Snowy roofs can cause serious problems

Mark Nelson with North Country Weatherization Technologies says this Winter has been the worst for roofs he can remember.

Mark Nelson and his crew clear off a roof in South Fargo.
Finn Harrison / WDAY News

FARGO — Heavy snow over the last few weeks is taking its toll on rooftops around the region. Two malls, blanketed with snow, have had collapses in the last couple days, causing thousands in damage. The news may have some homeowners looking up at their own roofs.

Mark Nelson, owner of North Country Weatherization Technologies has been clearing snow off of the tops of homes for 37 years. He's seen it all.

With 51 inches of snow that has dropped on Fargo this season, this year has been especially tough.

"This is probably the worst I've seen as long as I can remember, if ever," Nelson said.

Snow has piled up on almost every roof in town, which can lead to some serious problems.


"Everybody's leaking now. I knew that was coming. What happens is, we are not getting a level amount of snow in certain areas, we are getting huge amounts of snow. When you get snow like that, these houses are not built for that," he said.

Nelson said he is seeing ice melt into homes on a daily basis, creating mold in the walls and (in serious cases) cause roofs can collapse. It's risk n not just homes. In Duluth, an entire mall was evacuated Tuesday morning because a roof collapsed from heavy snow, causing a gas leak. In Grand Forks, the Southe Towne Square Mall was blocked off after it suffered a roof collapse last weekend.

"We haven't even hit the problem yet. When the Spring comes, the warmer weather comes. We are going to have a mess," Nelson said. "People for some reason just held off doing anything."

Icicles dangling from roofs may look like a nice decorative piece for a house, but homeowners should take it as a warning sign that they might run into some serious problems.

"That means that the water is in the walls, and what it does is finds its way down the siding on the outside," Nelson said. "If it just started that's okay, it'll dry out. But if that has happened year after year after year, then you got an issue."

So how do we fight the war on snowy roofs? Well, it should really only be done by professionals.

More from WDAY's Sam Goetzinger

"You know, it might cost you a little bit upfront. You might spend maybe up to $1,000 or $2,000, but once that water starts coming in you are talking $10,000 to $20,000. It really is serious," Nelson said.

Nelson said if homeowners want to try and tackle the situation themselves, the snow is light enough right now where getting a long snow rake and clearing off the gutters will help prevent ice dams from forming.

What To Read Next
Get Local