When You Should Consider Shoveling Your Roof

SMLA Member Shoveling His Roof

SMLA Member Shoveling His Roof

We have had an enormous amount of snow this year with record low temperatures.  You may be wondering about whether you should clear your roof of all of the snow.  Hopefully this will help to answer the when and why to do it.

The reason (s) for roof shoveling are many and varied. I believe the latest snow figures for Antrim County are 139 inches so far this winter. We have not had a thaw. In my case all of that snow is up on my roof. Once it starts to thaw that is when a heated roof will develop ice dam problems. Once you have big enough ice dams your roof will leak. Removing the snow not only lightens the snow load on the roof but it also allows the sun the opportunity to get to the existing ice dam to melt it and hopefully save your ceilings from water damage.

Some of the older cabins and homes do not have the engineered truss systems newer homes have today and are incapable of standing up under heavy snow loads. If a roof is not shoveled the subsequent thawing and additional snow accumulation compacts and becomes very heavy eventually caving the roof in. This is one of the reasons mobile homes now have rating systems and certain types of modulars are not allowed north of the Clare County line if they don’t meet the snow load rating.

Older pole barns and storage buildings, even though unheated, can meet the same fate if the snow is allowed to accumulate to dangerous levels. We always hear of a few cave-ins every year usually from neglect. Also, metal awnings and small metal storage buildings especially need to be cleared of snow.

We are well ahead of prior year’s snow totals here on Six Mile Lake. At my house we can hardly get through our front gate and if we shovel our roof again we will not be able to see out of the lower level  windows. Couple this with the already high lake levels and the rest of this winter and spring could be very interesting.

Anyone who is looking for someone reliable to shovel their roof can call Paul Hoffman at 231-459-6005.  I was out shoveling my roof and Paul drove by, saw me, stopped and introduced himself, gave me a bid and I hired him. He lives in Ellsworth and used John Hastings (Ellsworth funeral director) and Larry Essenberg (bus garage) as references.  Paul attends the Wesleyan Church in Ellsworth.  He did a great job for me.

Shoveling snow off of a roof can be dangerous, so you should consider  hiring a professional who is experienced in this type of work before attempting it yourself.  Typically, people up here who shovel roofs in winter do so as a means to supplement their income. When Kelly and I moved north, we shoveled many roofs in order to earn money to help get us through the winter months. Obviously, carrying liability insurance (for us) would have been cost prohibitive and would have defeated the purpose. Things haven’t changed much today so I called my agent to check out what she had to say about hiring someone who shovels roofs on a temporary basis and does not carry liability insurance and she said “Use good judgement and hire someone experienced and capable over 18. If something does happen your homeowners liability will cover you. That’s what you have insurance for.”

As with hiring any type of home improvement company or individual, you may want to find out if they carry proper liability insurance for the type of work they are doing, in case things go wrong.  Paul is experienced but does not carry liability insurance.  If you can find someone who shovels roofs that carries liability insurance and still charges a reasonable rate please post it on the website.

As a member of the SMLA, I am informing you about the current snow conditions up here. Ultimately it will be up to you, the homeowner, to make a decision regarding snow removal that you feel comfortable with.  Just so you know…the snow is so deep now that if I were to go up on my single story roof and “fall off” I would drop about two feet and I am not kidding!!!!  February is supposed to be just as snowy.

Cherie Hogan

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