Although it may seem a little early in the year to begin putting your winter plans into place, the earlier that you start preparing for potential problems, the longer you will have to safeguard your property against the harsher conditions. It will also give you plenty of breathing space to schedule any repair work you require around the current climate when many businesses are continuing to work from home or are still facing pandemic-related hurdles.
As a commercial property owner, it is vital to begin your winter preparations with areas that are most likely to get the brunt of adverse conditions; the main being the roofing system. With this in mind, we have put together a guide on how to prepare your roof for winter, which will run through each step required to minimise potential damage.
A Guide On How To Prepare Your Roof For Winter
Having spent many years working alongside a wealth of industries and business types, whether this may be retail, offices or warehouses, we have seen how much the winter weather can impact the condition of commercial properties. While in the UK, we are far luckier than other countries as we rarely experience heavy snow or below zero temperature drops, we are prone to lots of rainfall and heavy wind; both of which can begin to deteriorate building materials. However, you will be pleased to know that through adequate preparation in advance, you can protect your premises against winter conditions. We suggest beginning with the following steps:
- Schedule An Inspection
- Clean The Roofing & Guttering
- Repair Any Damage
- Check Insulation & Ventilation
- Evaluate Surrounding Areas
The first step towards winter-proofing your roofing system is to schedule a full inspection with a professional. This is key in highlighting any areas that are beginning to show the early stages of deterioration, as well as checking for hidden defects that you may not have noticed. In doing this as early as possible, you will have plenty of time to book for repair work to be completed before the weather changes, allowing them to be completed quickly and effectively with no problems along the way.
We would highly recommend pencilling an inspection into your diary at the end of summer or start of autumn every year, but even more so in the current climate. As many commercial properties have been somewhat abandoned for the past few months while staff have been working from home, it is more likely that they have picked up small issues which have been left unresolved. This means that your roofing will require an inspection now more than ever, as will many other sites. Moreover, as contractors will be significantly busier than usual, it is vital to ensure that you can get an appointment scheduled in before the winter months begin.
If you are yet to book your annual roofing inspection, then please do not hesitate to contact the GOCO Services team. We have continued to operate throughout the pandemic with strict safety processes in place, so are well-versed on how to complete tasks while complying with government guidelines. Inspections will always be booked for a date and time that works best for your business, minimising disruption and the need for contact with clients.
Cleaning both your roofing and guttering system is a vital maintenance task that will help to prepare your property for winter. It will ensure that any built-up dirt and debris, whether this may be leaves, branches or rubbish, have been cleared and the surface is free from any muck. In some instance, this may also include cleaning away any chemicals or harmful substances that have found themselves on your roof, preventing them from causing severe damage.
Failing to schedule gutter cleaning before winter, in particular, can have a detrimental impact on your property. Just some of the dangers include:
- Risk Of Ice Dams – If the guttering system is blocked with debris, then the chance of ice dams forming is heightened. This is because the debris will collect rainfall which means that when the temperature drops, they will freeze onto one large block of ice. Eventually, water will no longer be able to flow, increasing the likelihood that gutters will start to come away from the building.
- Foundation Cracking – The moment that the guttering becomes blocked and is no longer able to hold rainfall, the water will begin to overflow. The constant flow of water will cause pools around the foundations, which, when frozen, will expand and cause cracking.
- Roof Rotting – Blocked gutters not only cause the water to spill around the foundations but also onto the roof. The dampness of the roofing will lead to rotting, mould and mildew. Together, these can prove dangerous to those working inside your building, causing various health problems. For more information on this topic, take a look at Permagard.
If you would like more information on gutter and roof cleaning or would like to book in for this service, our GOCO Services team are always more than happy to help!
Once you have completed your roofing inspection and cleared away any debris, you should now have an accurate idea on whether you require any repairs. As mentioned previously, should repairs be necessary, these should be scheduled ahead of the winter months. This is because not only will the damage be more likely to worsen in harsher weather, but it will also become trickier for operatives to work in the conditions. The most common repair jobs for roofing are the following:
Repairing Cut Edge Corrosion
If you have a metal roofing system, then cut edge corrosion is an issue that you must be fully aware of and understand the warning signs. Cut edge corrosion is caused during the initial installation process yet is unlikely to show until months later. When initially manufactured, all metal roof sheets are complete with a plastic coating, which protects it against rust. However, during the installation process, it is common for sheets to be cut to size to fit with the building, leading the edges to no longer being equipped with a coating. This means that the moment that the roofing becomes exposed to adverse weather conditions such a rainfall, it will begin to erode, eventually spreading across the system. Not only does cut edge corrosion look unsightly, but it can also weaken your building.
Luckily, the above issue can be resolved through a specialist cut edge corrosion repair treatment, which is designed to restore roof sheets to their original condition. This is an incredibly common repair job for those with a metal roof and should most definitely be booked before the winter months. More information on metal protective coatings, along with their benefits, can be found in our previous article.
Although rare, a leak in your roofing system can be one of the most dangerous issues that you can experience and must be repaired immediately. It is vital to ensure that you book in with only qualified industry specialists who can complete the job to a high standard, preventing the issue from reoccurring in the future. Failing to fix a roof leak the moment that you notice the problem can lead to the following:
- Structural Damage – Anything from rafters and ceiling joints to framing and fascia boards can be damaged due to a leak. This means that your commercial property will no longer be structurally secure, causing significant dangers to anyone inside.
- Fire Hazards – Corporate premises are often filled with electricals, whether this may be computers or machinery, which means that any water that comes into contact with the inside of the property causes fire hazards.
- Increased Risk Of Injury – As a business owner, it is imperative that you do everything in your nature to protect your staff and visitors. A leak causes a plethora of injury risks from slipping to electric shocks.
Repairing Membrane Rips
If you have industrial roof sheets which are made from EPDM rubber, then you may experience rips in the membrane. While this is uncommon, roofing systems will inevitably begin to show signs of wear and tear with age, so without regular maintenance, problems such as ripping can occur. Failing to repair rips can come alongside a host of problems as it means that the roofing system is no longer watertight, eventually leading to the above issue of leaking.
Should you experience ripping of your roofing membrane, then it is entirely your choice as to whether you opt for repairs or a full replacement. Repairs will always be the most cost-effective option, and if completed by reputable operatives, will provide long-lasting results. However, if you do consider replacement, then we suggest taking a look at our previous article on the different types of commercial systems for guidance on your options.
Repairing Cracks & Blistering
A problem that you may experience regardless of the roof material type you have is cracking and blistering. These two issues often come hand-in-hand, which means that if you notice one, the other may be short behind. Blistering is caused when too much moisture is allowed to enter between layers of roof sheet; whereas, bubbling occurs when the moisture expands in higher temperatures. Unfortunately, if you are to notice either of these, the most effective way to repair the damage will be to schedule a replacement. Once replaced, to prevent this issue from reoccurring, it is vital to ensure that the system is protected with an industrial roof coating. The coating will offer complete durability and longevity of the materials, helping your building to remain problem-free in the future.
If you require additional information on potential commercial roof damage, then we suggest heading over to our guide on the topic, which will run through several common issues.
During the colder months, ventilation and insulation will be key in keeping your commercial building at a steady temperature. The insulation will be responsible for retaining heat in your premises while the ventilation will ensure that any excess moisture does not begin to cause an issue. Although the biggest problem with poor insulation is that your staff and visitors will feel a cold draft, poor ventilation, on the other hand, can come alongside a whole host of dilemmas. This is because, during the winter, condensation is more common as the indoor heat hits against the cold air from the outside. Without a constant flow of fresh air, this will lead to dampness and mould which, as mentioned previously, can cause a plethora of health issues.
With this in mind, it is advised to give both aspects of your roofing a once over ahead of winter. This, again, will provide you with plenty of time to schedule repairs or replacements before the harsher conditions begin to set in.
A factor that many fail to consider as the winter months approach is whether the areas surrounding their roofing may cause an issue. Trees, in particular, can be incredibly dangerous as the weather worsens, with old branches becoming increasingly weak. This means that the smallest gust of wind can cause these to break off and fall onto your roofing, blocking guttering, damaging the roof sheets or smashing roof windows. It is highly recommended to schedule regular landscape maintenance for your commercial property as this will allow you to keep any risks at a minimum. For more benefits of commercial landscaping, take a look at Land8.
Reliable Roofing All Year Round!
It is never too early to begin preparing for the winter months, particularly seeing as many commercial properties have been empty for the past few months. In remaining organised, you can have peace of mind that roofing systems will stay reliable and in good condition, regardless of the adverse conditions, it may be exposed to. If you require any assistance with roof maintenance or repairs, then please do not hesitate to contact GOCO Services. Our operatives have extensive knowledge in a vast range of systems such as felt flat roofs and industrial sheets, so will be able to pair you with the best-suited solution.