Methods and Measures of a Winter Roof Installation

In Calgary during a normal winter we see on average 120-220 cm of snowfall over the course the season.  Inevitably it’s something that our roofers are going to have to deal with.  Naturally there will be snow on some houses before we begin work, and a lot of homeowners ask how we manage to work with it.  Truth to tell – the installation of the roof is easier in the cold than in the rain.  Snow is easily swept or blown off and then work can commence.  We have a few simple procedures we follow that keep us safe and sound.

Typical procedures in Calgary for winter work on a roof installation:

Lay Out Tarps – Lay tarps all around the work area.  This way we are able to catch any debris that falls from the roof, such as nails or pieces of shingle.  If there’s lots of snow we will return in the spring to do another ground clean up, but we like to ensure we get as much as possible during the installation.
Set up the Ladder – The ladder must be secured at the top of the roof with a strap and at the bottom with something heavy – typically we use bundles.  This ensures that the feet of the ladder do not slip or migrate during use.

Korkers are a roofers best friend in icy winter conditions.

Korkers are a roofers best friend in icy winter conditions.

WEAR KORKERS ICE CLEATS! – Korkers are worth their weight in gold during a Calgary roof replacement in the winter.  Each shoe has 18 sharp hardened metal spikes that grip tightly to the roof in snowy or icy conditions and keep us walking safely on the roof.  The sharp spikes cause immediate wear and tear on the roof, so they can only be worn during replacement, and should never be used during assessment.  It is important to keep Korkers Ice Cleats properly maintained, and the spikes in-place and sufficiently sharp.  Properly utilized, the Korkers make working on a roof replacement in a typical Calgary winter an easy task.
Remove Snow from the Roof – This is accomplished by pushing the snow off then sweeping and/or blowing the remaining snow off.  Sometimes there is a layer of ice along the eaves – the beginning of an ice dam – that must be scraped off.  This causes damage to the shingles and unless you’re replacing your roof ice must never be removed from the roof mechanically.  After we remove the snow from the roof we dismount and clean the pathways,
Lift the Shingles – After the snow is removed from the roof we start lifting the shingles and emptying them into the bin.  Once this is performed we sweep the roof off and we remove the ice cleats.  Now we can safely walk on the roof in our shoes and the installation of the underlay and shingles commences!

But what about the shingles getting loaded onto the roof of the house?

In most situations when the roof is accessible the shingles are loaded onto the roof by crane.  In Calgary the operator uses the same procedures we use for loading the roof as we do for replacing it: A secure ladder, Korkers ice cleats, and a shovel.  Work continues year round in the Calgary roofing business, and while the cold will slow us down slightly, it’s all in a days work!

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