Winter Forecast for Your Roof: Freeze. Thaw. Repeat.

In a year full of uncertainties, one thing is for certain – winter is coming. Many people enjoy the beauty of the winter season, but the bad news is it typically brings extreme cold temperatures, increased precipitation and high winds. Those weather elements are tough enough on us, but they can be even tougher on roofs.

Freeze. Thaw. Repeat.

Dramatic temperature fluctuations cause freezing, thawing and refreezing many times throughout the winter season. We all know water can easily seep into extremely small openings. It also expands as it freezes, which enlarges the opening. The resulting expansion and contraction from repeated freeze-thaw cycles can negatively affect the reliability of commercial roofs.

freeze and thaw on rooftops
ponding water

Ponding Water

When water resulting from melted snow and ice doesn’t properly drain or naturally evaporate, it has nowhere to go. Any water remaining on a roof for more than 48 hours is known as ponding water. Open seams and cracks allow ponding water to penetrate the roofing membrane. This can cause damage to roofing materials, lead to wet insulation and result in leaks.

winter time city roof tops


High winds any time of the year can result in damaged flashings, open seams and torn laps – all of which can cause roof leaks by allowing moisture to get into the building.

The good news is facility managers and building owners can get a step ahead of these winter weather events. Winter-related issues can be alleviated simply by having the roof professionally inspected and taking proper action to remedy any problems detected. Developing a plan for proactive roof maintenance during winter months has proven to pay for itself over and over again by helping to minimize roof repair expense and extend the useful life of the roof. Plus, having a plan in place can free up your time . . . maybe enough so that you can even go build a snowman.