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How to Weatherproof your Roof

Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent. These can range from snow and ice to wind and rain or even searing heat. The roof of your commercial building is the first line of defence against the elements.

When your site is susceptible to storms of any sort, don't throw caution to the wind. It's easy to forget your roof is up there – until it's not.

Access:
A safe roof system starts with suitable access. This means you should be able to safely get there in most conditions and with tools. Ask yourself if a tradesperson can get there safely carrying his/her kit. There are stringent health and safety codes around access and compliance is essential. People need access not only to service plant items, but also to inspect the roof without causing damage.

Inspect:
A regular inspection can help ensure damage doesn’t occur. You need to be able to inspect your roof without walking on it, as this can cause indentations where water may pool. This can then lead to the growth of algae, and to corrosion. It can also put stress on screws and other fixings, which may ultimately lead to failure.

Keep your roof clean:
It's good to be meticulous when keeping interiors in tip-top shape, but the exterior and roof are also important – particularly in relation to serious weather events. Debris can cause water to pool, and trap hail and snow, which can lead to water damage inside your building. This is where a good access system is useful to keep your roof clean. When inspecting your roof:
– Look for damages or signs of wear and tear.
– Check for fungus and algae.
– Inspect for rust. If present, wire brush the rust, then prime and paint.
– Remove debris, as it can trap snow and lead to roof collapse.
– If you see signs of leakage within the building, take action immediately. Roof leaks get worse, not better, and it is wiser to spend money on maintenance than on repairs. Prevention is the best medicine.

Ensure fixtures are correctly fitted:
Anything you fix to the roof must be correctly attached. Even small structures like ladders or air-conditioning units can increase the surface area, catching wind and applying pressures or tensions to your roof. To avoid this, ensure add-ons are fixed to the building structure, not directly to the roof.

Walkway systems should use an open mesh so rainwater does not collect and wind can also pass through. An open mesh has far less wind resistance, so will not lift your roof in high winds. See Monkeytoe walkways and condenser mounts.

Snow guards and leaf guards:
Your gutters are your first defence when it comes to heavy downpours. If these become blocked with leaves or snow, they may overflow and leak into your building.

If snow melts and then refreezes, it can crack pipes as it expands in the freezing process. You can avoid this by fitting raised snow guards that allow the snow to melt away underneath.

See our snow guards.

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