Harsh winter weather brings upon the dangers of cold temperatures, snow, wind gusts and ice accumulation. This is especially true when it comes to commercial flat roofs and Toronto’s snowy winter months. Although, commercial or industrial flat roofs are generally constructed to withstand quite a bit of snow, sudden blizzards and extreme amounts of ice can cause damage to both the roof and building as a whole.

With such weather conditions upon us, there’s no question that your commercial roof will need some extra attention. The most common winter problem for industrial flat-roofed buildings is: ice damming.

Ice dams can cause severe damage to commercial flat roofs and lead to water leaks that can ruin insulation, flooring and wall coverings, or could even destroy important documents and other expensive equipment within the building.

What are Ice Dams? 

Ice dams occur when melting snow refreezes before it has time to drain from the roof. Instead of draining off the roof, the accumulated water has the potential to leak through into ceilings or into the rooms inside of the building. Generally, ice melts from bottom up and is often fed by more snowmelt. This is how water can get trapped under the ice, essentially giving it the name “dam.”

Not only will ice damming cause problems to your commercial roof, but internal water leaks can, as mentioned, damage electronic equipment, merchandise, records, or worse, create structural damage to the property as a whole. And although ice dam leaks can occur even on the highest quality commercial flat roofs, measures can be taken to prevent chronic ice damming happening.

So, let’s take a look at a few simple techniques you can do to reduce the formation of ice damming on your industrial or commercial roof this winter. 

  1. Clean Roof Regularly

Consult a local commercial roofing contractor after any type of large snowfall or ice storm to clean and inspect your roof. A large build up of ice or snow will likely be too difficult to clear away on your own, which is why you’ll need professional assistance.

Always keep room in your roof maintenance budget for winter cleaning – especially if you own commercial property in the GTA. The less build up of snow and ice on your industrial roof, the less likely that snowmelt will turn into ice dams.

  1. Allow for Proper Ventilation & Insulation 

Always allow for proper ventilation and insulation under the flat roof and within the building. Adequate ventilation will give cool air the ability to flow efficiently, while proper insulation will prevent pockets of warm air from reaching the roof, which is where the “melt and refreeze” process begins.

  1. Inspect Roof for Air Leaks

As mentioned, air leaks in your commercial roof will give warm indoor air the opportunity to escape. Not only will this waste energy and increase your monthly hydro bills, it will also create warm pockets on the roof where snow and ice can melt and turn into accumulated water that has the potential to refreeze. That’s why it’s important to inspect — or have a professional inspect — your roof for any air leaks so that they can be sealed and properly taken care of.

Next Steps

If you’re a commercial property owner in the Greater Toronto Area, your roof could be at risk for ice damming this winter. In order to prevent ice damming on your commercial flat roof, make sure to implement these above techniques. And, if you need any additional help, do not hesitate to hire a local industrial roofing company, like Crown Industrial Roofing, to get the job done correctly.

If you’ve already experienced ice dams on your industrial or commercial flat roof, call us immediately for a free inspection. Our highly trained industrial roofing contractors will effectively remove the ice dams and repair any associated damage. We also provide emergency leak detection and repair services that are available within 24 hours.

For more information, or in case of a flat roof repair emergency, contact us today.