The weight of winter on Prince Edward Island's roofs

Dave Stewart
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Roger Deveau of Charlottetown cleans the snow off the roof of his house Monday. The Island has been hit with heavy snowfalls this month and all that snow adds a  lot of extra weight to roofs so it is a good idea to remove the snow, experts say.

Company that cleans snow off roofs extremely busy while insurance industry says calls for damage are coming in

Islanders are feeling the weight of concern when it comes to snow on roofs.

The owner of a roofing company that specializes in snow removal says his phone has been ringing off the hook lately.

“We are extremely busy,’’ said Mike Pollard, owner of Pollard’s Roofing Inc. “We’ve had 150 calls so far since Saturday.’’

When Pollard isn’t handling the usual roofing-type job during the spring-fall period, the business switches over to handle snow removal from walkways, decks and roofs and with the type of winter P.E.I. has suffered through so far, business is booming.

“We’ve had no wind (during the recent snowstorms) and this heavy rain and it was raining fairly good (Monday) morning it just makes the snow twice as heavy. With most roofs, it’s not really the weight of the snow that’s a concern.’’

Steve Kee, director of media relations with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, told The Guardian on Monday that snow and ice has resulted in more than $3 billion worth of damage claims since winter weather began.


“People should be checking with their home (broker) on their policy, to see what is covered,’’ Kee said.

The Guardian spoke to a few insurance brokers on Monday to get a sense of whether people were experiencing structural problems with either homes or barns, and while no one wanted to do an interview on the record, they were quite willing to provide some general information.

One Charlottetown broker said there are getting calls for damage claims and that concern is growing about the weight of the snow on roofs as well as over a buildup of snow and ice.

“We are hearing about buildings coming down or sections of buildings coming down,’’ the broker said.

Another broker said as far as the mitigation of loss goes it’s not a bad idea to try and get some of the snow off the roof but they all stopped short of actually recommending people go up on their roofs.

In fact, they were pretty unanimous when it came to telling people to stay off their roofs.

Mary MacPherson told The Guardian on Twitter that she was going to have someone look at hers.

“I’d rather be proactive than have problems later,’’ MacPherson said. “I talked to MacBeth’s who did my roof and they ‘usually’ don’t recommend removing snow because you can damage the shingles.’’

Pollard said his crew is careful not to damage shingles.

“We don’t go right down because there is the potential to damage the shingles because they’re so brittle at this time of year,’’ he said.

Pollard said it’s the busiest time for roof clearing he’s seen in three or four years when they cleaned snow off the roofs of 350 residential homes.

“I imagine we’ll shovel right until probably February if we keep on getting the snow we’re getting.’’

Organizations: Islanders, Roofing, Insurance Bureau of Canada

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown

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