The Importance of Snow Removal from Commercial Roofs

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When heavy snowfall pushes weight limits on the roof to dangerous levels, it is imperative that the snow be removed to prevent a roof collapse.

A roof collapse causes significant building damage, endangers people’s lives, risks damaging or destroying building contents, halts or reduces productivity, and usually leads to huge financial losses. Even winter’s routine freeze/thaw cycle can contribute to roof defects that can cause your roof to leak and damage your property. Snow removal can make all the difference!

We understand the importance of removing heavy snows before they damage your roof’s structural integrity. Our crews are experienced in removing snow in accordance with OSHA safety regulations. When you enroll your facility in one of our snow removal programs, you can count on us to be there to remove damaging snow before it affects your roof. We’re offering two types of snow removal services: Pre-Storm Program and Emergency Response Service.

Snow Load Issues

One foot of light snow is approximately the same weight as one inch of water, which weighs five pounds per square foot. Heavy, wet, or packed snow can weigh substantially more, adding 10–20 pounds per cubic foot of weight to the roof’s surface. Snow that thaws and refreezes can weigh as much as 40–60 pounds per cubic foot. In northern climates where it’s not uncommon to receive three or more feet of snow at a time, the added weight quickly becomes a burden on the roof.

Signs of Snow Overload

Damage to the roof from heavy snow events is progressive. Snow accumulation that is not promptly removed can weaken the roof’s structure and surface, making it easier for subsequent snows to wreak havoc. In addition to making a visual assessment, check for other indicators that your roof has suffered from snow damage.
 

These signs include:

• Noticeable roof deformities

• New areas of ponding water after snow-melt

• Sagging or bent metal purlins

• Leaking, which could indicate membrane damage

• Audible “popping” noises emanating from the building’s structure
 

Your facility’s original blueprints might include a notation of safe snow loads, but it can be difficult to determine snow load limits on older facilities and on weakened roof structures.

Factors That Increase Snow Load Problems

Low-slope roofs are more susceptible to damage than steeper roofs because heavy snows cannot easily slide off. Windblown drifting can create huge snow drifts, resulting in substantial loads on certain parts of the roof. Multilevel roofs and rooftop lean-tos encourage drifting—putting low areas of a facility roof at greater risk for damage. Furthermore, snow and ice melt-off can freeze and block drainage systems. Even when snow or ice accumulation doesn’t exceed your roof’s weight capacity, drifting and wind can cause unanticipated roof failures or leaks. Roofs can (and do) cave in with no warning signs.

Snow Removal

When the time comes to remove excess snow or ice from your roof, it must be removed by hand, in a checkerboard pattern, to avoid causing instability in the roof. Snow removal equipment designed for use on the ground, such as snow blowers, power brooms, and ordinary snow shovels, can cause damage to your roof, along with skylights and buried gas lines, and you should never use a pick or axe to chop ice. Sending a general maintenance crew to the roof can be risky, due to potentially icy and slippery surfaces. Most maintenance crews do not have the expertise, safety equipment, and snow removal tools necessary to complete the job safely, and can oftentimes do more harm to your roof than good.

Don’t put your people or property at risk. Let our trained and skilled experts remove the snow from your roof. We have the OSHA-approved full protection equipment to properly and safely remove the snow. We also understand your roofing system and know how to protect it during the removal process. We’ll make sure you get your roof cleared without voiding your warranty.

Pre-storm Program

This proactive program is for the building manager or owner who likes to minimize his or her chances of disaster.

Let us know 48 hours before the storm, and we’ll be ready when it hits.

• Receive our top priority response.

• No holdups. One call and it’s done.

• Custom snow removal plans developed for each facility and snow event.

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Emergency Response Service

It’s said that the true measure of someone’s character is how he or she reacts in a crisis. So whether your emergency is man-made or courtesy of Mother Nature, you can rely on Point Roofing and Restoration.

Emergency Disaster Response teams nationwide are placed on standby notice.

We’re ready to dispatch and mobilize skilled manpower, specialized equipment, and materials needed to get customers back in business quickly.
We provide all necessary documentation for filing insurance claims.

How Roof Snow Removal Works

All snow removal is to be completed on a time and materials basis. We reserve the right to assess each property on a location to location basis and in some cases, we may refuse to attempt the snow removal, should structural damage be evident, or if safety concerns cannot be rectified prior to the start of work.

Snow removal is a crucial part of commercial roofing maintenance. The professionals at Point Roofing and Restoration can help.

Before scheduling can take place, the owner or owner’s representative is required to deem the building safe.

The owner is to provide Point Roofing with a Not To Exceed (NTE) amount along with a work order or purchase order number before any work can proceed.

Point Roofing will remove the snow from the roof according to the owner or owner’s representative’s specifications. All roof snow removal is to be coordinated with the owner’s ground clearing contractors for handling and removal of the snow from the site, at the owner’s expense.

Point Roofing will take every precaution not to damage the roof during the snow removal. However, if subsequent damage does occur Point Roofing will repair the damage at an extra charge to the owner.

Point Roofing will send “after” pictures of the snow removal along with a sign-off sheet with the signature of the owner’s representative if available at the time of completion.