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Whatever your roofing needs, we are here to help! Since 1977, ShenCorp Total Roofing Services has specialized in commercial roofing throughout Winchester, VA, Charlottesville, VA, Waynesboro, VA, Richmond, VA, Virginia Beach, VA, and other parts of the Mid-Atlantic region. Call ShenCorp for your total roofing services.

We know many new builders and contractors get worried about snow buildup on commercial roofing. We’re here to offer some helpful tips and answer some frequently asked questions!

The interesting thing about roof snow loads and ice problems and the clearing of snow and ice off flat roofs is that homeowners are much more apt to respond sooner to the need than our commercial and industrial roof snow removal clients. However, commercial buildings are much more susceptible to roof failure and damage than residential buildings are.

The main reason for this is that commercial roofs are typically flat roofs and in some cases metal roofing systems; the spans are greater and the roofs are flatter than residential roofs. Snow melts, freezes, and then is covered by a new layer of snow. The process repeats until the ice sheet becomes too heavy for the roof to bear. This process is known as excessive snow load, which can result in significant structural and property damage and may even cause injury. Even the best-engineered buildings can collapse under the weight of heavy accumulations of snow.

What is a snow load?

It is the downward force on a building’s roof by the weight of accumulated snow and ice. The roof or the entire structure can fail if the snow load exceeds the weight the building was designed to withstand, or if the building was poorly designed or constructed. It doesn’t take a blizzard to cause problems; an imbalance of drifting snow can cause one part of a roof to give, causing a domino effect that affects the rest of the structure. 

What are the warning signs?

Different types of roofing produce different signs and evidence of roof stresses due to excessive snow loads. Warning signs of structural roof problems include sudden roof leaks, cracks, or movement in interior walls and ceilings, excessive sagging of structural roof elements or ceilings, and even unusual sounds emanating from the attic space. These signs should be analyzed regardless of the season. Repeated or long term overloading of a compromised roof can significantly weaken the roof structure over time by fatigue. Sometimes trouble may not show up until the spring thaw when water that ended up freezing melts and comes through the ceiling often into tenant spaces.

Excessive snow load on a flat roof can cause significant damage to critical roofing system details, such as parapet walls, penetrations, and unit flashings. To avoid damage resulting in roof leaks, maintaining proper drainage is a first step toward proactive maintenance.

Since 1977, Shencorp Inc. has specialized in commercial roofing and commercial protective roof coating services throughout Winchester, VA, Charlottesville, VA, Waynesboro, VA, Richmond, VA, Virginia Beach, VA, and other parts of the Mid-Atlantic region. In that time, we have become the leading choice for industrial and commercial roofing services like commercial protective roof coatings for customers throughout Virginia. Don’t wait too long to prepare for heavy snow this winter – give us a call today and let us know how we can help!