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Protect Your Business and Self-Storage Tenants From Sliding Ice and Snow

When ice or snow slides off a roof, it doesn’t care what’s below. Self-storage tenants can be injured, vehicles can be damaged, and the results can cost your business a lot of money. Guest blogger James Carpenter of Sno Gem Inc. discusses some problem areas that can quickly become dangerous and explains how a snow-retention system can provide peace of mind.

Guest

December 3, 2015

3 Min Read
Protect Your Business and Self-Storage Tenants From Sliding Ice and Snow

By James Carpenter

With winter weather upon us, it’s time for a reminder that sliding ice and snow can become a safety hazard and cause expensive damage at your self-storage facility. As you walk around your property, it’s easy to spot areas that can become dangerous. Unit doors, entry ways, sidewalks and parking areas located directly below eaves, or anywhere tenants or pedestrians may be, should be areas of immediate concern.

When ice or snow slides off a roof, it doesn’t care what’s below. Customers can be injured, vehicles can be damaged, and the results can cost your business a lot of money. The installation of a snow-retention system on roofs without guard protection can help reduce dangers, provide peace of mind and save you hard-earned cash. Always make sure you partner with a reputable manufacturer that can offer a variety of products and the correct layout for a specific roof.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the areas of concern and potential consequences from sliding ice and snow:

On the Ground

You no doubt take pride in the appearance of your self-storage property and may have invested in attractive landscaping including plants around the perimeter of a building. Are any of these areas in the direct path of snow or ice that could slide off the roof? If so, plants can sustain heavy damage and sometimes be killed. The time and expense to replace damaged plants in the spring adds up quickly.

Roofs with long runs can shed a lot of snow, which can pile up next to the building. As piles get high enough, snow can slide down into some commercial or residential buildings, possibly covering up any vents coming out of the walls or basement windows. When that snow starts to melt, excessive water can cause damage to the building and its foundation.

On the Roof

It’s important to keep in mind that sliding snow and ice can be dangerous and damaging long before it gets to the eaves. Take a look at your roof to determine if any penetrations are vulnerable to sliding ice and snow.

For example, vent stacks are a favorite target of sliding snow. They can be bent over or even sheared off at the roofline. If a vent stack is closer to the eaves, it’s more susceptible to damage from sliding snow and ice because there is more snow piled up behind it. Any roof penetration, including skylights and chimneys, can be damaged by sliding snow and ice.

Gutters can become a catch-all in sliding snow-and-ice conditions. They can be torn off, causing extensive damage to the building fascia as well as the gutters themselves. Keep in mind, the greater the slope, the faster snow and ice can move. Also, the longer the run, the more snow and ice sits on the roof.

One area of the roof that often gets overlooked as a possible problem is any valley. Sliding snow and ice can damage the valley detail as well as the roofing panel on the other side of the valley. Heavy snow sliding into a perpendicular standing-seam roofing panel can bend, flatten or even tear apart the standing seam.

When it comes to the need for snow retention, make sure nothing is overlooked. Any oversight can prove costly, both physically and financially.

James Carpenter is vice president of operations at Sno Gem Inc., a manufacturer of snow-retention products for self-storage and other industries. Based in McHenry, Ill., the company’s principals have leveraged more than 100 years of combined experience in architectural sheet metal and roofing to develop the company’s line of snow guards. The company also offers solar-panel and roof-accessory attachments. For more information, call 888.SNO.GEMS; visit www.snogem.com.

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