As winter descends on Scotland with its icy grip, flat roofs on Industrial buildings face a unique set of challenges, and one common issue that plagues them is ponding.

Flat roof ponding refers to the accumulation of standing water on the roof surface, a problem that can be exacerbated during the colder months. As one of the leading industrial roofers in Glasgow, we want to explain the causes and consequences of flat roof ponding in winter, shedding light on the importance of proactive measures to safeguard the structural integrity of these industrial roofs.

Understanding Flat Roof Ponding:

Flat roofs, while efficient in many ways, lack the natural slope of pitched roofs. This absence of slope can lead to the collection of water in low-lying areas, resulting in what is called ponding. Ponding water can be caused by various factors, including improper roof design, insufficient drainage, or the settling of the roof over time. In winter, the problem intensifies as standing water can freeze, giving rise to a host of complications.

Winter Consequences

Ice Formation

Ponding water on a flat roof can turn into ice when temperatures plummet. The formation of ice adds weight to the roof, potentially exceeding its load-bearing capacity and compromising its structural integrity. On large scale industrial properties, it can be easy to overlook issues like this until it is too late.

Leaks and Water Damage

The freeze-thaw cycle of Scottish Winter can exacerbate existing roof issues. As ponding water freezes, it expands, causing stress on the roofing material. When it thaws, the water can seep into cracks and vulnerabilities, leading to leaks and water damage within the structure.

Snow Accumulation

Ponding water can accumulate snow, adding to the overall load on the roof. The weight of both ponding water and snow can strain the roof and increase the risk of collapse or other serious structural problems.

Causes of Flat Roof Ponding

Poor Drainage Systems

Inadequate or blocked drainage systems are a primary cause of flat roof ponding. Clogged drains prevent water from efficiently draining off the roof, leading to standing water.

Sagging Roof Structure

Over time, flat roofs may experience sagging or settling, creating depressions where water can accumulate. This issue is often a result of insufficient structural support or poor construction

Inadequate Slope

Flat roofs should have a slight slope to facilitate water drainage. If the slope is insufficient or not properly designed, water may pool in certain areas.

Preventive Measures

Regular Inspections

Regular inspections, especially before winter sets in, can identify drainage issues, roof depressions, or other vulnerabilities. Prompt repairs and maintenance are crucial for preventing ponding problems

Improved Drainage Systems

Enhancing the roof’s drainage systems, including clearing debris from drains and ensuring proper slope, can mitigate the risk of ponding.

Reinforcing Roof Structure

Strengthening the roof’s structural support can address sagging and settling issues, reducing the likelihood of ponding.

Insulation and Snow Removal

Adequate insulation helps regulate the roof temperature, minimising the risk of ice formation. Additionally, removing accumulated snow promptly can alleviate excess weight on the roof.

Flat roof ponding problems on Industrial roofs in winter are not merely inconveniences; they pose real threats to the longevity and safety of a structure and can pose disruption to day to day business activities. By understanding the causes, consequences, and preventive measures, businesses and building managers can take proactive steps to mitigate the risks associated with flat roof ponding. Winter need not be a time of anxiety for flat roof owners, as timely interventions can ensure a resilient and watertight defence against the challenges of the season.

At Balmore, we specialise in the Fitting, Repairing and Maintaining of flat roofing for Industrial premises in Glasgow for forty years.

Flat roofs require a different approach from standard roofing work, and as such, are best served by a specialist roofing contractor. We have a wealth of experience in flat roof repair, flat roof replacement and installation of flat roofs.

Across the city and the surrounding Towns and Villages, we have been providing a reliable and recommended flat roof installation, repair and maintenance service for nearly four decades.

If you would like to know more about our work on Industrial flat roofing systems, please contact us.