Roofing contractors are getting plenty of calls about ice clogging gutters, leaks into rooms from ceilings and bay windows, and concerns about how much snow is advisable to remain on a roof before there is a collapse. It is all about weight and letting the water flow to the ground.
Professionals recommend that snow more than 3-feet deep on pitched roof or 10-inches high on a flat roof should be removed and gutters should be inspected. Most properly-built structures have roofs that can withstand some snow, but not huge drifts and water-logged snow weighs more than the fluffy kind. This is especially the case for patios and decks.
While they say homeowners can use a tool called a roof rake from the ground, they strongly urge homeowners to call a professional if any climbing or use of a ladder is required.
“It is not safe and there is reason we have such high insurance rates. These surfaces are icy and even if you do this in dry weather it is not advisable to try it yourself in these conditions. There are times when we aren’t going to do it either,” Darrell Babboni of Honey-Do-Men in Carmel said repeating what he has told many callers. His roofing and renovation company has served Putnam and northern Westchester since 2001.
“Mother Nature is beating the hell of your house, that’s for sure,” he said. “The problem is that we’ve had a lot of snow, which melted, refroze and then got snowed on again. And as temperatures warm up it will get worse tomorrow (Saturday).”
Dennis Bates, foreman at Hastings Roofing in Yonkers, advises homeowners to check if large ice chunks are blocking gutters, which could prevent normal post storm run-off.
“At some point the water has no place to go and will go under the shingles and that is trouble,” he said, adding it is also important to “keep snow away from the house and where gutter pipes eventually drain.”
And Gary Parakus, owner of Gary’s Gutter Service in Congers, explains it is basic physics.
“If the water can’t get drain into the gutter it backs up and goes underneath the shingles and creeps back against the roof,” he said.
He can tell when the temperatures rise and melting begins without a thermometer because his phone calls pick up.
“It starts in the early afternoon when the sun comes out and people see some dripping,” he said. “But sometimes all we can do is wait until it’s over.”
(Above file photo by Frank Becerra/The Journal News)