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The National Weather Service is predicting another harsh winter for Southeast Michigan similar to the ones we experienced in 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. El Niño brought us an unusually warm and dry winter last year. On its heals is La Niña which will cause Michigan to become a battle ground between warmer periods with large amounts of wet heavy snow and periods of bitter cold.
This type of weather, with months of continual freezing and thawing can cause major damage to a roof.

Commercial flat or low-slope roofs are at a greater risk because the snow cannot slide off causing heavy snow to accumulate and ice to form. Roofs that already have trouble spots or are nearing the end of their life are particularly vulnerable to the winter climate. The last thing a business owner wants is to have a major leak during the middle of winter causing damage and lost productivity. With another harsh winter approaching now is the time to start looking at your commercial roof to see if it needs repairs or even a replacement before winter. Here are some areas to be watching for signs of wear that could lead to more damage.

Drains/Gutters/Down Spouts

You want to make sure that the pathways for excess water to leave the roof are free of debris/blockages and in good condition. Make sure that sticks/leaves or other debris have not blown onto the roof or into the gutter system. You also want to make sure that the gutters on the building are commercial size. Many buildings only have residential gutters installed, and they simply can’t handle the amount of run-off from a large commercial roof. Bottom line is if your drains or gutters aren’t working you are going to have roof leaks.


Flashing is the material that creates a seal around roof penetrations such as HVAC systems, pipes, or vents to keep water from seeping in. The flashing can be metal, plastic or rubber. Over time these materials wear out and can start to crack, rust or separate from the roof causing leaks. Loose or damaged flashing is the leading cause for leaks, so it is an area you will want to watch carefully.

Seams/Overall Roof Surface

On the roof surface you want to watch for any problem areas. Things like standing water, cracks, warping and bubbling of the material or split seams. All of these can be signs of major problems to come and should be taken care of as soon as possible. Pay special attention to areas where snow drifts may accumulate causing extra weight and stress on the roof.

Roof Edge

The perimeter and corners of a flat roof are the most vulnerable to strong winds and severe weather. If the metal-edge flashing that fastens the roofing material to the perimeter of the building is not properly secured or has rusted or damaged over time there is a considerable risk of it failing and the roof peeling off during strong winds. Make sure to check the entire roof edge carefully for signs of it deteriorating or becoming loose.

Lastly, know when to seek professional help. If you notice problems with your roof or have an existing leak don’t put off getting it fixed. Now is the time to make sure your commercial roof is in good condition and ready to handle another icy winter. Call MacDermott Roofing, 734-422-1990, for help with repairs or new roof installations. We can help make sure your business stays up and running this winter.