How Illinois Weather Can Be Brutal for Commercial Roofing

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Roofs go through a lot, especially when they’re in areas that have weather extremes. It’s no secret that Illinois sees its fair share of brutal weather. When you have a high-quality roof, it should be able to last through various weather elements for at least ten years, maybe even up to 20 years.

Before installing a new commercial roof with your roofing contractor in Illinois, learning how the various weather elements affect the structure and how to keep it in good condition is essential for a long-lasting roofing system.

How Illinois Weather Affects Commercial Roofing

Even the most well-maintained roof will be affected by the weather. Ice, heavy snowfall, heavy rain, strong winds, and thermal shock can drastically affect commercial roofing. Each element can severely damage your roofing system but in different ways.

Heavy Rainfall

Illinois’ rainiest months are May and June, and while they don’t get nearly as much rain as other states, heavy rains happen and cause damage to commercial roofs. Over time, heavy rain will wear down the shingles, other roofing material, and roof elements.

As the rainfall wears on the commercial roof, damage can occur. There could be water leaking into the interior of the building, causing a significant inconvenience.

Plus, mold can grow when interiors get wet and aren’t taken care of, which isn’t suitable for anyone’s health or well-being. The damage from the heavy rain on the roof can even further damage the structure of the building.

Strong Winds

Along with heavy rainfall, Illinois’s major storms during the rainy month can bring strong winds. Strong winds can cause damage to commercial roofing.

What most people don’t consider when it comes to winds damaging a commercial roofing system is that while the wind speed may not be too high, the powerful gusts that come along cause most of the damage.

The combination of the heavy rains wearing on the roof’s materials and the forceful winds can cause additional damage to the roof.

Materials on the roof can blow off the roof, making the roof’s structural integrity decrease. This also allows for the rainfall to damage the roof further. The powerful winds can rip HVAC units off roofs, and debris can be blown into the roof, causing more damage.

Thermal Shock

Any commercial building in an area with varying temperatures is at risk of roof damage. Illinois can see temperature extremes, putting the commercial roofing systems in danger of damage.

When a commercial building is in an area with drastically different daytime and nighttime temperatures, it’s called thermal shock.

During the warmer days and months, the roof will expand. During the colder days and months, the expanded roof will then contract. When a roof is constantly expanding and contracting, it can damage the roofing system.

Thermal shock negatively affects the roof’s tensile strength. When consistently expanding and contracting, the roof’s membrane strength decreases and can’t handle further expansion and contraction.

Heavy Snowfall

Even though snow looks light and fluffy, when a lot of it accumulates together, it can get heavy quickly. Snow accumulating isn’t good for commercial roofing. When there’s fresh snow on a roof, it can weigh up to 20 pounds, adding additional strain on any roofing.

Once the 20 pounds of snow melts and refreezes, it can weigh even more. The refrozen snow and ice can add another 60 pounds to your roof.

This constant thawing and freezing of snow cause several issues for your roof. Since Illinois sees a long stretch of snow throughout the winter, this can happen for days.

Since it’s cold outside when it snows, you will likely have the heat on in the building. The heat from the building helps melt the first layer of snow, and then the cold temperatures refreeze it. Melting and refreezing happen constantly; when the ice melts and refreezes, it can form into sharp points. Sometimes, these strong points will damage parts of the roof.

When these icicles or frozen points penetrate the roof, the melting ice seeps into the roof’s seams. Both are causes for concern for the commercial roof. Throughout the season, this cycle continues and can reduce the roof’s lifespan.

Keeping Commercial Roofing Strong Enough to Withstand the Brutal Illinois Weather

While we can predict the weather, you can’t control it. Illinois will see its fair share of strong wind, heavy rainfall, and heavy snow throughout the year that can cause issues for commercial roofing. The good news is that there are things you and your roofing contractor can do to keep your roof in good condition and last for years despite the brutal Illinois weather.

General Inspections

Besides specific seam inspections, a professional roof contractor or technician should come out at least twice a year to inspect the entire roof. They can identify any areas that need repairing or replacing before the harsh weather returns to Illinois.

Regular roof inspections can help extend a commercial roof’s life by around 25%. While any roof should undergo inspections at least twice a year, if the commercial roof is on the older side, it can benefit more from assessments than a newer one.

Having a technician come out and inspect the roof can also help minimize how thermal shock affects the roofing system. If they can identify any cracks or weaknesses in the roofing system before the intense weather returns, it can be repaired and be more equipped to handle the drastic difference in daytime and nighttime temperatures.

The roofing technicians will compare any photos taken from previous inspections to the current state of your roof to see how drastically the roof is weathering and what action to take if any.

Seam Inspections

Most commercial roofs have seams. If the roof does, regardless of the materials, regular inspections are necessary to ensure they’re in good condition. Damaged seams can lead to further roof damage and potential damage to the interior of the building if they fail.

A roofing technician can assess the current state of the commercial roof’s seams before the intense winter months and rainy months in Illinois to see if they’re equipped to last. Most professionals will recommend performing these assessments at least twice per year.

Seam Repairs

If a professional roof technician finds damage to the seam, they can assist in any seam repairs. Getting the seams repaired or replaced promptly will ensure that the roof won’t be near as affected by the weather in Illinois.

Keep All Drains Clear

Something not everyone thinks about when keeping commercial roofing strong enough to withstand the brutal Illinois weather is to keep all the drains clear. Melting snow will naturally drain from the roof onto the ground as long as the drains are clear.

When the drains aren’t clear, it can cause the melting snow to get stuck and eventually refreeze. When it refreezes, it causes unnecessary weight on the roof, potentially damaging it. A clear path for the melting snow or rain to drain will help the commercial roof last much longer than one without clear drains.

Whether you hire someone to remove all twigs and other debris or do it yourself, this needs to be done regularly to prevent roof damage.

Trim Nearby Trees

Trimming nearby trees is a way to help keep all the gutters, and other drains clear on a roof. Removing excess branches can help ensure they don’t get caught in the drains and clog them. Just like clearing the drains, you can do this yourself or hire a professional.

Baltic Roofing Repairs

When you need roofing inspections, repairs, or installation, going with a local and trusted company that understands the Illinois weather is crucial. Baltic Roofing has been a top choice for those across Chicagoland since 2004.

Our technicians are knowledgeable about roofing solutions and how the weather in the state can affect a commercial roof. Roofing technicians can identify any current and potential issues that commercial roofing might face and provide affordable and logical solutions.

No matter what your commercial roofing needs, our technicians and support staff will keep you in the loop through every step. They’ll walk you through, step by step, what needs to be done and when it can be done, and they’ll do it with the best customer service.

Final Thoughts

The weather in Illinois can pose issues for commercial roofing when it’s not taken care of. Roofing systems can wear down over time from the harsh winters, heavy rainfall, and powerful winds throughout the year.

Regularly inspecting a commercial roof is the best way to ensure it’s capable of withstanding the weather in the state is the best way to keep the roof in excellent condition and not compromise the integrity of the interior of the building.

If your commercial roofing needs inspecting, repairing, or you’re looking for installation, Baltic Roofing is the best company for the job. Our trusted roofing technicians will ensure your roof is up to safety standards and repair any cracks or issues before the harsh weather hits, so the roof lasts for years of Illinois weather.