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The Effects Winter Weather Can Have on your Commercial Roof

As all Wisconsinites should know, the weather in the Midwest is notoriously temperamental, and the winter months are certainly no exception. Winter weather, in addition to dangers like snowstorms, power outages, and icy roads, can have a significant effect on your commercial flat roof. As a business owner, having a sturdy roof to safeguard your staff, clients, products, equipment, and other precious assets is critical. It's crucial to understand how winter weather can affect your roof and what warning signals to look out for throughout the season.

Heavy snow

If you've ever shoveled snow, you know how rapidly it can accumulate. Flat roofs are ideal places for snow to land and pile up, potentially causing drifts on top of your building. Heavy snow or snow drifts can place an unsafe amount of weight and stress on your roof, despite the fact that quality flat roofs are supposed to be robust. This weight may cause your roof's structural integrity to deteriorate, resulting in leaks or bowing.

While normal snowfall isn't dangerous in and of itself, mounds and drifts should be avoided by clearing your roof on a regular basis. It's also critical to inspect your roof for damages following blizzards and other extreme weather events and to remove snow and ice as soon as possible. If you suspect, there is too much weight on your roof- call Interstate Roofing and ask about our portable commercial steamer to come help remove the built-up ice and snow.

Ice Dams

Ice dams can form on roofs with any type of slope. This happens when the temperature in your commercial building's attic rises above freezing, melting the ice or snow on your roof. If your roof has a slope, this water could run off and freeze again once it hits a colder location. A ridge of ice, often known as an ice dam, can form if runoff continues to stop and freeze at this point. As a result, water could leak through your roof causing structural damage. It's critical to ensure that your roof is properly insulated to avoid the formation of ice dams.

Varying cold to warm temperatures

Winter in the Midwest is unpredictable; it might feel like spring one day and then drop 30 degrees the next. This cycle of freezing and thawing can damage your roof when the water melts and then freezes. Water can seep into gaps and then expand, which can be detrimental to its integrity. While you won't be able to stop the water cycle, you can ensure that your roof's seals and flashing are in good working order during an annual fall inspection with Interstate Roofing.

Heavy winds

Although flat roofs do not have the shingles that are commonly associated with wind damage, it is normal for a flat roof to have elements such as HVAC units positioned on top of the structure. Strong winds could damage these units if they don't have sufficient flashing around them, causing damage to your roof. When installing the HVAC unit, it's critical to hire experienced professionals like Interstate Roofing for the install. Additionally, the flashing around the unit, as well as any other elements on top of your roof, should be evaluated on a regular basis, especially before the winter season to avoid damage.


Proper ventilation is required to prevent condensation from causing damage to your roof. Condensation occurs when warm air from the attic contacts a cold surface (your roof), but it isn't a problem if you have adequate ventilation. Yet, it's possible that there won't be enough ventilation, causing water to collect and produce leaks or ice dams. To avoid this problem, make sure you have a sufficient ventilation system in place in addition to checking the seals on your roof before winter.

Signs of Damage to Look For

If you find any new leaks, cracks, or discolored spots on your ceiling, your roof is likely damaged and needs to be fixed. If any portion of your building — notably walls, beams, or your roof — is bowing, it's a sure sign that something is wrong. If you have a buildup of icicles, you probably have ice dams as well. Ice dams happen when icicles in your gutters prevent water from draining properly, resulting in a buildup of ice on your roof.

If you have not had a chance to get up on your roof and clear snow or ice and fear ice dams are forming, don’t hesitate to call Interstate Roofing and ask about our portable commercial steamer. This steamer allows for a touch-free steam service to melt and remove built-up snow and ice from your roof, ensuring a safe and effective way to maintain your building’s integrity throughout these frigid winter months.

If you have any questions about the roof steamer or are ready to schedule a service, please call Interstate Roofing at (608)783-2106

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