How to Avoid Weather Damage to Your Commercial Property

There’s a good reason why any structure should be weatherproofed. After all, the weather outside is rarely what we want it to be inside. But when it comes to commercial properties, the need to withstand harsh natural elements is even more important, as damage caused could affect livelihoods.

Read our guide to learn about the many ways Mother Nature can wreak havoc on your commercial facility, as well as the steps you can take to prepare it for the worst.

Types of Weather Damage

The Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, like anywhere else in the world, experiences damaging weather phenomena from time to time. Here are eight common forms of weather-related damage the region experiences.

1. Wind

Strong winds are known to create stress points on roofs that can weaken and damage them over time. The edges and corners of roofs are particularly susceptible, as they are not able to withstand strong winds as well as the more stable center. This is because roofing material along the edges has the greatest chance of loosening, which allows wind to lift up the edges and expose the insulation underneath.

After a storm, inspect your roof for damaged or missing shingles and see if any are lying around your property. As a general rule, if less than 30% of your roof has been damaged, it makes more sense to repair rather than replace it.

2. Hail

hail infographic

The damage that hail can cause is dependent on several variables, including its size, the roof’s age and the quality of the building materials used. For instance, hail will most likely split wood shingles but will leave marks in composite or asphalt shingles. Small hail tends to do less damage than large, baseball-sized hail, which can put holes in your roof.

After a hail storm, look around your property for bits of roofing that are missing. If you have an asphalt shingle or wooden shake roof, penetration could lead to leaks, water damage and rotting.

3. Snow and Ice Accumulation

During the wintertime, ice storms and snowstorms can put unwanted stress on a roof. Ice or snow measuring just a few inches deep is heavier than most people imagine — so heavy, in fact, that it can cause the drywall inside the building to crack. It can also cause the roof to cave in, which is nothing short of a catastrophic situation. While some may be tempted to get up on the roof and shovel the snow off or melt the ice with rock salt, these solutions can cause personal injury and may damage the roof, as well. In this situation, we recommend hiring professionals to deal with the issue.

One of the greatest dangers that ice and snow storms can create is an ice dam, which happens when heat leaking through the roof causes the snow on top of it to melt. This melting snow then flows down the roof and, as it is exposed to freezing air, it freezes up again, most often down by the eaves. This accumulation of ice at the eaves is known as an ice dam. Later on, when the snow on the roof melts, the ice dam prevents it from draining properly, which may cause leaks in the roof. If these leaks make it into the building, they can cause damage to the ceiling, walls and even the foundation.

An ice dam can also cause injury when it eventually melts and slides off the roof.

4. Freezing-Thawing Cycle

Winter weather can be unpredictable, sometimes jumping between freezing and relatively high temperatures. One day there is frozen precipitation, and the next day is warm and sunny. This cycle of freezing and thawing may cause the paint on your business’ exterior to chip because the chemicals in the paint react to the wood underneath by quickly expanding and contracting. When this is happening, water can more easily enter, which in turn will cause further deterioration and fading of the paint.

5. Water

When water intrudes into a building, it will make its way down to the foundation, compromising its structural integrity, posing a fire threat and leading to mold.

6. Humidity

The Mid-Atlantic states can be insufferably humid during the summer months, and this humidity can affect the paint on your facility’s exterior. This large amount of water in the atmosphere is known to make wood swell, which will push against the paint and create cracks when the wood contracts again.

7. Impact Damage

During high winds, tree limbs and other debris can fall onto the roof, which may cause damage to the roofing material and potentially puncture the roof itself. Sometimes impact damage isn’t necessarily noticeable right away and won’t manifest itself until months or even years later. 

8. Sun

When your home’s exterior is hit by direct sunlight, it can become hot quickly, especially if the color of paint is darker. This heat can cause bubbles to appear in the paint, a process known as blistering. When these bubbles burst, they leave behind bare patches, and too much blistering will eventually lead to peeling. Peeling may endanger the health of workers at the facility, as additional moisture encourages the growth of mold and mildew in wood, which could potentially lead to respiratory issues and various other medical issues. 

The sun can also cause exterior colors to fade over the years, especially paint on south-facing walls. Bright and dark colors are both susceptible to fading when exposed to UV rays over many years. Due to the gradual nature of this process, however, you may not even notice the fading unless you attempt to paint over a bare spot.

In some situations, UV rays will react with the exterior paint of your facility, which will result in a thin film of dust on the surface of the paint, a process known as chalking. If you notice chalking, you will need to hire a professional to remove the film before repainting the exterior.

Once your exterior paint has been exposed to UV rays for extended periods of time, you may notice a more unsightly issue: cracked paint. Although paint serves to protect your home by forming a protective barrier, cracks will render this feature useless.

Weatherproofing a Commercial Building

While weather damage may be impossible to avoid in some cases, there are a number of ways to maintain your building and greatly reduce the chances of your facility falling victim to the whims of Mother Nature:

  • Perform regular inspections of your building’s exterior: By regularly taking a close look at your commercial facility, you may catch deterioration or damage before it becomes a serious problem. If you notice any damage, make sure to take care of it as soon as possible.
  • Know how old your exterior coating or paint is: Coatings and paints tend to deteriorate over time and protect your exterior less effectively, which will leave your facility more vulnerable to weather-related damage.
  • Make sure your building has the best coating possible: Having the best coating or paint helps to prevent the intrusion of moisture, which can cause a number of problems. If a professional did not perform your building’s last coating or paint application, it could be the wrong kind of coating. Buildings feature many different types of surfaces, each of which requires a certain form of coating. If an inappropriate one is used, this may lead to the exterior deteriorating. Painting companies are generally able to come and evaluate the coat of paint on your substrate and tell you whether you should make any changes.

Moisture-proofing is done to keep unwanted moisture out of your building. To do this, you must make sure all the necessary areas are sealed or covered.

One of the most critical areas to moisture-proof is the roof, which is by far the component most exposed to the rain, wind and UV sunlight. To moisture-proof your roof, check all places that need caulking, which may include areas around doors, windows and the gaps between surfaces.

If any caulking happens to be worn-out or of inferior quality, remove and replace it with a reliable adhesive caulk. This will help with keeping out moisture, as well as keeping air on the inside from escaping, which will likely lead to lower energy bills.

Protect Your Commercial Building With a New Coat of Paint

One of the most effective ways to protect your commercial facility from harsh weather is by applying a new coat of paint. Coatings provide protection against a variety of stressors, including:

  • High temperatures
  • Moisture
  • UV radiation
  • Stains
  • Dirt
  • Abrasion
  • Harsh chemicals

Painting your facility will also improve:

  • Curb appeal: A new paint job will make your industrial facility look more attractive.
  • Safety: By repairing markings that indicate emergency exit routes, walkways, areas with restricted access and areas with hazardous materials, your facility will become safer and more efficient.
  • Visibility: A fresh coating will better reflect light and increase visibility in industrial facilities that are often dark. As a result, fewer light fixtures will be necessary to light the facility, which will decrease energy bills.

While the process for painting a commercial building is much like painting any other type of building, owners and managers can take certain steps to achieve a paint application that is exceptionally professional looking and resistant to the elements, such as the following:

  • Figure out the budget: While repainting is an essential aspect of managing a facility, people often forget to budget for it and end up with insufficient money to hire professional painters and purchase the necessary paint products. Considering the harsh conditions that exist in industrial facilities, hiring professional industrial painting contractors and using specialized coating systems is critical.
  • Set a realistic time: When scheduling a date for a paint job, you must work around two factors: the weather and your facility’s hours of operation.
  • Select premium coating products: In industrial facilities, how well and how long the paint job will perform depends on paint type that is chosen. Some companies make the mistake of choosing substandard coatings or paints to cut costs, but this usually leads to more serious issues later on.
  • Find experienced contractors: In addition to high-quality materials, you should also hire industrial painting contractors with extensive experience. The best companies will first perform an inspection of the surfaces that need to be painted, take exposure conditions and the required performance into account and carefully look over data sheets before applying the new paint.
  • Choose the appropriate color and gloss level: Picking the most appropriate color and gloss level won’t just increase your facility’s curb appeal — it will also make it appear more well-maintained and professional. This will help you gain more customers and get more contracts.
  • Think about eco-friendly alternatives: When an industrial building is being painted, the odor is not just an annoyance — it can also endanger your health. Strongly smelling paint systems tend to contain high levels of VOCs (violate organic compounds), which can negatively affect the air quality in your facility. If you choose to use an eco-friendlier coating that has low VOC concentrations, this will allow you to plan downtime on a rotating basis. You’ll be able to make different parts of your facility available to be painted and resume working several hours after the paint job has been completed.

Let Alpine Painting and Restoration Help Protect Your Commercial Building

lifespan of building infographic

The lifespan of your facility’s exterior depends on the right coating being applied and the correct method to apply it. For this reason, it is critical to hire a painting contractor with ample experience with commercial facilities.

If you’re a business located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Delaware and are looking for a great commercial painter, well, you’ve just found one. For the past 28 years, we’ve been proudly serving commercial and industrial clients located in the Tri-State area. Our specialties include industrial and commercial painting, water blasting, ice blasting, epoxy flooring and preservation of long-term assets.

By choosing Alpine Painting and Restoration, you can expect a paint job that looks fantastic and significantly prolongs the life expectancy of your structure. Our skilled, experienced technicians always perform accurate coating installations that meet the client’s requirements. Our projects commonly offer a warranty that protects our work for up to 15 years.

If your commercial facility is showing signs of age, this can create a negative impression for customers, vendors or potential partners who see your property. It also can weaken the morale of your employees and may even pose a safety threat. Our team of professionals has experience painting a large variety of structures and strives to create efficient solutions that maximize protection and keep your surfaces functional and attractive.

We have experience working with various industries, which include:

  • Municipal buildings
  • Distribution centers and warehouses
  • Wastewater plants and utility facilities
  • Processing and manufacturing plants
  • Schools and universities
  • Entertainment complexes
  • Retail centers and hospitality venues
  • Restaurants

When restoring your surface, our professionals will first clean it using attention to detail, and blast clean and repair the surface if necessary. Then, they will perform a paint job or coating application to ensure your building lasts and creates an uplifting atmosphere at your facility.

Contact us today by filling out our form.