How Much Snow is Too Much Snow on Your Roof?

But if you’re really worried you might have too much snow on your roof, here’s how to figure out if your roof is at risk — and how to remove that risk.

Weight of the Snow (Not ‘How Much’) Is What Matters

The critical factor in determining excessive snow loads on your roof isn’t the depth of the snow, it’s the weight, says home improvement expert Jon Eakes.

That’s because wet snow is a whole lot heavier than dry, fluffy snow. In fact, six inches of wet snow is equal to the weight of about 38 inches of dry snow. That’s a huge difference!

The good news is that your roof is required by building codes to withstand the heaviest snows for your part of the country.

“Theoretically, if your roof is built to code, it’s built to support more than the normal load of snow and ice,” says Eakes.

How to know if you’ve got wet or dry snow?  You back will let you know. Simply heft a few shovelfuls — you should be able to quickly tell. Plus, local weather forecasts should alert you if snow loads are becoming excessive.

Your Doors Will Tell You If There’s Too Much Snow

Your interior doors are a really good clue. If they begin to stick, that signals there’s enough weight on the center structure of the house to distort the door frame (yikes!).

Ignore doors on exterior walls but check interior doors leading to second-floor bedrooms, closets, and attics in the center of your home. Also, examine the drywall or plaster around the frames of these doors for visible cracks.

Homes that are most susceptible to roof cave-ins are those that underwent sloppy renovations. Improper removal of interior load-bearing walls is often responsible for catastrophic roof collapses from snow.

If You Decide the Snow Must Be Removed

Don’t do it yourself if it means getting on the roof.

“People die every year just climbing ladders,” Eakes points out. “Add ice and snow and you’re really asking for trouble.”

Instead, call a professional snow removal contractor to safely do the job.

Check to make sure they are licensed and insured — that immediately sets them apart from inexperienced competitors.

Expect to pay $250 to $500 for most jobs. That’s because they need special gear, including sturdy extension ladders, properly anchored safety harnesses, and specialized snow and ice-removal tools.

Don’t expect (or demand) a bone-dry roof at job’s end. The goal is to remove “excessive” weight as opposed to all weight. Plus, any attempt to completely remove the bottom layer of ice will almost always result in irreparable damage to your roofing.

Tips for Getting Snow Off Your Roof From the Ground

If you have a small, one-story bungalow where the roof is just off the ground, taking matters into one’s own hands may be safe — if you can work entirely from the ground and have the right tools.

Long-handled snow rakes work great on freshly fallen snow, and at $45 they are relatively affordable. Look for models with sturdy telescoping handles and built-in rollers, which keep the blade safely above the shingles.

Other versions work by releasing the snow from underneath. These models slide between the roof and snow, allowing gravity and the snow’s own weight to do most of the work. These are more pricey, rising well above $100. But it’s a good idea to rethink their use. Eakes points out, “They tend to work their best on light, fluffy snow — the kind that probably doesn’t need to be removed in the first place.”

A couple of tips if you’re going to remove snow from the roof yourself:

1. You’ll need to anticipate where the snow and ice will fall as you pull it off your roof — you won’t want to pull a load of heavy, wet snow down on top of yourself or any helpers.

2. Remember, the goal isn’t to remove all visible snow and ice, but rather just enough to relieve the excessive load on the roof.

Article by Douglas Trattnor of HouseLogic.com

 

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Hurricane Florence Approaches: How West Virginians Can Prepare

Though the path of Hurricane Florence seems ever-changing and it’s intensity fluctuating (actually decreasing greatly overnight), it’s best to always be prepared for how our area of the Greenbrier Valley could be impacted. For West Virginians and those that may be traveling to or through West Virginia the following information and tips could be very helpful.

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Information from WV Tourism:

Lodging

West Virginia State Parks is offering a 55% discount on available lodge parks, cabins and campsites for those fleeing Hurricane Florence. The offer is available through Tuesday, Sept. 18. Leashed pets are allowed in campgrounds. Pet-friendly cabins and lodge rooms available, but are subject to availability. Book online at wvstateparks.com or call 1-833-WV-PARKS.

If you need additional help finding lodging, please feel free to call 1-800-CALL-WVA for assistance. Click here to see more lodging options, including hotels, bed & breakfasts, and more across the state.

Welcome Centers across the state are staffed to accommodate travel questions and needs.

Traffic

WV Department of Transportation 

Website (live map)
Phone: Dial 511 from any mobile phone or landline
Toll-Free Phone: 1-855-699-8511
Twitter Feed: https://twitter.com/WV511

Incident List: here.

Road Conditions: here.

National Alerts: here.

I-77 Construction
Governor Jim Justice and the WV Department of Transportation has suspended road work on I-77 NB. However, traffic may persist so drivers are urged to explore alternate routes.

Alternate Route 1: US 460 E /US 219 N to I-64 W
Take Exit 9 in Princeton; follow US 460 East to US 219 North. Take US 219 North to I-64 West. Follow I-64 West to I-77 North.

Alternate Route 2: I-81 N / US 460 E / US 219 N / I-64 W
In Wytheville, VA, take I-81 North to exit 118 B in Christiansburg. Take US 460 West toward West Virginia. Take US 219 North to I-64 West. Follow I-64 West to I-77 North.

Alternate Route 3: I-81 N / I-64 W
In Wytheville, VA, take I-81 North to Lexington. In Lexington, take I-64 West into West Virginia. Follow I-64 West to I-77 North.


Prepare yourself and your home:

  1. Gather needed supplies for at least three days. Include food and water sufficient for at least three days, medications, a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.  Don’t forget the needs of pets.
  2. Bring loose, lightweight objects inside that take flight in high winds (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans); anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on the building.
  3. Charge your cell phones and other devices now so you will have a full battery in case you lose power.

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West Virginia State Fair Grounds has announced availability as an evacuation site for a limited number of horses and campers in its path! Please call 304-645-1090.


Stay up to date with local news: WVNS TV FOX59 and WVVA