Heavy Snow Causes Water and Structural Damage to Commercial Properties
We’ve been hit with our first snowstorm in the Milford area and although the snowfall totals weren’t as high as some other areas in the Northeast, it got us thinking about how to protect the businesses in our area.
Commercial property owners know that protecting their investment and ensuring business continuity is vital to their success. One thing that is at times overlooked is the roof of a commercial building. When you think about it, the roof is the first line of defense against storms, wind, fire and all the elements outdoors
When it snows, commercial properties can be at risk of roof leaks, damage to the roof from snow removal techniques as well as collapse due to the heavy weight of the snow. Some elements to consider are the design of your roof and the weight it was designed to hold, it’s elevation and it’s age.
Keep in Mind:
- Fresh snow: 10-12 inches of new snow is equal to one inch of water, or about 5 lbs per square foot of roof space.
- Packed snow generally is heavier than new snow: 3-5 inches of old snow is equal to one inch of water, again about 5 lbs per square foot of roof space.
- Ice is also heavier than snow. One inch equals about a foot of fresh snow.
- The total amount of accumulated snow and ice is what matters in evaluating snow load risk. For example, the accumulated weight of two feet of old snow and two feet of new snow could be as high as 60 lbs per square foot of roof space, which may stress the limits of even the best-designed roof.
We recommend that in addition to regular maintenance on your roof, you carefully select a snow removal contractor. Make sure that your contractor uses methods and equipment that removes the snow without damaging your roof. If you're unsure of where to begin, The Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA) offers certification to snow removal professionals and has information on their website to assist commercial property owners.