Snow Accumulation & Your Cottage
The Muskoka region and much of the province has seen record amounts of snowfall this winter, settling on roofs, window wells, and the rest of your property until the springtime arrives. With heavy snow accumulation comes the risk of significant damage to your cottage, especially to your roof and windows. It’s important to know how snow accumulation can affect your cottage during winter months, and what precautions you should take in order to avoid damage and to reduce risks for future winter seasons.
Snow accumulation can cause significant damage to your cottage
After a winter full of heavy snow and freezing rain, there’s a very good chance that your cottage roof has accumulated large amounts of heavy snow. While it’s difficult to determine exactly how much snow your roof can handle, it’s important to understand that it’s not the depth of the snow you need to be concerned about, but rather the weight of the snow. Building code requirements make it necessary for roofs to be able to support 21 pounds per square foot at a minimum, with larger buildings designed to accommodate larger loads. Snow accumulation can cause catastrophic damage to your cottage or home, often causing the roof to collapse under the weight of snow and ice.
Another often overlooked area that is affected by snow accumulation are the window wells of your cottage. With their out of sight design, it’s easy to overlook window wells when clearing snow from your property in order to ensure that water does not pool outside your window. Pooling water from melting snow and ice greatly increases the risk of water entering your home, causing damage to your basement. Snow buildup inside window wells can also add unnecessary stress to your windows, and even reduce its accessibility in the event of an emergency.
When should you be concerned with snow accumulation
If you’re concerned that the roof of your cottage may be feeling the effects of heavy snow accumulation, there are a number of things you can look for. One of the most significant signs of snow damage to your roof is the presence of unusual sounds coming from your roof and supporting walls – if you hear anything out of the ordinary, it may be a good idea to contact a professional.
Other major signs of snow accumulation include things like sagging ceilings, cracking in drywall or plaster, water leaks following snowfall or rain, and doors that suddenly begin to jam. Leaks emanating from basement windows can indicate that water is entering because of accumulation in window wells. You should also be checking your window wells for buildup of snow or ice, as well as any obvious signs of damage to windows and window frames.
How to protect your cottage from snow accumulation
In order to avoid damage caused by snow accumulation, you’ll want to have the snow and ice cleared from the roof of your cottage. It’s important to do this safely, which means hiring an insured snow removal company with the equipment and experience needed to effectively and safely remove snow from your roof. Attempting to clear the roof yourself can lead to damaging the shingles on your roof, and can result in injury if proper precautions are not taken. Cottage owners can clear snow using a shovel or rake from areas where the roof is easily accessible, but this can still be dangerous and harmful to the integrity of your roof in some cases. Additionally, next time you’re shovelling your driveway or simply clearing snow and ice buildup from around your cottage, remember to clear snow and ice buildup from in and around window wells.