In terms of wear and tear on buildings, winter is the harshest season of the year. Snow accumulation and ice damming on roofs can be a major headache, pipes freezing and bursting could spell disaster, and just about any accumulation of water means trouble.
Though it’s a tough time of year, association managers, building engineers, and residents can work to prevent weather-related issues in their buildings. Understanding where and why such problems may occur, before they happen, could mean the difference between some low-cost solutions and a major renovation.
Simple maintenance steps taken to winterize a building, performed at the right times by qualified professionals, can save cash and effort over the long-term. And perhaps the greatest source of winter-connected problems in the building is the spot people seem to look at the least: the roof.
Especially during the winter, but really throughout the year, the roof should never be ignored. Problems up there can lead to problems with the building’s façade, structure and foundation, if left unattended.
The various stages of winterization on a building should be undertaken in the fall before the cold weather and snow, says Ronald Katz, managing director of Kipcon Great Lakes LLC in Wheeling. Grant Ostreko, an associate engineer with Waldman Engineering Consultants in Naperville, agrees. Fall is a good time for maintenance checks and repairs of the roof, he says. That fall checklist should include replacing sealants and cleaning gutters and downspouts. Masonry on the parapet walls also should be scrutinized to see if it needs any repairs.