How Winter Impacts your Flat Roofing System

How Winter Impacts your Flat Roofing System

How Winter Impacts your Flat Roofing System

The December 10-11 ice storm that gripped Kansas, says the Wichita Eagle, left some spots with two to four inches of ice on surfaces. A load like that on a flat roofing system can spell disaster, but ice storms are not the only enemy of your flat roof. Winter in Kansas City impacts your flat roof in many ways.

That Ice!

Ice storms leaving behind two to four inches of frozen frustration are rare. More common, given that Kansas City only gets around 40 inches of rain a year (says Best Places), are smaller ice amounts. Small amounts may seem inconsequential — hardly worth sending your facilities crew up onto the low-slope roof to ensure that “flat roof” is surviving the icy blanket.

Yet just a small amount of ice — say, a quarter-inch — leaves behind more than 57 pounds of frozen water in 48 square feet, according to

For a typical 1,400-square foot roof, that’s more than a half ton of ice. The ice compresses the rooftop insulation. It clogs internal drains and parapet scuppers. It melts under slight warming and finds its way into flashing seams and single-ply membrane seams. In a typical thaw-and-freeze cycle, it can even move ballast or dislodge rooftop additions like HVAC curbs.


Best Places also points out that Kansas City “only” gets 15 inches of snowfall a year. With January temperatures below the national average, that snow can linger a long time on a flat roof. Depending on how moist the snow is, it puts an enormous strain on a flat roof deck. Commercial roofs with uncertain structural integrity can be tested under snow load, and too often, they fail.

Your facilities crew can work to clear snow, but this is dangerous if rooftop edges of your flat roof are not clearly flagged. Besides falls, crews risk damage to rooftop structures like sanitary stacks, ventilators, and other piercings.


As either snow or ice melt in late winter, during warm spells, or in early spring, your roof’s drainage system will get a workout.

Make certain drains and scuppers are clear of wintertime debris. Make certain the lower ends of downspouts are clear, too, so the water has somewhere to go. These discharges can refreeze, causing slippery conditions for customers and employees alike.

For excellent, experienced advice on handling all that winter brings to your flat roof, consult the experts of Bill West Roofing today.

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_button link=”” color=”default” size=”” stretch=”” type=”” shape=”” target=”_self” title=”” gradient_colors=”|” gradient_hover_colors=”|” accent_color=”” accent_hover_color=”” bevel_color=”” border_width=”1px” icon=”” icon_divider=”yes” icon_position=”left” modal=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ animation_offset=”” alignment=”left” class=”” id=””]Read: 3 Important Things to Understand about a Flat Roof[/fusion_button][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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