As the snow continues to fall in northwestern Ontario, homeowners may want to take a close look at the condition of their roof. The additional weight of snow can cause a variety of issues with your home, including water damage, and the need to replace your shingles or the roof entirely.

While some residents may choose to remove the snow off of their roofs on their own, and some residents choose to hire a friend or an unqualified individual, but this may lead to complications with your roof’s warranty.

“You want to hire someone that’s licensed, insured, and follow Ontario’s safety practices. There must be three people on site, one guy on the ground, one guy on the ladder, and tie-offs on the roof for fall protection,” said Robert Emond, owner of REMR Roofing.

He adds that roof warranties in Ontario state that you must hire the person who installed the roof to remove the snow buildup, or hire someone who is properly qualified to do so – to avoid voiding your warranty. 

“If you don’t hire someone licensed, it could void your roof’s warranty with the company or the manufacturer. There’s special procedures to remove snow that you need to consider for shingles, venting, and keeping the roof in it’s proper condition.

Additionally, if an unqualified person is hired and gets injured while removing the snow, the homeowner could be liable for their injuries or damages. Licenced contractors carry workers compensation for injured workers, as well as liability coverage.

Roofs are recommended to be cleared of any snow when you see: more than two feet of snow on the roof, cracks in your home’s walls, door friction or inside doors that no longer close, unusual cracking noises, ceiling deformation, or any roof ice buildup.

“There was a lot of snow this year. Even if you get six feet off around the edges to take the weight off of the walls, let the snow melt and drain into the eavestrough, that’s probably a minimum course of action this winter,” added Emond.

Emond noted that many older homes deal with ice buildup issues – called ice dams. These are typically found in areas closest to the edge or eavestrough on the roof.

“Ice dams are prevalent in homes from the 50’s to the 70’s where insulation wasn’t at its best. What happens is heat escapes through the walls up to the edge of the roof, starts building ice, and the more snow up there, the more ice will build. It will get under your shingles. When it all melts, it melts inside your home and drips down.”

Tips to avoid ice dams include: increasing the number of roof vents to improve attic ventilation, a perfect balance between intake and exhaust vents to keep the attic cool, lower home humidity levels, and improving insulation and ventilation. Ice barriers can also be installed on the roof itself.

For more information:
Health unit offers shovelling safety tips

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