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Small Cabin Forum / General Forum / Steel roof, snow questions.......
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deercula
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# Posted: 1 Jan 2017 21:46 - Edited by: deercula
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This is my cabins first winter, so I am trying to keep an eye on things. Is it better if the snow slides off, lessening the snow load? I'm thinking I may need snow shutters to protect my windows if the snow keeps sliding off and pileing up the side of the cabin. Should my overhangs have been bigger? Took these pics today, 2 days after snow totaling about a foot. Snow slides off an unheated cabin. Is this just because the dark roof was getting full sun? Could this cause a problem as winter progresses and more snow slides off, putting stress on side walls? . .

silverwaterlady
Member
# Posted: 1 Jan 2017 22:09 - Edited by: silverwaterlady
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We have a metal roof and our cabin is in Northern Ontario we get a lot of lake effect snow.
We have five foot overhangs so the snow slides off away from the cabin.
Nobody is there to get hit with the snow so we don't worry about that. We don't want the snow load on the roof even though we have a sturdy roof.
We've been told there is usually a mountain of snow six feet tall.
The only problem we had was snow melt in the spring when all that snow melted than would refreeze at night.
We had foundation heaving,had to fix the foundation and also have trenches dug with weeping tiles and gravel added to aide in drainage.
So it was a nightmare.

MtnDon
Member
# Posted: 1 Jan 2017 22:11
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Quoting: deercula
Is it better if the snow slides off, lessening the snow load?


If the roof structure was designed for the ground snow load for your area (as it should be) then there should be no issue if the snow sits on the roof until it melts. We have snow guards that prevent snow slides. One of our reasons for that was to prevent snow slides from tearing off the gutters. The other reason was to prevent slides being a danger to us when we walked along a sideof the building. If your structure is up to the ground snow load then snow guards would prevent the slide build up against walls/windows.

If you Google "snow guards" and select images you will see different types; tabs, bars, sheet metal dams and pipes. I made ours from pipe placed parallel to the eve edge, about 6" from the eve edge.

FYI, we also made our roof with the eve edge 24 inches out from the wall. That was originally designed to provide summer shade on the windows, with the sun high in the sky. In winter the lower sun angle still allowed the sun to hit the glass. For the first couple of winters the side benefit was the snow slides piled up distant from the walls,so yes, wider soffits have a benefit. We added the snow guards later when we decided we wanted gutters.

silverwaterlady
Member
# Posted: 1 Jan 2017 22:13
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We don't have gutters.

silverwaterlady
Member
# Posted: 1 Jan 2017 22:17
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I'm also going to add that we are never there in the winter and its snowed in unless you use a snow machine,ski or snowshoe in.
I did not want to worry about all that snow weight on the roof being that we would not be able to detect any damage until spring.

bldginsp
Member
# Posted: 1 Jan 2017 22:38 - Edited by: bldginsp
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On the east coast they install snow guards to keep snow on the roof partly to provide additional insulation for the house. Snow is a good insulator.

If snow piles up against the glass of the windows it could break the glass. This is often an issue with sliding doors. You'd have to get a lot of snow, though, for it to pile that high.

Often snow will slide off an unheated cabin when the air temperature rises above freezing, and the air is able to enter the attic through ventilation openings. This causes the underside of the roof to warm enough to melt the bottom of the snow. Water is an excellent lubricant- below 212F that is.

I doubt the snow piled against the walls will threaten the walls themselves, but could the glass if enough snow is against it. Houses on hillsides in areas that get many feet of snow can be damaged as the glacier tries to move down the hill, but this is a rare and extreme circumstance.

If you have large piles of snow against the walls and get a sudden melt, I suppose it's possible the snow could create an ice dam at the bottom of the siding, forcing melt water into the wall from the bottom, similar to an ice dam forcing water uphill in shingles on a roof, making a leak.

Have I scared you enough yet? So long as the piles of snow against the house don't get over 4 feet, I doubt you'll have any problems.

deercula
Member
# Posted: 2 Jan 2017 07:50
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Thanks to all for your input! Time will tell........

silverwaterlady
Member
# Posted: 2 Jan 2017 08:12
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Good luck.
This cabin has been a learning experience as to how harsh winter can be.

deercula
Member
# Posted: 2 Jan 2017 13:14 - Edited by: deercula
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bldginsp ........"You'd have to get a lot of snow, though, for it to pile that high."................

Average annual snowfall 140".......

bldginsp
Member
# Posted: 2 Jan 2017 15:37
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Way outside of my experience. Talk to the locals. They'll know from past history.

NorthRick
Member
# Posted: 2 Jan 2017 18:31
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Kind of late now but with a 140" average, you should have made those eves stick out farther. It's interesting that the snow you show in your photos landed straight down from the edge. When ours goes, it has enough momentum coming off the roof that it lands several feet out from the edge. That, combined with a 2' overhang, and that our cabin is up off the ground, the snow never touches the walls.

A friend who lives in a regular house in the same region did have a window blown out when a big slab slid off, hit the ground, and then fell back into the house. It was more ice than snow and didn't crumple when it hit the ground.

Wendigolake
Member
# Posted: 2 Jan 2017 19:25 - Edited by: Wendigolake
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My roof in Northern Ontario is a very steep pitch. Nothing stays on it. The snow slides off so fast it hits the ground a good distance from the cottage. The cottage is several decades old and never have I had a problem with snow against the walls or windows.

Wendigolake
Member
# Posted: 2 Jan 2017 19:31
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My cottage is in Northern Ontario. We get a lot of snow around our cottage. Our roof is a very steep pitch and the snow slides off so fast it lands more than 8ft away from the walls. We never have had a problem with snow next to the walls or windows and the cottage is 5 decades old. Everything depends on your roof pitch for where the snow lands and how close to your walls and windows.

deercula
Member
# Posted: 3 Jan 2017 10:03
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Quoting: bldginsp
Talk to the locals. They'll know from past history.


That would be the builder. I left decisions about the structure to him. Told him not to go cheap, and rely on his experience. I think he knows what he is doing. He has built in this area for years, and I did not hear any bad things about his structures. Just a bit paranoid since this is my first cabin rodeo. Don't want to lose my investment, or have to make an insurance claim.

When your cabin was freshly built, did you feel like a worried new parent?

Steve_S
Member
# Posted: 3 Jan 2017 11:17
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Worried like a new parent ? Well, maybe to some extent I suppose, seems only natural after you've invested cash, labour, worry, frustration and donated some blood for something you care about.

I doubt you will have any real issues to deal with as the cabin is on piers with space underneath which will allow for the water to drain away. You may have to adjust the "under cabin grade" in the spring to ensure that the centre is higher and that water flows / drains away from cabin.

I am however a bit surprised at the eaves being so small but that varies all over. In my area it is recommended and highly suggested that eaves extend 16" out minimum from the side... I myself went 24" out and with a 9/12 pitch metal roof, when the built up snow slides off, it's moving at pace and lands about 3' from the side. Sure as heck would not want to be standing under that when it comes down.

Snow Guards, etc can help to some extent but won't solve the problem and could actually cause a few if not done just right. I looked at your post when you built the cabin, I didn't spot where you mention the pitch & elevation, would it be possible to extend the eaves overhang out some more ? That would certainly depend on the pitch of course and a few other points - this would be drastic and likely only needed IF you see the problem as actual and not as a potential _or_ if it's a matter of a personal need to feel a bit more secure that your avoiding a potentiality.

BUT All that having been said, this could be an opportunity to add a side porch (on one side) and a longer overhang on the north side for woodpile stacking or... Killing 2 or more birds with one lousy stone... I would look at it as an potential opportunity as opposed to a big problem.

Just my thoughts, hope it helps

KinAlberta
Member
# Posted: 3 Jan 2017 11:20 - Edited by: KinAlberta
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Looks like a good excuse to build a wrap around covered porch to me.


Oh, I see someone beat me to this suggestion

deercula
Member
# Posted: 3 Jan 2017 14:42
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40 degrees and rain today, so the snow pile will be knocked down.

Not sure if I can do the porch thing because I am limited to 500 SQ. FT. as a "seasonal hunting camp". I would need to contact the "code enforcement officer" and see if this would be allowed. I currently have 480 sq. ft.......

Steve_S
Member
# Posted: 3 Jan 2017 15:13
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The square footage is based on the outside face of the wall. The overhang and / or open porch is generally not considered in that calculation.

deercula
Member
# Posted: 3 Jan 2017 15:14
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Quoting: Steve_S
I didn't spot where you mention the pitch & elevation

12 foot at the peek, 6/12 slope

bldginsp
Member
# Posted: 3 Jan 2017 22:16
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Here's this worried parent's precious child shedding her first snow- got about a foot last few days
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donbell
Member
# Posted: 4 Jan 2017 04:05
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By looking at the image I don’t think there is going to be any major issue even if there is a heavy snowfall.But I am not sure how serious the issue is .I have a sliding window at my cabin which gives a direct view outside.I have not had any problem with mine yet .You may want to get some professional help by refering this site http://www.dooronthego.ca/door-repair/residential-door-repair/ .I hope that you find it useful.

sparky30_06
Member
# Posted: 4 Jan 2017 06:54
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wait till your inside it and the snow comes sliding off!!! make sure you have extra underwear with you!!! Biggest problem we had with snow slides was the gutters getting ripped off. added some extra ice strapping and that fixed the issue

deercula
Member
# Posted: 4 Jan 2017 07:32
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Quoting: sparky30_06
have extra underwear

UNDERWEAR? UNDERWEAR? We don't wear no stinking underwear!

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