Roofer: Flat, commercial roofs more likely to collapse - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Roofer: Flat, commercial roofs more likely to collapse

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – Despite Thursday's heavy snowfall, local roofers said they haven't seen too many issues so far this season in terms of winter-wear.

When it comes to roof collapses, it's usually commercial roofs – flat rooftops – that have the issues, said Alex Koonce, residential department manager of Ledegar Roofing.

The wet, heavy snow doesn't help, he added; especially if your roof has walls.

"Where you're going to run into your issues is that wind's gonna blow, and it's gonna swirl in that area, and it's going to create a drift," Koonce said. "Those drifts can range anywhere from a few feet all the way up to 10 to 12 feet, just depending on how high your parapet wall is."

That extra weight can lead to a collapse.

Koonce said most problem roofs are the commercial ones. Since they're usually flat, the snow doesn't blow off it as easily.

"What you really got to watch out for is when you get those warm temperatures. That's going to condense that snow, that's going to create more weight," he said.

Koonce hasn't seen a roof collapse in a couple of years. But businesses make sure they're insured. Just in case.

Co-owner of Carrier Insurance, Randy Eddy, Sr., said when there is a collapse, he tells a business to protect what's inside.

"Because as the owner of that building, that is your primary responsibility: protect your property as best you can. You've now notified me, I'm gonna get to the company real quick. And if it's a total collapse of the roof, we'll probably even make some calls," Eddy said.

In his three decades in the insurance business, Eddy has only seen about three or four collapses. It's not his biggest roofing problem.

"Ice dams and things of that nature in that area; because of the heating and cooling season that we go through," Eddy said.

Koonce sees a problem with ice, too.

"As you can see, this drain is open," Koonce said, pointing to a roof drain. "But if that interior there were to be plugged, potentially this ice could build up. I've been on roofs where the ice built up so much it was two to three feet deep."

It can be attributed to he weather warming up then freezing this winter, he added.

While Koonce hasn't seen any collapses this year, he said he has been treating commercial doors that are having trouble opening and closing by removing the snow build-up before there's a roof problem.

Most residential buildings have sloped roofs. So the snow blows off it pretty easily, Koonce said.

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