9 Essential Tips For Designing & Maintaining Rooftop Walkways


Working at a height does not always have to pose a safety hazard. Falls from a height might account for the vast majority of workplace accidents, but a properly designed and maintained roof walkway can protect building maintenance staff and reduce accidents.

Here are 9 tips for designing and maintaining rooftop walkways:

1. Proper Material Selection

Rooftops are not designed for carrying heavy loads. It is thus important to ensure that the material you choose for the construction of your walkway should be ideally lightweight but with a high strength to weight ratio. The material should also be capable of withstanding the elements.

2. Test Its Load Bearing Capacity

A rooftop walkway should be capable of bearing the weight of foot traffic along with that of large units, such as air conditioning systems. A roof walkway should satisfy the load-bearing requirements in government regulations.

3. Ensure Proper Drainage

Trips and slips can easily become falls from a height if they happen on roofs. Pooling water can easily pose a safety hazard as well as causing damage to the roof over time. Always design rooftop walkways with drainage in mind to avoid this.

4. Don’t Use Timber

Wood might be an attractive option for its natural virtues, but it is a poor choice of material when it comes to rooftop walkways. Wood can pose a serious slipping hazard when wet and has the potential to rot and weaken if not properly maintained.

5. Ensure that Fittings Don’t Damage the Roof

Roof walkways are often installed to protect vulnerable roofs. It is thus important to be careful when choosing the walkways fitting system. If it causes damage to the roof, the fitting is counterproductive and can compromise the waterproof membrane of the roof. Roof walkways should ideally clamp to the roof without piercing it.

6. Plan a Logical Route

Roof walkways are designed for defining a safe, clear path for users. Besides providing access to everything on the roof, they also provide easy access up slopes as well as across pitched roofs. It also encourages users to follow the right path, which ensures that the integrity of the roof is maintained.

7. Use Handrails Where Necessary

If your roofing structure is made of a fragile substrate material, you need to be extra careful to provide enough protection, particularly around roof pitches. You can fit walkways with handrails to provide more safety on narrow surfaces or those with gradients greater than 10 degrees.

8. Seasonal Maintenance

Roof walkways are primarily designed to facilitate roof maintenance, which is why it makes sense to ensure that the walkways themselves don’t require as much maintenance themselves. If you choose the right materials for your roof walkways, you can ensure that maintenance will be minimal.

You always need to consider seasonal impacts when it comes to maintenance of your rooftop walkways. Spring is the ideal time to check for damage and repair it while winter is the worst time for repairs.

9. Safe Maintenance

Roof walkways are designed to be strong and reliable, but accidents sometimes will happen. Safety should always be a top priority when undertaking roof maintenance. You must never work alone and always ensure that no more than one person’s weight is ever on a section of walkway at a time.

Final Thoughts

If you are in a business where you need roof walkways, safety concerns are probably top on your mind. The best way to ensure that your roof walkway is functional and safe is to consider all aspects carefully before roof walkway installation. The 9 tips provided here will help you design and maintain your rooftop walkways.

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