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While I thought that certain aspects of removing snow from potentially over-burdened roofs were self-evident, yesterday I learned that it is not necessarily the case. As I witnessed a person removing snow with the use of a metal/steel shovel, he appeared to be oblivious to the potential damage that could occur as a result of his very aggressive shoveling technique.  I suspect that he was removing not only snow, but also some of the roof cover components, which blended in with the snow being removed.  It was also apparent that other people removing the snow from the roof were employees of the business occupying the building.  I shuddered to think about how they were going to approach the ice dams on that same roof.

My main thought was that their haphazard method of snow removal could potentially void the roof warranty if there was one in place. I confirmed this fact with preventive property management expert, Doreen Lang. It was at that point in time that I called commercial roofing expert, Mike Lynch, of Associate Roofing in Braintree, to discuss practical, common sense methods of flat roof snow removal.

After an extensive conversation with Associate Roofing, it had become abundantly clear that, while there are several things to keep in mind during the removal of snow from a flat roof, the most important thing for a commercial property owner is to ensure that the removal process will occur in a safe and responsible manner. To that end, I would strongly advise the use of a professional roofer like Associated. The decision on whether or not to use non-professionals versus the use of a professional roofing company is clearly a case of “cheaper” potentially being the most expensive approach should a problem occur once the “dust/snow settles”.

Also, unless one has taken simple preventative steps with various heated cable options, ice dams have probably formed to further contribute to one’s roofing woes. If the dams have in fact formed, one may want to consider the “used pantyhose” method until a professional can be employed to remedy the situation properly and efficiently. The pantyhose legs should be filled with calcium chloride and then draped over the ice dam and gutter, all in a vertical pattern. A long-handled garden tool could be used to place the pantyhose into position.

As mentioned throughout this memo, I would recommend that only a professional be employed for the implementation of any of the suggested remedies. Please be careful, and above all, be safe!

Shown in the photos are the professionals of Associate Roofing removing snow from a roof the correct way.

Jay Nuss
Jay Nuss Realty Group, LLC
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