The roof of your building may be the only thing standing between the goods in your business and Mother Nature's wrath. And as evidenced by the mega-snowstorm that hit Buffalo in November 2014, Mother Nature can wreak tremendous havoc on roofs. But it's not just snow that can damage a roof -- wind, heavy rain combined with an aging structure can also be a recipe for disaster. Surprisingly, as important as roofs are for keeping businesses and their contents safe and secure, it's easy to forget about them until something goes terribly wrong. If your area has just been blasted by a severe thunderstorm, tornado, heavy snowfall or ice, it may be time to have your roof renovated.
Snow and Ice Damage
Snow appears light and fluffy as it falls from the sky. But on a roof, it can quickly pile up. According to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, most roofs can carry approximately four feet of fresh snow or two feet of packed-down snow before they become stressed under all that weight. That may sound like a lot of snow, but during the November 2014 record snowstorm in Buffalo, an incredible seven feet of snow fell on rooftops in just three days.
Not surprisingly, approximately 30 major roof collapses and 90 minor ones—those involving small structures—were reported after that storm. As for ice, it only takes a small amount to stress out your roof as one inch of ice is the equivalent of approximately one foot of snow. If your area should suffer either a large snowfall or multiple snowstorms, you should:
- Clean off your roof, but only if you can do so safely and without damaging your roof. Most officials recommend that you don't climb onto your roof to clean it as this can be extremely dangerous. If you can't easily clean off your roof from the ground or from an open window, hire a professional service to do so for you.
- Prevent ice dams. If possible, you need to at least clear away the snow from around your gutters and the eaves of your roof so that you can prevent ice dams from forming. These dams occur when ice forms along the eaves and then melting snow from higher up on the roof backs up and leaks into your business.
- Evacuate the building immediately, if you are hearing creaking or popping noises or if you notice new cracks in the walls.
- Call a roof renovation service, like John Criner Roofing Inc, if you have experienced a significant snowfall that you believe could have seriously damaged your roof. Have the service inspect your roof for damage. If the service discovers a lot of structural issues caused by the weight of the snow, it may be time to have your roof completely renovated.
Tornadoes and Other Severe Wind Storms
Wind storms can damage your business's roof in a number of ways. They can cause trees or large limbs to fall on your roof, tear shingles off or even lift roofs completely from a building. That is why it is important to have a service come out after a storm to inspect your roof after a violent storm. And it's not just tornadoes or hurricanes that can cause serious damage to your roof. Severe thunderstorms and straight-wind derechos can also destroy a roof. Before hiring a contractor to make repairs, you should:
- Avoid hiring anyone that just shows up at your door. Storm chasers will typically do a poor job on your roof or may even take your money without performing any work.
- Ask for licenses and insurance information from any roofing contractor that you hire.
If you believe your roof has been damaged by a storm, it is important to get it fixed immediately and by a reputable company. Otherwise, you could risk large leaks or structural failures that could endanger your employees and the contents of your business.