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Winter’s on its Way: Tips for Snow Load Safety

snow load safety for metal buildings

If your metal buildings sit in areas that regularly experience severe winter weather, you know those wonderlands can turn deadly if you haven’t carried out a snow load safety check. Metal roofs and buildings are notoriously strong and durable, but there are still things you should do to make sure the buildings are ready for heavy snowfall and eave ice shear (when ice falls from the structures). We might just now be taking our first steps into fall, but now is the ideal time to make sure you’re prepared for when those cold temperatures truly set in. Here are some safety tips for making sure your building is snow load safe.

Get Inspected
Just because your steel building fared well last year doesn’t mean it’ll do well this year. Before the first big snow, you’ll want to run through an inspection and maintenance checklist to look for any weak spots or damage that might require repairs. These maintenance checks should be carried out at least annually, but ideally any time the seasons change. After all, it’s important to catch any damage before moisture or rust have a chance to set in and cause trouble. If you have an ice shield canopy (also known as a gable canopy or eyebrow canopy), make sure it’s in good condition well before the first snow. And if you don’t have one? Now’s the time to install one!

Install the Right Canopy
There are several accessories that can improve your structure’s snow load safety — chief among them, ice shield canopies. Installed above doors, their gabled structural plates maintain a solid seal so moisture stays outside the building. Meanwhile, the canopy prevents snow load buildup over entrances and exits. Look for canopies that are tested to withstand extreme wind uplift and snow loads. Of course, personnel and lighted door canopies also provide protection from roof snow loads and eave ice sheer dangers. You’ll just want to ensure the specific canopies you purchase are engineered to stand up against the elements your region regularly experiences.

Order Early
Winter weather can create delivery bottlenecks and logistics nightmares even when there aren’t major weather events happening. Factor in existing delays related to COVID, and it’s fairly obvious that quick turnaround times could become tricky. Identify any products you’ll need for repairs, or any upgrades that need to be completed, and order the necessary parts as far in advance as possible.

The best time to prepare for winter maintenance and building upgrades is before the first major snowfall, so try to schedule these things early on. Need help deciding which products make the most sense for your structures and their surrounding environment? Have other metal building accessory or ventilation questions? We’re here for you! Metal buildings have been our passion for decades, and we’re glad to help you find the right solutions.