Loss Control Insights
Your Guide to Spring Roof Maintenance
Winter is tough on your roof. That’s why it’s critical to conduct checkups prior to and after the season. According to Bernie Roma, EMC Senior Loss Control Representative, “While your roof maintenance schedule should include monitoring protocols, your roof needs thorough checks in the spring and in the fall. Use the spring checkup to clean up after winter and the fall one to prepare for winter conditions.”
The spring checkup is especially important because the increased wind, snow, ice and wet conditions of winter wear down roofing materials and often drop debris that needs to be cleared. Since it is often difficult, if not impossible, to work on a roof when these conditions are present, spring is the perfect time to address any issues caused during the winter months.
Bernie recommends scheduling your post-winter checkup before spring rains begin, “If winter has caused extensive damage to your roof, you want to get things fixed before leaks can begin.”
Here are five more of Bernie’s tips for spring roof checks:
- Be diligent and plan for the process. The biggest problem Bernie sees in the field is letting routine maintenance slide. A regular maintenance schedule and budgeting for annual and periodic repairs (or roof replacement) can help you prevent major surprises that harm your business’s bottom line. Making small repairs now can keep them from becoming major repairs in a year or two. For more details, read EMC’s Roof Maintenance for Commercial Buildings and Roof Management tech sheets.
- Schedule professional help in advance. Bernie stresses the importance of getting maintenance work done during the ‘sweet spot.’ He says, “You need to do it when it’s at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit—when it’s warm enough to be on the roof, but before those spring rains make a mess due to any roof damage done in the winter.” And you may need a professional to look at seals, gutters and flashing. With the dangers of falling, electrocution and causing further damage by walking on the roof, you shouldn’t send untrained employees to do the job. “In the long run, hiring a professional is often the most cost-effective way to ensure your roof is taken care of properly,” he says.
- Keep track of paperwork and pay attention to warranties. By checking your roof thoroughly in the spring and fall, you may discover problems covered by the warranty before it expires. However, a warranty may only be valid if you are maintaining the materials according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Keep good records to help you pinpoint and monitor areas where problems may pop up. You’ll also want to keep track of any repairs. These records may also assist you in warranty claims if the manufacturer requires proof of regular maintenance.
- Prepare the roof’s surface in advance. If your employees must be on the roof, establish a walking area with patio-type pavers. Train employees to stay on the pathways because walking on roof materials may cause more damage and could potentially void your warranty.
- Call on EMC. The EMC drone program is a proactive approach to roof inspection. A drone can produce high resolution photos that identify roof deficiencies and defects—saving you an initial trip onto the roof to check for damage. “If the drone finds problems, then you can call in a pro,” Bernie says. Contact your risk improvement representative or EMC loss control about scheduling a drone roof inspection.