Current West Michigan weather conditions are expected to continue with heavy snow fall and cold temperatures. Whether it’s pipes freezing in the bitter chill or roofs collapsing under the tremendous weight of snow, this winter has already caused numerous businesses and homes quite a bit of damage. With over 8 feet of snow fall in Zeeland, we are beginning to experience problems with building structure and roofing. Roofing with a steep grade tends not to accumulate heavy amounts of snow, but roofing with valleys or flatter grades may be structurally incapable of holding up. According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, undamaged roofs should be able to hold up around 20 pounds of snow for every square foot before they experience stress. However, once the snow on a roof begins to pack from additional large amounts of snow accumulating on top of it, it can be difficult to estimate the pressure on the roof. Additionally, as ice builds up underneath, the load will have no way to drain, adding more stress to the structure. Just this past week First Choice has had two large businesses in Holland, MI contact us because their roofs caved in on them. Believe us, a roof collapse is a big problem, and it is something you never want to experience.
Ice dam formation is also problematic for home and business owners. The buildup of ice in gutters can cause backup under the shingles – leading to ceiling leaks – and even water entry through tiny gaps such as those between windows and siding. You do not want to discover a mini river flowing through your bathroom or bedroom. Ice dams can peel shingles off of roofs and collapse awnings or even tear the gutters themselves off. If you do not want to repair or replace your shingles or your gutters in the spring, watch your roof and take precautions against heavy snow accumulation up there. At a minimum, consider investing in a roof rake. Balancing on a ladder with a broom is both unpleasant and dangerous, as is climbing up on an icy roof to shovel it off.
Please bear in mind that any flat roof surfaces are particularly liable to leak and cause damage. A good rule of thumb is that the steeper the roof, the fewer problems it will have with snow accumulation. If you experience water damage or need help with a winter-induced clean up, give First Choice a call. We’ll be happy to advise you and help return your home or business to normal.
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