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Snow buildup on roofs a potential problem

Winter roof maintenance has started early this season.

Greg Sikora, manager of the City of Red Deer Public Works Department, said early heavy snowfalls meant staff have already been up on the roof at City Hall and the Civic Yards.

“We’ve been on the roof, not worrying about the snow load, but providing ventilation access and clearing around drainage to prevent any ice jam issues, or potential drainage issues when the snow starts to melt,” said Sikora on Monday.

“Typically we’d be doing this in February as the snow accumulated.”

Myles Smith, owner of Smitty’s Roofing, and his crew have also been busy clearing snow from residents’ roofs and fixing leaks due to ice jams.

“Probably a foot (of snow) is getting bad weight-wise. Also we’ve had a lot of wind. It goes drifting into one spot so that’s putting more weight into one area,” Smith said.

“Lots of older houses have thinner plywood, which makes it possible for the roof to collapse.”

He said deep snow surrounding whirlybirds can prevent the turbines from spinning and will affect roof ventilation.

Smith recommended homeowners make it a habit to have deep snow removed before it melts and possibly gets trapped beneath shingles.

Russell Crosby, owner of Crosby Roofing Ltd., said Red Deer is lucky it doesn’t get a lot of wet snow.

“This winter is the worst we’ve had for a long time. There’s been a lot of snow, but it’s a dry snow. You could have a lot of snow, but not much weight,” Crosby said.

He said for now many homeowners aren’t worried about their roofs.

“Right now people are more concerned about snow on the sidewalks and roads.”

He said buildup of ice along the eavestrough due to fluctuating temperatures can create problems.

Sometimes salt is required to soften the ice in order to remove it.

Wade Misanchuk, unit manager at Red Deer Co-op Home and Garden Centre, said some people are taking matters into their own hands — with roof rakes.

“They were just flying out of here like crazy,” said Misanchuk about the rakes featured in a recent flyer.

They look like a garden hoe, with a wider blade made of plastic. The handle can extend about seven metres to allow people to remain safe on the ground instead of climbing on top of their roof with a shovel.

Misanchuk said it’s just a smarter way to snow clear.



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