Preventing water damage from melting snow
Plan an owner’s tour to ensure that your building will stand up to the spring thaw. Once the snow has melted, follow our tips to assess the building’s condition and repair any damage that winter may have caused.
Before the ground thaws
When temperatures rise and snow accumulation on the roof begins to melt, the risk of seepage rises as well. Snow removal becomes necessary when more than 20 inches of compacted snow or a mixture of 9 inches of snow, ice and water has accumulated on your building’s roof. If needed, hire a roof snow removal professional with the suitable techniques and equipment.
Gutters, downspouts and drains
Roof drainage is essential for diverting water away from a building. In the fall, leaves and other debris can accumulate in gutters, downspouts or drain mouths. If they are not removed, they reduce water flow.
- Make sure that no accumulation of snow, ice or other debris is obstructing the gutters or mouths of drains. Clear them if needed.
- If you have a flat roof, don’t hesitate to hire a specialist to avoid damaging the roof in the process.
Once the snow has melted
Checking your roof’s condition while the snow is melting and once it is completely clear will help prevent potential water damage.
- Examine the condition of the roofing materials for signs of wear and aging (missing or loose shingles, buckling, upturned corners, etc.).
- Check the flashing around chimneys and air vents. Make sure it isn’t damaged or warped and that its caulking is in good condition.
- Also check that your satellite dish or other equipment is securely attached.
- Inspect the gutters and downspouts:
- Make sure they haven’t been twisted or dislodged by the weight of the snow.
- Check for stagnant water. Stagnant water is a sign of an insufficient slope caused by sagging gutters.
- Make sure the downspouts divert water as far away as possible from the foundation.
- Make sure there is enough gravel to fully protect the layer of asphalt. Gravel prevents black surfaces from overheating and reflects ultraviolet rays, preventing premature damage to the membrane.
- Examine the roof’s general condition and look for any visible abnormalities that could be a potential risk, such as:
- Signs of erosion
- Sagging or blisters
- Holes or cracks
- Missing flashing
- Unstable or inadequate supports (air conditioning units, ventilation ducts, antennas, etc.)
- Poorly sealed or leaking joints
- Inspect slopes toward drains connected to downpipes, ideally after a heavy rain. They must allow water to drain as quickly as possible, without remaining stagnant on the roof.
Doors and windows
Heavy rain can seep through any opening. That’s why you should do the following in the spring:
- Inspect the seals around doors and windows to make sure they are watertight.
- If needed, repair caulking and replace weatherstripping.
Once the ground has thawed, it’s very important to check the foundation’s condition to identify any problems and prevent damage due to water seepage.
- Thoroughly inspect the foundation, both inside and out. Have a specialist repair any cracks immediately.
- Seek professional advice if there are signs of efflorescence (white deposits), seepage or localized humidity.
Your property insurance
These precautions will help you welcome spring and avoid unpleasant surprises. But, for peace of mind, it’s best to be properly insured as well. Find out about the business insurance coverage available from Desjardins Insurance.
Desjardins Business Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc. Some conditions, exclusions and limitations may apply. These tips are provided for information purposes only, and Desjardins Business Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive advice that is tailored to your situation.