Heavy snow and roofs


Sherry Donovan is communications director for the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association 902-450-5558 www.nshomebuilders.ca 

 The Chronicle Herald, March 28, 2015

 Heavy snow on roofs seems to be a never-ending story over the past several weeks in terms of the effects the weather has had on the condition of roofs in Nova Scotia. The result of multiple storms, flash freezes and challenges with clean up has left many homeownwith ers scrambling to keep their homes safe from the added weight on their roofs. This has created a challenge for those who don’t know exactly what they can do to remedy the situation. In particular, questions that have come up numerous times over the last week include who to hire to remove the ice and snow on the roof as well as some tips to prevent ice damage.

When it comes to hiring a p erson to remove ice and snow from your roof, you want to make sure they know what they are doing. If not, they can cause more damage than you had prior to them climbing onto your roof. In particular, you want to make sure the person has experience in this area and uses safe work practices.

It is in your best interest to hire a company that has their safety qualifications and will provide you a written contract for the job they will be doing, no matter how large or small it may seem. This helps you to reduce the challenges associated by hiring a fly-by-night company that may want to take advantage of the situation and may not have the proper workers’ compensation coverage and liability insurance coverage in the event something does go wrong during the work and someone or something gets hurt or damaged.

Ice and snow-covered roofs require extensive safety measures when undertaking snow removal and you want to make sure this is a priority for the company you hire as well.

Once the roof has been cleared of ice and snow, you will also want to make sure it has been inspected and that any damaged shingles are replaced, or if it has shingles, have had the sealant bond broken that they are resealed.

Some considerations when there is snow and ice on your roof include:

Do not use a hammer, or forcibly remove ice as it may cause more serious damage to your roof than just a few shingles being broken, such as affecting the manufacturers’ warranty or leaks.

Be cautious when it comes to the use of salt on your roof. Not only could it leave a white residue, it may also corrode your metal flashings, eavestroughs and downspouts.

Using heaters or torches to heat or melt away snow is not recommended as there is a risk of damaging the shingles along with other additional safety hazards such as fire.

When it comes to ice damming due to all the freezing and thawing that is taking place from the heat within the house and frozen slushy ice in the gutters, it can often create an impact on the inside of the home as water comes in under the shingles and damages interior elements of the homes such as the ceiling, insulation, drywall, etc. You can help mitigate these problems by keeping your gutters clear of debris and keep the attic space insulated and the building envelope air tight, with proper ventilation to keep the underside of the roof deck cool and so warm air from the house does not escape and melt the snow and ice.

When it comes to your roof, stay safe and work safe. For more information on building or renovating your home, visit www.nshomebuilders. ns.ca.