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Effects of Winter & Snow on Your Flat Roof

Effects of Winter & Snow on Your Flat Roof

November 30, 2019

Old Man Winter is about to wake-up from his seasonal slumber, which means icy temperatures, snow, and roof maintenance. A forward-thinking commercial building owner will ask, ‘what are the effects snow will have on my flat roof’? A flat roof comes with many advantages, but in the winter, the roof is a repository for snow based on the flat design. Roof snow removal should be part of your roof maintenance plan that is administered by a commercial roofing professional. At Integrity Roofers, we feel that an educated consumer is our best customer, and we would like to share our knowledge to help you maintain your flat roof this winter.

Damages Snow Causes to Flat Roofs

Ponding and Bowing

Snowfall is inevitable in the winter; it builds on a flat roof surface, and it exerts a strain on the roof from the extra weight. Pressure on the roof will cause the joists and trusses to buckle, and the ponding problem is born. Once low spots have been created, water from the snow will increase pressure, and it will affect secondary systems. HVAC units and other electrical systems that operate the building can be interrupted, causing work to stop in the facility.


Snowmelt creates ponding when snow isn’t removed immediately from your roof. The water can evaporate in the daytime temperatures, but more often than not, it will refreeze. When ice forms, expansion ensues, and it is forced into cracks and crevices. This situation creates further damage to a roof as the water and ice create breaks in the roof liner, opening it up to leaks. Ice damming in Toronto is the cause of the problem here.


Damage is caused by snowmelt and water. Leaks will be the result due to the damage ponding causes. The low spots on the roof will see water sit and ice form, once that happens, leaks will be created. By the time you have identified a leak, it has had a long period to inflict damage to your roofing system. Leaving snow on the roof is asking for trouble, and the load can be what causes your roof to collapse. An expensive roof leak repair to your roofing system is the result, and it is preventable by removing the snow load on your flat roofing system.

Other Signs of Damage

In the winter, a flat roof presents challenges to keep it maintained, and the need for vigilance has never been more important. With every snowfall, an inspection of the roof is the best course of action, but there will be signs of trouble if you don’t

When you see cracks in the ceiling of your building or sagging in spots of your roofing system, you have damage.

Walls that appear to be buckling or bowing or beams that are no longer level will tell you that your problems are more significant than they appear

The lighting system and sprinkler system will offer clues to issues if they are askew or tilted.

Icicles along the roof edge are a constant threat to safety and a big reveal for roof problems that are caused by snow and water.

The accumulation of ice and snow on the pavement or sidewalks of your building is another hint that your roof is in need of attention.

Avoid Structural and Safety Issues from Snow Accumulation on Your Flat Roof

Snow, ice, and water are hazardous for any roofing system, and a flat is prone to damage from the changing weather. Keeping snow off the roof is challenging; that is why you need us at Integrity Roofers to keep the surface clear. A small investment in proactive maintenance is the key to keep your repair bills from skyrocketing. As an experienced, roofing professional contractor, we invite you to discuss your winter roofing maintenance needs with a call to our office today at Integrity Roofers at 647.953.9365

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