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Do you have a faulty roof?

The roof on this pole barn collapsed last week after heavy snowfall.

The roof on this pole barn collapsed last week after heavy snowfall.

With a whole lot of snow on area roofs, and even more to come, a roof collapse might be looming in your future.

Roof collapses during the winter are usually caused by heavy loads of snow on the roof, and if it rains, the snow then soaks up the rain, making the situation even more perilous.

According to Accuweather.com, a cubic foot of dry snow weighs about 6 to 8 pounds, while one cubic foot of packed snow could weigh up to 20 pounds. The same volume of ice can weigh three times this amount.

Structural deficiencies can add to the problem. In a recent case on 19 Mile in Nelson Township, a pole barn’s roof caved in. According to a contractor working on repairing the barn, back in the 1970s the trusses were only required to be 3 or 4 feet apart. “It was a weak design,” he said.

He went on to say that there are some things you can do to prevent it. One being to pour salt on the roof, and then shovel the snow off. He also recommended putting heat tape across the roof in a “W” shape and always where there is a window or door opening.

Accuweather.com gives the following tips:

How to spot problems with your building

When you see any of the following problems, call your local building or fire official immediately.

Sagging roof

Severe roof leaks

Cracked or split wood members

Blends or ripples in supports

Cracks in walls or masonry

Sheared off screws from steel frames

Sprinkler heads that have dropped down below ceiling tiles

Doors that pop open

Doors or windows that are difficult to open

Bowed utility pipes or conduit attached at ceiling

Creaking, cracking or popping sounds

How to remove snow from your roof

Use a snow rake for pitched roofs.

Start from the edge to the peak of the roof.

Shave the snow down to 2-3 inches instead of scraping the roof clean; don’t damage the shingles.

Plastic shovels are better than metal ones (metal tools conduct electricity and damage roofs).

Remove large icicles carefully.

Wear headgear and goggles.

Consider hiring a professional.

Have someone outside to protect you.

Don’t add your weight or the weight of equipment to the roof.

Don’t use a ladder since ice tends to build up on both the rungs and your shoes.

Don’t use electric heating devices like heat guns to remove snow and ice.

Don’t use open-flame devices to remove snow and ice.


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