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Commercial Roof Maintenance: Enhancing Performance Against the Elements

Posted by Art Valentz on May 26, 2021

With the heat of the summer on the horizon, it’s natural to start thinking about commercial roof maintenance and how to combat the destructive effect of full-strength sunlight. The truth is that every season has its own set of weather-related concerns that can wreak havoc on your roof and rooftop structures. The key to preventing damage is developing and perfecting a robust maintenance plan that will protect your roof, no matter the season. From pounding rain and harsh winds to hot sun and chilling ice, we discuss how the elements can affect your roof and what you can do to combat the effects of these events.

Conduct Roof Maintenance During Spring and Fall to Resist the Effects of Summer and Winter

If your commercial roof is located in an area with seasons—in other words, with seasonal weather patterns that vary widely as the year goes along—then you’ll want to prepare when the weather is mild. Thunderstorms, heatwaves, and blizzards do more than just break down your commercial roof—they also make it difficult and potentially dangerous to conduct commercial roof maintenance. Sending contractors to the rooftop when it’s over 80 degrees risks heatstroke. Sending them out when it’s below freezing means risking frostbite (not to mention slip-and-falls).

For these reasons, it may not be best to spread commercial roof maintenance evenly throughout the year. Instead, you might want to conduct an inspection schedule as follows:

  •   Early Spring

This is a good time to assess and repair damage that may have occurred due to below-freezing weather conditions. While you should have been conducting quick inspections after major snowstorms, this may be the first month that you can safely conduct more thorough roof maintenance and repairs. Look out for low spots in the roof caused by the weight of heavy snow, leaks caused by ice dams at the roof edge, roof membranes stressed by freezing and thawing, and any flashings that might have separated from penetrations.

  •   Late Spring-Early Summer

Now, and before the weather gets dangerously hot, is a good time to start implementing plans to mitigate UV and thunderstorm damage to your roof during the summer. For example, you might add reinforcements to your roof to safeguard against uplift. If you’re more worried about heat, you might paint your roof white to mitigate the effects of UV radiation while passively cooling your roof. This can lower your energy costs in addition to preventing UV damage!

  •   Mid-Late Summer

This is the time to go into survival mode. It may be too hot or inclement to perform much more than basic or emergency commercial roof maintenance. If a tree branch falls on your roof, you need to fix it. If you started a project in early summer, you need to finish it. Now is probably not the best time to start that big project, however.

  •   Autumn

Just as spring was a good time to diagnose and repair specific damage caused by winter, early fall is the best time to mitigate specific damage caused by the summer months. For example, intense UV exposure can use the roof membrane to shrink, which leaves gaps between panels where water can get in. It can also cause membranes to become faded and brittle—best to replace it when this happens. If you noticed pooling water during summer’s thunderstorms, now is the time to fix the roof pitch or install new drains.

  •   Winter

What you do during winter is going to depend on your state’s winter readiness. If you have a lot of snowstorms, then you probably have a crew of experienced people on hand who can perform commercial roof maintenance activities such as inspecting for ice dams or shoveling snow off the rooftop. If your winters are milder, it may be better to send your roof into hibernation, inspecting and maintaining the roof only when you’re certain that ice, snow, and cold temperatures don’t pose a hazard for your workers.

Make Commercial Roof Maintenance Easier with Rooftop Supports from PHP Systems/Design

Rooftop supports from PHP Systems/Design make year-round inspection and maintenance both safer and easier. Our supports are designed to rest on the rooftop with non-penetrating applications, preventing them from damaging the roof surface. Made of hot-dip galvanized steel and polypropylene bases with UV inhibitors, you can rest assured that PHP products will stand up to the elements for years and years. With our supports, your workers will always have a safe passageway above ice, snow, and debris, allowing them to inspect and maintain the rooftop no matter what the weather is like. Building custom roof walkway systems can make maintenance a breeze—and we’re here to help when you’re ready.

Topics: Roofing Maintenance

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