Over the past month, the city of Boston has been inundated with snow due to multiple storms that have dumped more than 70 inches over the city, breaking the previous record total of 58.8 inches from 1978. The snow is continuing to pile up, and there is now a fourth snow storm in the works. This new storm, likely to arrive in the Northeast over the Weekend, will only add on to the struggle that property owners are facing regarding snow removal.
With over 70 inches of snow being dumped on the state of Massachusetts this past month, it can be hard for homeowners to keep up, especially homeowners who aren’t young and fit. Cold temperatures and large amounts of snow can lead to ice damming and roof collapses due to the sheer weight of the snow bearing down on the roof. In the case of snow on the roof, don’t reach for the ladder and a shovel, reach for the telephone to call the professionals.
Most homeowners will instinctively want to jump up on their ladder with their snow shovel and begin to shovel off the snow, but there are a couple of factors that need to be looked at before trying to remove ht snow. First, is the snow wet or dry? Wet snow is much heavier than dry snow, and about 6 inches of wet snow weighs about as much as 38 inches of dry snow. But there is good news: most residential roofs are required by building codes to withstand the heaviest snowfall totals for that particular part of the country. So essentially, if your roof was built to code, it is built to support more than the normal load of snow and ice.
It is quite easy to determine what kind of snow you’re dealing with just by shoveling some of the snow, and your local winter weather forecasters should alert you to the possibility that snow loads are becoming excessive and a threat to your roof.
So how do you tell if there is a problem? Well, the first indication that the weight is becoming too much is when the doors on interior walls begin to stick. This shows that there is enough weight on the central structure of the house to distort the door frame and make it stick. Also, it is a good idea to check the drywall and plaster around the interior door frames for cracks.
The homes that are the most susceptible to roof collapses are ones that have undergone un-permitted renovations. The improper removal of interior load-bearing walls is often responsible for roof cave-ins.
So now you have determined that the amount of snow on your roof is dangerous and could threaten the structural integrity of your home, now what? The best option in this case is to call a professional snow removal company to safely complete the job. Check to make sure that they’re both licensed and insured. A professional in the field of snow removal will come equipped with specialized gear including ice and snow removal tools, safety harnesses, and sturdy extension ladders. For a job like this, depending on size and scope, you could may anywhere from $250 to $500 dollars.
If you choose to ignore the issue and let the snow pile up, then it will more than likely lead to ice damming as well as possibly roof cave-ins. A roof cave in is usually not covered under a standard homeowners policy due to the fact that it was caused by the homeowner’s negligence, meaning that it was caused directly by the fact that they knew they had large amounts of snow threatening their roof yet chose not to do anything about it.