that you go up after a particularly heavy storm and do some shoveling. No biggy. Fail to do any and all of the above steps and you could be in for a long winter. The choice is yours.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us as soon as possible.