Snow and Your Flat Roof

Posted by roofcoadmin January 4, 2019

Flat roofs get a bad rap, especially in areas with heavy precipitation and even worse: snow. You might think they’re a poor choice compared to a sloped alternative, but there are still options to prevent and deal with any issues that may arise.

The number one thing to remember with a flat roof is that you don’t have gravity on your side. Snow won’t fall or blow off as effectively as it would off a pitched roof, either. When snow drifts form on your roof, your first line of prevention should be ensuring your roof is reinforced before the first snowfall. Especially in areas with heavy snow fall, make sure you understand what reinforcements are in place to support your flat roof before it’s too late to do so. Once winter hits, you can set up regular maintenance by a professional, such as a Winnipeg roof snow removal service. If you were unable to shovel your driveway, you’d call in someone to do the job for you. Why not treat your roof with the same upkeep?

When professional snow removal isn’t possible, or if a bad snow drop occurs between removal dates, there are ways to do snow removal yourself. Products like long-handed rakes and shovels exist for pulling snow down off the roof. If you’re in a one-storey home, this is a decent option. If you need to involve ladders, use extreme caution. The last thing you want is to bury yourself with snow and ice, or to fall off, as you could be seriously injured. The goal is not to clear your roof, but to relieve some weight. It’s also not advisable to use salt products on your roof, as they may cause discoloration.

Because heat rises from directly under the roof rather than around the house, snow will often melt in the center. As it may be very slow to run off when melted, by the time it reaches the outer parts of the roof, the melted snow may refreeze. This process created an ice dam. The good news is that with rigid insulation and proper ventilation, you can prepare your roof to prevent these from forming and sticking around.

When snow melts, it operates like rain and flat roofs need effective alternative draining systems to encourage this. Even in the winter, you should be taking note of your gutters’ conditions.  Debris like leaves and twigs can still accumulate or be leftover from the fall if you weren’t vigilant with your upkeep. If for any reason your water isn’t being funnelled properly, water may freeze in your gutters, weighing them down, damaging them, and creating further blockage.

In case of rain accumulation, or if your draining systems were to become blocked or damaged, make sure your roof has been properly waterproofed with the appropriate sealants for your roofing materials. This is your first line of defense against precipitation. No matter which option you choose, you can never be too safe, contact a professional. Your roof will benefit from regular inspection all-year round, and winter is no different.