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Roof collapses near Lively due to heavy snow

Why you should remove snow from your roof, how to do it and who to call for help

With heavy snowfall in Greater Sudbury this winter, a local business owner is stressing the importance of roof snow removal.

Home Inspect Solutions Inc. owner Greg Rheaume says the roof of a home located west of Lively collapsed due to heavy snow load on Feb. 17. 

"The weight was so immense, it pushed the exterior wall outwards causing the roof to self-destruct," Rheaume said. 

The property owners were on the roof removing the snow when it caved in. Luckily, no one was injured. 

There are a number of reasons why it may have occurred.  

Lack of ventilation with poor insulation can cause heavy ice damming and add weight to the roof. Depending on the roof pitch and type of roof framing, the structure may not be strong enough to support the weight of ice and large amount of snow.

"The accumulative amount of snow Northern Ontario has received to date on any given roof plus water saturation from rain amounts to thousands or tens of thousands of pounds." Rheaume said.

Here are some signs that your roof may be overloaded:

  • Pressure cracks in ceiling and/or walls
  • Blistered/bubbled paint
  • Water leaks, staining or crumbling drywall 

"When removing snow, it is imperative to remove it evenly." Rheaume said. "Take some snow off one side then some off another for weight distribution. Excessive weight on one side can have catastrophic outcomes."

Here are some methods you can use to make roof snow removing safer and a little easier:

  • A snow float works well with minimal effort
  • Snow rakes
  • Snow cutters
  • Try rope flossing (see video below)

If you feel uneasy or are unable to do the work yourself, Rheaume says it's best to call a registered and insured roofing contractor.

"They have experience working at heights and ladder safety training. They are equipped with lanyards, tie-offs, fall-arrest, and carry WSIB insurance."

"The task is dangerous for obvious reasons and thereby you need to protect yourself from any potential litigation from unlicensed, uninsured contractors, family members or friends from potential injuries or fatalities that may unfortunately arise."


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Heather Green-Oliver

About the Author: Heather Green-Oliver

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