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Winter Roofing Challenges

It’s pretty standard for larger roofing projects to be taken care of from Spring to Fall when the weather is less challenging. This doesn’t mean roofing contractors can’t complete projects during the winter. This summary is here to assist in understanding the challenges and limitations associated with winter roofing projects and how Holland Roofing ensures a successful and safe service every time. 

When snow and ice accumulates on your commercial roofing system, the maximum weight (load) your roof can withstand starts to decrease. Most would think the easy fix would be to remove the snow and ice, but this can be more challenging than “easy” during the winter months. Personal injury is at a much higher risk, technicians move slower and are more aware of their surroundings when servicing a roof in the winter. The chances of slipping and falling are very high, and we take every precaution necessary to ensure we stay on our feet. 

So how do we remove the snow and ice from your roofing system? There are a few ways roofing contractors can handle this, each having its challenges and limitations. Let’s start with moving or shoveling off the snow like you would on your driveway. This process isn’t as simple as it sounds; your roof is commonly rubber or plastic, both materials that are more fragile when cold. Moving snow and ice on roofs creates the potential for cuts in the roof’s membrane. This can be caused by using metal shovels or moving too quickly when removing the snow. Ballasted (rock over EPDM) roofs can only be removed or placed when the ballast contains no icing. If the ballasted system freezes, moving the stone can cause more damage to the system when pulling away from the rubber membrane.

Another way to remove the snow and ice from your roof is melting it. Using rock salt, ice melter, or other related products can be an alternative to removing the snow and ice by hand. This method, however, can be very time-consuming and cause damage if the chemical mix is corrosive to the roofing type. Melting snow also creates a constant movement of water. Imagine working in the pouring rain, and the water is moving on your roof just like a storm, which causes increased complexity and labor time. In the winter months, heat rises and causes the snow to melt, even when temperatures are under 32 degrees, which creates that constant movement of water that can then lead to ponding, ice dams and clogged drains, scuppers and gutters.

Working and repairing roofs in the winter months are much more complex and labor-intensive. These challenges can increase labor by up to 3 times. There are ways to stay ahead of winter repairs, and it starts with inspecting your roof and engaging in a preventative maintenance program. Finding issues before they become problems is what Holland does. 

Have a roof leak? Give us a call and find out what makes Holland one of the largest roofers in the United States.