The Importance of Snow Removal for Flat and Residential Roofs

Nov 29, 2020Winter Roofing

People cannot be impartial to flat roofs; we either love them or hate them. Whatever your opinion is, at the end of the day, flat roofs are an excellent option for any home or commercial development. They are a very stylish and practical solution that can save you a lot of time and effort on maintenance and repair. However, everything in life has its weaknesses. When it comes to flat roofs, snow is their number one enemy.

To teach our readers how to take care of a flat roof in winter, we are going to share with you the importance of snow removal as well as the importance of proper insulation and roof vents. Here is what you should know:

THE DANGERS OF ICE DAMS

Unlike other roof types, flat roofs don’t have gravity at their advantage. If snow suddenly falls in Calgary, as it frequently does, a flat roof won’t be able to remove it as easily. Instead of the snow naturally falling to the ground, it will sit on top of the flat roof until it turns into liquid and finds its way to a drain.

Another disadvantage of flat roofs is that some of them are insulated from the roof deck up, which means some don’t come with attics. What happens is the heat from inside your house will travel upward and directly influence the flat roof’s surface temperature. If there is snow on the surface and you don’t have adequate insulation, the snow and ice may start its thaw cycle all on its own. Baring your roof is not maintained correctly, the melted snow will have nowhere to go, and so it will get trapped on the roof, leaving any open seals and vents prone to water damage. The water then freezes again, causing any openings to burst open due to the expansion of the ice. Without proper drainage, this may lead to an ice dam.

Ice Damn on roof in calgary
Ice Damn on roof in calgary

THE DANGERS OF ICE DAMS

Unlike other roof types, flat roofs don’t have gravity at their advantage. If snow suddenly falls in Calgary, as it frequently does, a flat roof won’t be able to remove it as easily. Instead of the snow naturally falling to the ground, it will sit on top of the flat roof until it turns into liquid and finds its way to a drain.

Another disadvantage of flat roofs is that some of them are insulated from the roof deck up, which means some don’t come with attics. What happens is the heat from inside your house will travel upward and directly influence the flat roof’s surface temperature. If there is snow on the surface and you don’t have adequate insulation, the snow and ice may start its thaw cycle all on its own. Baring your roof is not maintained correctly, the melted snow will have nowhere to go, and so it will get trapped on the roof, leaving any open seals and vents prone to water damage. The water then freezes again, causing any openings to burst open due to the expansion of the ice. Without proper drainage, this may lead to an o the expansion of the ice. Without proper drainage, this may lead to an ice dam.

Snow Load on a roof in valley ridge

THE DANGERS OF SNOW LOAD

Another dangerous possibility is roof collapse. When the weight of the snow and ice on the roof get heavier than the maximum weight the roof was designed to take, cracks and collapse are almost inevitable. Other situations where the roof might collapse from too much snow are:

  • An old and deteriorating roof that’s unable to carry the weight it was supposed to 
  • Sudden rainfalls add extra weight to the already burdened roof.
  • Strong winds that move the snow from one part of the roof to another
  • Improper drainage systems and low roof maintenance

HOW TO PREVENT DAMAGE?

Of course, if your house has quality insulation, drainage, and venting systems, the possibility of the previous scenarios happening is almost zero. However, we have to emphasize the word “quality.” Inadequate roof vents or insulation can do more harm than good for your flat roof. 

You may not know when one of these protective systems will get damaged or stop working. That’s why the safest way to protect your flat roof during winter is regular snow removal and maintenance. You can use roof rakes to push out the snow, or you can contact expert snow removers and roofers to help you out.

Whatever you choose, remember that snow removal is the most efficient way to keep your flat roof healthy and functional. Another way to avoid snow damage on your flat roof is to take action before winter starts. When it comes to flat roofs, the areas you need to focus on are:

  • Waterproofing
  • Improving insulation
  • Cleaning the gutters
  • Installing quality roof vents
Woman cold inside her calgary home
Couple with a leaking roof from winter damage

HOW TO PREVENT DAMAGE?

Of course, if your house has quality insulation, drainage, and venting systems, the possibility of the previous scenarios happening is almost zero. However, we have to emphasize the word “quality.” Inadequate roof vents or insulation can do more harm than good for your flat roof. 

You may not know when one of these protective systems will get damaged or stop working. That’s why the safest way to protect your flat roof during winter is regular snow removal and maintenance. You can use roof rakes to push out the snow, or you can contact expert snow removers and roofers to help you out.

Whatever you choose, remember that snow removal is the most efficient way to keep your flat roof healthy and functional. Another way to avoid snow damage on your flat roof is to take action before winter starts. When it comes to flat roofs, the areas you need to focus on are:

  • Waterproofing
  • Improving insulation
  • Cleaning the gutters
  • Installing quality roof vents

If you have any concerns or simply don’t know when is the right time for snow removal, feel free to give us a call. We are a family-owned roofing company with over 23 years of experience in flat and residential roofing. Our team is happy to help and ready to secure your flat roof.

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