Experts offer advice on snow removal after mall roof collapse

Experts offer advice on snow removal after mall roof collapse
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 6:00 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 15, 2023 at 6:27 PM CDT
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SUPERIOR WI. (Northern News Now) - As the clean-up continues at the Miller Hill Mall, some Northlanders may be worried about how their own roofs will hold up with even more snow on the way.

Under the weight of heavy snow, part of Miller Hill Mall’s roof collapsed Tuesday.

“It’s not unreasonable to say you had 50 pounds per square foot of roof of snow on that thing,” said Brock Hedegaard, a UMD Associate Professor of Civil Engineering.

Hedegaard estimates 80 tons of snow could have been pushing down on the section of the roof that collapsed.

And that wet heavy snow isn’t limited to falling on commercial buildings, it’s piling up on homes too.

With many roofs in the Twin Ports covered in white and with more snow on the way, some local snow removers are having a very busy season.

“We have been running non-stop 24/7,” said Nick Tollas, owner of Top Shelf Landscaping & Snow Removal.

According to Tollas, if you have more than 12 inches of snow on your roof, it’s time to remove it.

“If you look at a roof that you have 12 inches of wet heavy snow on, I mean, the amount of weight that can put on a roof is extremely stressful on the roofs,” Tollas said.

His crews have been removing massive amounts of snow from both residential and commercial buildings throughout the region.

If you’re going to clear your roof yourself, he recommends only using plastic shovels.

Shovels with metal edges on them can damage roofs.

Tollas says a roof rake can also work well, but may not be effective on a very tall structure.

And if you’ve got ice dams, you may want to want to take a look at your insulation.

“If it’s poorly insulated and you have a lot of heat escape, coming out of the bottom of your roof, that’s what causes the ice dams,” Tollas said.

And though you can clear the snow off yourself, it may not be a job for everyone.

“If you feel unsafe, just don’t do it. Because you know if you’re not comfortable, you could slip you could fall and you know it could really turn into a bad day,” Tollas said.

For more information about the services provided by Top Shelf Landscaping and Snow Removal, click here.