How Does Snow Affect A Roof?

How Does Snow Affect A Roof?

This year, climate change made a statement that Texas couldn't ignore. The state got hit with a historic storm that ravaged the region. Because Texas typically doesn't experience snow like this, many people and organizations were unprepared for it, and the result was physical damage, the loss of power, and even death across the state as people froze to death or even suffocated due to carbon monoxide poisoning by staying their cars in garages to keep warm.

For buildings, this has caught many people by surprise as it is usually the most significant threat. But snow can pose some serious risks for winter, especially if people aren't prepared to deal with it. Here's how snow can hurt your commercial property.

 

Leaks & Water Damage

 

If there are any leaks in your roof, you may not find out right away, but snow can exploit this. A leak means that warm air from the building is escaping, and any snow that makes contact with it will melt. Once it melts, it can drip into the building and slowly cause water damage to whatever it encounters inside.

Inside the building, this can mean water damage to structural components or, given enough time, creating a dark, damp environment that can nurture mold growth, which then becomes a potential health threat. Outside, however, melted snow that flows away from the leak can refreeze and become ice, which adds more weight issues to a roof.

 

Poor Insulation

 

If your roof has inadequate insulation or no insulation at all, then this will make for a very uncomfortable environment. Insulation is crucial in allowing a building's processed air—whether heated or cooled—to remain inside while the outdoor air stays outside.

From a monetary perspective, this means that cool or warm air is not easily leaking into the outside. So furnaces or air conditioners don't have to work as hard to maintain the environment. But without insulation, this means that heating or cooling units have to work much harder, resulting in higher utility bills every month. Snow settling on a poorly insulated roof means either very cold workers and equipment or higher heating bills if you have a heating system.

 

Collapse

 

Finally, snow is feather-light as a single flake, but it can acquire substantial weight when it accumulates. If that weight is unevenly distributed on a roof, then the roof may not have the structural reinforcement required to bear that load.

For example, in 2011, six were injured in Dallas/Ft. Worth at the Superbowl when uncharacteristically cold weather led to heavy snowfall. The Cowboys Stadium roof collapsed, dropping ice and snow on unsuspecting football fans.

If climate change continues, this means the area may experience more weather like this. Those that see the risk and prepare for it will literally weather the storm. Those that choose to ignore it will pay higher bills for repairs and reconstruction that could have been avoided.

If you want to prepare your roof, we can help. Contact Gulf Tex Roofing & Services. We'll get you ready for the changes coming from the climate.