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How to Safely Remove Snow From a Commercial Roof

Snow on the Walmart Roof

Safely Remove Snow from a Commercial Roof

During the winter, knowing how to safely remove snow from a commercial roof can save you from possible roof damage or collapse.  Learn the warning signs for when it’s time for roof snow removal, and work with GSM roofing on a snow removal plan.

Why is Roof Snow Removal Important?

It’s critical to remember that every roof was designed with a maximum load limit, meaning there is only so much weight the roof has been designed to hold safely. Any changes to the amount of weight your roof is supporting can lead to a roof collapse.

With that in mind, it’s important to know the potential weight of snow accumulation on your roof. Dry snow weighs on average 7 lbs. per cubic foot, while wet snow weighs anywhere from 12 to 18 lbs. per cubic foot. Twelve inches of snow from an impending storm can easily lead to thousands of pounds of stress on your roof.

This increased stress can lead to major building damage, potential roof avalanches, leaks, loss of productivity, and even severe injury (or death) to your employees and/or customers. A snowstorm can turn tragic in an instant if you don’t have a proper plan for snow removal in place.

Why Can’t I Take Care Commercial Roof Snow Removal Myself?

It may be tempting to try and remove the snow accumulation yourself, but one wrong step can easily lead to a decision you and your team will regret. Many risks go along with tackling the removal of snow on your roof. Some risks include damage to your roof as well as the potential for injury. By hiring a professional you can avoid:

• Damaging shingles, ballast, roof membrane, gutters, and the creation of leaks.
• Falls from roof edges, ladders, aerial lifts, roof collapse, and through skylights.
• Shock and electrocution from accidental damage to extension cords and contact with power lines.
• Musculoskeletal injuries as a result of overexertion.
• Hypothermia or frostbite from freezing temperatures and windy conditions.

On top of the many risks involved with taking matters into your own hands, your company may also be subject to big fines if OSHA fall protection regulations are not properly followed.

When Should Snow Be Removed from a Commercial Roof?

Contrary to popular belief, it is not a good idea to wait as long as possible before having snow removed from your roof. Typically it is best to start clearing your roof when your roof load limit has reached 50% of its capacity, which could be with as little as 6 inches of snow. Don’t forget to take into account how heavy the snow is! Remember, wet snow can be twice as heavy as dry snow, if not more.

How do I Prepare for Snowy Weather?

The best way to avoid a potential winter roofing disaster is with preparation. Don’t wait for signs of an imminent collapse to take action. Rather, use the season before the snow to perform preventive maintenance on your roof, such as inspecting your roof for signs of damage, clogged gutters, or roof debris. Contact GSM Roofing if you still need to perform your seasonal preventive maintenance.

You can also prepare for snowy weather by securing a professional who will be ready to tackle your roof at the first sign of snow. GSM Roofing has the experience, equipment, and certifications necessary to properly handle any snow removal project safely and securely.

GSM Roof Snow Removal Plan:

The GSM Roof Snow Removal plan includes a comprehensive 8-point checklist that will determine the locations of high-impact snow removal areas, identify potential hazards and determine the best OSHA-compliant safety equipment to use for snow removal. Our team starts by investigating all vulnerable areas of the roof, such as drains, gutters, downspouts, and areas of accumulated snow. Next, we secure areas where the snow will be dumped from the roof, preventing access from unauthorized personnel. Finally, we remove the snow and clear any ice from your drains or gutters. Each step is performed by experienced, OSHA-compliant GSM team members.

Be prepared this winter with a GSM Roofing Snow Removal Plan. Don’t put your people or your property at risk. Our experienced team is standing by to safely protect your roof as well as your customers and employees from the harsh winter weather.

Watch GSM roofers in action removing snow from Walmart’s roof.

Ready to talk about a commercial roof snow removal plan? Contact us today.

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Glad to be wrapping up this project, but most of all ..enjoyed working with you and GSM, your company is spot on and customer service is off the charts!
Thank you!

Diana Hess Project Manager June 28, 2022