The Impact of Winter on Your Facility
With the cold temperatures the United States (US) and Canada are experiencing it is important to know the effects temperature and winter weather can have on your facility. Understanding the potential impact all this can have on your roof and floors will help you make maintenance and safety decisions that will help prolong your investment and keep your employees and customers safe.
Here are some areas to keep a close eye on:
• Expansion and contraction of your building
• Rooftop maintenance and safety
• Floor protection and safety
• Parking lot and sidewalk maintenance and safety
Expansion and Contraction of your Building
The temperatures swings will cause expansion and contraction of your entire building envelope to include your roof. Your roof will expand and contract with the temperature swings potentially causing cracking and splitting. This can allow moisture infiltration, potentially causing damage to the insulation, deck and even leak into the facility. It is always good to inspect all roof penetrations making sure the flashings did not sustain any damage. Keeping a close eye on all this can help increase the life of your roof.
Rooftop Maintenance and Safety
In addition to the risk of a leak from moisture infiltration mentioned above, it is important to conduct regular maintenance prior to extreme weather. During this regular maintenance inspect drain lines, gutters and downspouts to make sure they are in proper working condition. This allows moisture to flow from the rooftop. If freezing conditions exist, a steaming process can be done to eliminate the ice blockage at gutters and downspouts.
Safety is also a top priority especially in the winter. It is important to make sure the roof perimeter and any rooftop hatches are properly marked with permanent safety rails and safety flags identify any skylights, drains and roof penetrations. In the event rooftop snow removal needs to take place, these safety practices will help reduce the change of any damage or risk of injury.
Floor Protection and Safety
The salt used to eliminate ice outside your facility is very hard on your floors. To help protect your floors, a SaltGuard can be added to your concrete or hard surface floors. In addition to tracking in the salt, snow and ice can also be tracked which causes a safety concern. Walk-off mats help reduce the tracking of salt, snow and ice while helping keep employee’s and visitor’s feet dry reducing the risk of slips and falls. There are also coating products available to help increase traction on your floors during the winter months.
Parking Lot and Sidewalk Maintenance and Safety
Finally, the same expansion and contraction of your facility can take place in your parking lot and sidewalk due to the temperature swings. This can cause cracks, potholes and heaving of your surfaces making them unsafe for pedestrians and potentially damaging for vehicles. The cracking of your surfaces allows moisture in and further deterioration. It is important to get these surfaces resealed prior to any additional damage.
Overall, the damage that can occur from the winter weather can all be minimized with routine inspections and maintenance of your building envelope, roof and floors. Staying ahead of any potential repairs that may be needed will keep your assets in their best possible condition and help extend their useful life.