A Guide to: Flat Roof Maintenance and Preperations

Flat, industrial roofs require proper and professional care. From gravel and ballasting, to vacuum cleaning and roof preparation, flat roofs are a lot to maintain. Luckily, Adler makes it easy by covering all your roof care needs.

Not sure what your flat, industrial roof requires to maintain functionality and stability? Read on to learn about the following topics:

Roof vac

Why are rocks necessary on a flat roof?

Rocks or gravel on a flat roof are a necessary component for built up roofs and ballast roof systems. The gravel or stone offers roof protection and balances the overall weight of the roof.

Built up flat roofs are constructed with layers of roofing felt and asphalt, where the top layer is embedded with gravel. This final layer acts as a protector against weather elements such as ultraviolet rays and hail. The top layer of gravel prevents cracks or blistering which. Without this layer of defense, the flat roof would have a shorter life span with material damage and leaks.


Gravel can also hold and release heat, which aids in water evaporation as well as heat regulation.

Stones will also protect any workers who need to walk on the flat roof, to act as an extra form of traction.

Additionally, the gravel keeps excess debris from finding their way into gutters or pipes. Instead, the leaves, small branches, or any other debris tends to stay in place on the gravel.

Gravel can also be placed on a on a non-built up roof, also called a ballast roof system. In this scenario the gravel is placed loosely on the roof, instead of being embedded to asphalt. The gravel’s purpose then, is to add weight to the roof or to keep down the roofing. However, the same active protection that gravel gives to a BUR still applies to a ballast roof system.

How to Prepare a Flat Roof

A flat roof needs to be prepared before any type of installation, or addition to the roof. Removing stone, swapping stone out, and roof cleaning should all be done in advance

How to Prepare a Roof for Solar

When preparing a roof for solar panel installation, if stone is currently on the roof it must be removed to make room for the installation. There is no faster or safer way to remove the stone than with roof vacuuming. It’s important to remove rock on flat roofs for solar installations because the mounting system needs to make positive contact with the roof surface in order to properly function. Adler’s trucks are able to vacuum gravel off of roofs ranging from one story to 40 stories high.

Solar Panel Diagram

Facilitating Weight on the Roof

On occasion, additional weight will need to be added to offset new machinery housed on the roof. Adding the gravel can help to balance the weight baring on the foundation or beams which currently support the roof above.

Conversely, there are instances where gravel needs to be removed from the roof to allow for more weight to be added. For example, not only to Solar Panels need direct contact with the roof to function properly, but they also take up a significant amount of weight on the roof. Therefore, the gravel not only needs to be pushed to the side, but appropriately and fully removed.

Roof Maintenance

Ballast and River Rock Removal

Consistent roof maintenance is necessary for proper roof care. Ballast or river rock might need to be removed due to excess weight, or during a routine swap out.

Ballast and River Rock vacuuming removes all rock quickly and effectively from the roof. The vacuuming service allows for a less labor-intensive job, as opposed to shoveling and wheelbarrowing rock away. Debris and dust fragments are controlled and minimized as well.

Bur and Gravel Removal

Gravel might need to be removed from a roof for situations similar to a ballasted roof.Excess weight, roof preparations, or routine swap out would all be reasons for gravel removal.

Gravel vacuuming from a built-up roof removes all loose rock quickly and effectively. The vacuuming service allows for a less labor-intensive job, and greater contact with loose gravel. Debris and dust fragments are controlled and minimized as well.

Adler’s trucks can remove and reballast any roof up to 40 stories high.



Snow needs to be removed from a roof as soon as possible. Especially in the case of a flat roof, where the snow has no chance of sliding off the surface. Snow can accumulate quickly, and the weight can get worse over time if it begins to freeze.

It is important to be aware of the amount of snow on a flat roof in order to maintain the longevity and prevent damages. Snow maintenance is vital for the health of a roof, as the weight will build and worsen over time.

Snow can build up quickly and unexpectedly, and the weight can be destructive to a building. Water damage can occur if the snow is not removed as soon as possible.

An excess amount of snow on the roof of a building is a hazardous situation. With our Fleet of High-Powered Vacuum Trucks and 40 Story capability, snow can safely and easily be removed.

Ice maintenance is just as critical as snow maintenance. Ice can lead to leaks, as well as weighing down heavily on a roof. If there are any small cracks in a roof, ice can easily melt at the surface and begin to cause water damage.

Wet Vac

Wet vac is a process where pressurized water is applied while vacuuming. This process enables the roof to be cleaned while removing the stone at the same time. The cleaning process occurs within the head of the vacuum cleaner, avoiding any collection of water puddles. A wet vac allows for efficient maintenance and cleaning. On a built up roof, the wet vac will remove all but the embedded gravel or stone. Wet vac leaves the roof clean and prepared for new stone, new equipment, or for routine maintenance.

Clearly, there is a lot to take into consideration when it comes to your flat, industrial roof. Adler is available 24/7 to get the job done right. To see Adler in action, you can read about their case studies here.

Click to Explore Our Other Services

Why Choose Adler Roof Vacuuming Services


We are family owned and operated for the past 40 years and still going strong. We were the main vac truck contractor in 2001 doing the clean-up of the World Trade Center disaster, Hurricane Sandy, and BP Oil spill in the Gulf. We’ve worked over the years for literally 1000’s of general contractors, building owners municipalities and manufacturers. Many of our employees have been with us over 20 years which is the real benefit in dealing with our company. Knowledge and expertise yields efficiency and safety which together will save you time and money in the long run.


With Adler, you will find a positive solutions oriented attitude. Our team is always accessible and eager to respond to your needs. At every level of our organization, you will see a commitment to consistently high customer satisfaction. We are driven to be your single source for all of your roof vacuuming needs.

Safety Is Our Priority

Adler Safety Certifications

We believe in safe environments. Safety is not only the law, it is our goal; we consistently strive for zero risks for both our employees and customers. Our comprehensive Health and Safety policy along with our focus on employee training allow us to create the safest environment possible. Therefore, we have achieved:

  • Compliance with Adler’s health and safety policy
  • Compliance with all government, client-specific, or site-specific requirements
  • 40 hour hazmat training
  • Confined space training
  • Full medical cards on drivers
  • Physicals and fit tests on employees
  • Random drug tests
  • Site specific training on all jobs – Tail Gate Safety Meetings
  • Appropriate clothing and protective equipment
  • Immediate identification and report of safety hazards or unsafe work conditions

Roof Vacuuming Services for the Entire Eastern Seaboard

We provide Roof Vacuuming Services for the following areas:

  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
  • Connecticut
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Delaware
  • Ohio
  • Michigan
  • Wisconsin
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Washington DC
  • West Virginia
  • Virginia
  • Kentucky
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Tennessee
  • Mississippi
  • Alabama
  • Florida
Adler Roof Vacuuming Service Area

Learn More About Roof Vacuuming Services

Get A Free Quote

Get A Quote

Careers At

Learn More

Safety Training & Certifications

Learn More