Snow on Roof

Natural disasters cost the United States more than $91 billion in 2018, and winter storms are one of the biggest culprits – affecting roofs with extreme winter weather conditions. (We’ve all seen our fair share of freezing rain and snow.)  

Are you ready? Below 0° temperatures have crushing implications on commercial roofs. But, the good news is that you can sail through the festive season without having to worry about a leaking roof as long as you know the basics!

Be prepared for the bitter winter chill by understanding which commercial roofing types stand up to winter weather. So, which roofs perform the best? Find out here.

Know Details About Your Roof

Do you know how old your roof is? 

Most business owners are taken aback by this question because information about the age of a roof is usually the last thing on most owners’ minds. But for good practice, keep this knowledge in your back pocket. For reference, most commercial roofing systems have an average lifespan of 10-20 years, if all factors remain constant.

Roofing experts will tell you that, in addition to the type of roofing material, this span depends on the kind of weather patterns the roof has endured over its lifetime. For example, in Ohio, the summers can get extremely hot and the winters can hit negative lows. This means that commercial roofs in the region may not survive the predicted full span of 20 years (especially when not well maintained).

If you stay ahead of problems, though, odds are that you won’t end up with a leaking roof in the middle of winter… which can be a nightmare (especially when the weather is too extreme to allow for even the most basic repairs).

Winter-Friendly Roofing Material 

As you prepare for the onset of the winter season, an inspection can save you from an unfortunate knee jerk reaction and the panic that comes with a leaking roof. Scheduling a professional roofing inspection of the entire roof can give a clear picture of lifespan and potential problems.  

Once you are sure of the actual situation, it’s easier to decide whether to repair or to replace. If the decision you make ultimately involves replacement, there are multiple roofing options to choose from that work well in a variety of weather conditions:

1. Commercial Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is a nice option when replacing your commercial roof. Durability is one of its greatest benefits, which is especially important during winter months, and metal has a lifespan of between 40 to 60 years if expertly installed.

Depending on the design of your roof, you may have several material options available to you: corrugated galvanized steel, aluminum, zinc, or metal tile sheets. Since metal roofs don’t require adhesives, they can be installed during cold weather months. 

Metal roofs also shed snow well. Most modern metal roofs include a protective surface layer to protect against corrosion. But, even without this layer, metal roofing can continually shed excess snow, which reduces the risk of corrosion.

If you already have a metal roof, like any other commercial roofing system, make sure to conduct routine inspections or work with a commercial roofing company to schedule regular preventative maintenance visits. Watch out for wear and tear, and ensure that the roof is securely attached to the building prior to the winter season. 

2. Thermoplastic PVC and TPO Roof Membranes

Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) and Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) present good options when dealing with adverse weather during winter. Both options can be installed throughout winter months because single-ply materials can be mechanically fastened by welding the product as opposed to applying adhesive. 

Snow is slow to damage TPO and PVC. The cold does not affect the fittings because of the sealing process and the products themselves are extremely cost-effective.

It should also be noted that PVC and TPO are among the most energy-efficient commercial roofing types thanks to their white reflective surface (which keeps your business’ interior temperature stable no matter the season).

Like any other commercial roofing system, PVC and TPO roofing systems should be inspected regularly. The roof may require minor repairs to the membrane in the event of damages. But luckily, repairs (like installation) can be done throughout any season or weather condition. 

Roofing Material That Can’t Be Replaced in Winter

Not all commercial roofing material can be installed or replaced during cold winter months.

Commercial EPDM Membrane

Flat roofs often use rubber material like ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM), and this particular roofing option uses adhesive to bond the material to the roof structure.

Since cold weather can cause issues with the adhesive, most commercial roofing companies avoid this type of installation or repair until temperatures rise. In the event of an emergency situation, a qualified professional will be able to suggest an alternative solution until the weather cooperates enough to provide a permanent fix.

Is Your Business Ready for Winter?

As a business owner, it can be frustrating to deal with the many unexpected costs that emerge thanks to weather conditions. 

Prepare in advance of the snowstorm that will inevitably come your way by KNOWING what commercial roofing type you have, how old it is and if there are areas of concern that need to be addressed.

Looking for an expert to maintain or install a new roof? Contact us for honest advice and knowledgeable insight.