Flat roofs have vulnerabilities that sloped roofs do not have, like a tendency to leak and become clogged with debris. This is a particular problem in winter when standing water and old foliage can lead to leaks and other problems. This is why winter care for flat rooftops can be very important.
Shovel off Snow
Snow trapped on a flat roof can be a problem for a variety of reasons. Snow is very weighty and flat rooftops are vulnerable to collapse, so it's best to remove snow rather than allow it to build up over time. In addition, slowly melting snow is tantamount to standing water on the roof, which can cause rot and lead to leaks.
To protect your flat roof from standing snow, shovel the roof frequently. Use a plastic shovel, rather than a metal one, to prevent the roof from becoming damaged. Before shoveling snow from off the roof, cordon off the area around the structure where the snow will be thrown. Station someone at the base of the home or building before beginning to shovel. This will prevent anyone walking nearby from becoming hit by falling snow.
Clear the Drains
Flat roofs often come with drains that are meant to prevent standing water from doing damage. However, drains on flat roofs can easily become clogged with leaves and other debris. To prevent the drains on your roof from backing up, sweep away any leaves and twigs covering the opening of the drain. If your roof's drain becomes clogged inside, remove the cover, then use a plumber's auger or snake to clear the drain. Once the drain has been cleared, use a hose to flush the drain with water. If the water in the drain doesn't back up, the drain has been successfully cleared.
Schedule an Inspection Before the First Big Storm
Compared to steeply sloped roofs, flat roofs are more likely to collapse under the weight of a heavy wet snow. To ensure that your flat roof can stand up to the weight of snow from a strong winter storm, have your roof inspected in early winter. Your roofing professional can assess the strength of your roof and alert you to vulnerabilities like old water damage. Upon completing the inspection, your roofing professional will tell you if your roof is ready for winter and make recommendations for any necessary repair.
With proper maintenance, your flat roof will be more likely to withstand even strong winter storms. For more information about caring for your flat roof, speak with your roofing professional when he comes to inspect your property.