Use caution if removing snow from roofs

For Immediate Release: Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sponsored by: Department of Land Use and Transportation, Planning and Development Services Division

The forecasted heavy rain may threaten the structural integrity of some roofs, particularly if those roofs are covered still covered by ice and snow. Home and building owners should make sure to take precautions if attempting to remove snow.

High-risk roof situations may include:

  • Large open flat roofs, barrel roofs, roofs with less than 30 degrees of slope, multi-level roofs, heavily insulated roofs and pre-engineered roofs on bar joists.

  • Roofs with previous structural damage and those that have already experienced collapse.

  • Areas shaded from direct sunlight that may cause snow to freeze into ice and increase the snow load.

Critical signs of imminent failure in roofs could be:

  • Visible structural sagging

  • Newly cracked sheetrock

  • Unusual noises, specifically creaking, snapping or popping

Use caution when removing snow from rooftops to prevent damage to the roof membrane and to maintain safety. Snow removal should be done by knowledgeable, experienced employees or outside contractors. Follow these guidelines:

  • Hire only professionals who can provide copies of insurance certificates.

  • Sign a hold-harmless contract.

  • Set up ladders and other equipment on stable ground away from slippery ice and with plenty of help for bracing.

  • Do not remove snow all the way down to the roof covering.

  • Use plastic shovels rather than metal.

  • Do not stack piles of snow on the roof;rather remove it directly off the roof. Watch areas where snow is landing.

  • Adjust snow blowers to prevent rotating components from coming into contact with the roof surface.

Washington County is committed to planning, building and maintaining a great transportation system, ensuring the safety of all roadway users, and operating the County roadway system in a cost-effective and environmentally responsible manner.

Media Contact:

Melissa De Lyser, Communications Coordinator