It Worked!

When Alice and I moved to this area in the 1970s, we noticed that a commonality existed with many of the old homes. Many, including ours, had steep metal roofs. One of our first winters in the house, we were awakened in the middle of the night by what we called a house quake. When the snow piles up on the roof, it patiently waits for the January thaw, and then comes thundering off the roof, shaking the house. Little did I know then what a friend these steep metal roofs would become.

We’ve had many neighbors build homes in the 40 years we’ve been here, and most go with the conventional 4/12 pitch roof and shingles. This shallow roof is great for walking on, but it does not shed snow. Shingles hang onto snow like snow tires are supposed to. So my neighbors spend time each winter shoveling snow off their roofs. It is not unusual on heavy snow winters to see garages, pole buildings, and even homes whose roofs have collapsed due to the snow load. So we get out our shovels and remove the snow from the roof when it gets too deep.

We’ve put two additions onto our house. One correctly followed the old roof line, and one at right angles to it. Both have metal roofs with 9/12 pitches. Both shed snow, but the one perpendicular to the old house roofline is the worst. The east side does pretty well, but the west side has a dormer where the entry door is, and the snow gets wedged up there and stubbornly refuses to come down. Today I hauled the ladder and shovel out there and tried an experiment.

I shoveled two parallel lines in the roof, one next to the old part of the house, and one by the entry way dormer. Then I climbed down and put my things away. The temperature got up to 35 degrees today, which I hoped would be enough to cause the snow to slide off between the lines.

When we came back from an outing this afternoon, I noticed that some more of the roof peak was showing than before, and, sure enough, there was a lovely curling overhang of snow. “Please please slide off,” I thought to myself. The weather forecast calls for single digits for the next several days, so it would be today or never.

While I was eating supper tonight, I heard the sweet sound of a house quake, and sure enough my plan worked. The roof was clean, and the ground below had a 4′ snowdrift. When something works as planned, I frequently think to myself, “Now don’t get cocky.” It seldom works.

One Response to “It Worked!”

  1. Bill says:

    I LOVE it when a plan comes together…

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