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Author Topic: snow load / removal  (Read 1825 times)
willingtonpaul
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Willington, CT


« on: February 08, 2011, 03:12:24 AM »

here is NE CT, we have, like many, had a record breaking amount of snow in JAN.  57" officially at the airport, but more like 65" or so at my place.  back to back to back storms with no real melt in between, and some ice mixed in there, too.  over 5ft of snow in a month smashed the records that have been in place here since DEC of 1945 (official records in hartford started in 1905).  there have been several roof collapses throughout the state, and school is now being closed for snow removal from the roof rather than bad roads.

now i have never covered any of the campers i have owned, feeling that it is just a way to trap moisture.  yeah, i know there are breathable covers, but the roofs of trailers are made to take the elements.  i thought about covering our jayco hybrid to protect the front bunk end, and even bought chilipyros cover from him, but ended up trading the camper before i had a chance to use it.... Big Smile

so anyway, there was 3ft of compacted snow and ice on the top of the trailer.  man it just looked heavy.  and SAT and into this week, rain is / has been in the forecast, making that snow a giant sponge.  so i set out on SAT morning before the big rain came to rake the roof off.  it took me a good 3 hours to carefully rake it off.  then another 3 hours to use my bucket loader to move the trailer and get all the snow away from the sides.  for laughs, i measured from the pavement to the lowest part of the wheel skirting / fender before and after.  the trailer rose almost 2 inches.  upon further reflection and doing some math, i think there was at least 3 tons of snow on that roof.  the CCC of my trailer is about 1400lbs.  now dynamic load vs. static snow load is not apples to apples, but those axles and that roof was way overloaded, so i am sure glad i got it done.  that load would have been there for at least 2 more months, and would have gotten worse before it got better. 

i feel bad for anyone (like my buddy at work) that stores their trailer in outside storage around here and can't remove the snow from the roof.  i think next year i am gonna devise a tarp system that i can quickly deploy ahead of a storm.  then, i can rake the tarp off rather than the rubber roof, and remove the tarp until the next storm.  this winter was a 2 standard deviation event, to be sure, but it could happen again if we are in a pattern of snowier winters like in the 70's.  i still do not want to keep the trailer covered all winter.  with filon delamination issues as my primary concern, i do not want to have anything over the trailer all winter.  i have plenty of space, so paying for inside storage ain't gonna happen, and on top of that, i want access throughout the winter for mods / maintenance. 

i just wish i took the 5 mins. to take some pics.  i always just get going and forget to get the damn camera !   Evil



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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2011, 04:31:16 AM »

now i have never covered any of the campers i have owned, feeling that it is just a way to trap moisture.  yeah, i know there are breathable covers, but the roofs of trailers are made to take the elements.

Not necessarily, as every caulked seam will be subjected to constant freezing and melting so the more you can protect those seams from direct contact with snow / ice the better, which is just what a breathable cover will do.  I used an ADCO AquaShed on my hybrid and this is now my third winter covering my travel trailer with an ADCO Tyvek breathable cover.



In our area we seem to be in a pocket where we've not had anywhere near as much snow as other areas but for some reason this year I do have more snow accumulation on my trailer's roof than in past years.  It's difficult to discern in this pic there's upwards of a foot of snow on the roof in some places (A/C in pic is on the uncovered trailer adjacent to mine)



... so this is the first time I've bothered to sweep the roof clear of snow.  Contrary to popular opinion it's not difficult at all and poses no danger at all to the integrity of the roof if done properly.  I simply stood on a step ladder and used a wide push broom attached to a long painters pole to push & pull the snow off the roof ...



I have no doubt at all that as in past years I'll remove the cover in the spring to find my trailer just as clean and dry as it was when I installed the cover last fall, all the caulked seams, and the awning still in great shape. Approve
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Geodude
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2011, 05:07:37 AM »

I've only been concerned about snow on our trailer roof one year since we bought the trailer in '05.  What a pain to get the snow off, and without damaging anything.  Indoor storage would be a treat!  I agree you did the right thing, given the weight of snow as it gets wet and compresses.
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2011, 05:27:30 AM »

Indoor storage would be a treat!

It is! Tongue  I'd always stored my popups in my heated garage so when we moved to a hybrid that couldn't be stored inside I really agonized over how I was going to store it that first winter.  I found a place not far from here that offered inside storage in a building that had at one time been used to winter store potatoes.  It wasn't heated but it was insulated so the inside temps didn't drop too much below freezing and because the owner cheated the rate a bit for me I bit the bullet and went ahead with it.  The second year was going to cost me more so that's when I started storing outdoors and using a breathable cover.  Where I am this year also offers indoor storage, both unheated for RVs and heated for classic cars, but the cost is just too high, over $100 month, so outside it is with a cover on it - $30 month. Approve
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chilipyro
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2011, 08:32:46 AM »

I decided to cover my trailers, after my hybrid started leaking. I figured it would be a little more insurance that a leak wouldn't go undetected all Winter (in hopes that the cover would prevent the water from getting through any leak). I found that a side benefit of the cover was that snow seemed to disappear pretty quickly on its own. The wind would get under the light dry snow and blow most of it off. The rest seemed to melt more quickly than without the cover - maybe because the cover was darker than the camper?

This year was different. The first real storm dumped 2' of snow on the trailer. It was light snow, and there wasn't predicted warm weather on its way. I figured the wind would take care of it, as before. Then we got another storm with snow followed by ice and rain. Not a lot was added, but it put a hard crust on the top - making a wind removal (as well as broom removal) not possible. Still, it didn't look like a lot of weight at that point. Two feet of snow is very unusual here - you get that only once a season, right? Wrong - a few weeks later we got a double storm, with another 2'. Rain and ice were on the way, and I decided to shovel off my porch roof. That was a big job - like willingtonpaul said - deep snow with several layers of ice. A couple of days later, one end of one of my two barns collapsed (it was empty, and in pretty bad shape before the winter started). After the rain and warm weather on Saturday, the entire roof on the second barn caved in, blowing out one wall. Like the first, that one was empty and in bad shape.

The schools and businesses are using snow blowers to remove the snow on roofs. Home owners use either a shovel or a snow rake. Snow rakes have been impossible to find around here, as you would expect. I wouldn't want to use a shovel on the camper roof. There has been a lot of melting in the last week - but also rain/sponge activity. It is hard to tell if the snow cover is lighter than it was last week, even though it looks about a foot less deep. My step ladder is buried under 3' of snow, and there is a 5' bank of snow piled up all around the camper. Still, I am thinking I might try to get some of the snow off today, while it is still soft (more cold weather is on the way).
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