Roof troubles, post-snow
"Fortunately the property is uninhabited and no one was hurt," she wrote me. "However, what should the person who lives next door to that property do now? There are concerns of structural damage, as well as water damage when the snow begins to melt."
She knows about mdlandrec.net, where you can see deeds and other property records. Her plan was to look up the owner so the immediate neighbor can contact him or her "with certified mail return receipt to start a paper trail." And she also suggested her neighbor call his insurance company post-haste.
"Any other suggestions?" she asks.
If you have any, please offer them in a comment.
Here are some of the warning signs that a roof is in trouble, courtesy of the city of Alexandria, Va.:
- Sagging roof steel – visually deformed, cracked or split wood members
- Sprinkler heads pushed down below ceiling tile
- Doors that pop open
- Doors or windows that become difficult to open
- Bowed utility pipes or conduit attached at ceiling
- Creaking, cracking or popping sounds
- New or quickly expanding existing wall or ceiling cracks
The Alexandria roof-safety announcement notes that newer roofs should be able to withstand 30 pounds per square foot, but older roofs -- especially flat ones -- "present a greater risk" of collapse.
Some residents have taken matters -- or rather shovels -- into their own hands, and removed snow from their roofs as a precaution. But that's hardly risk-free. (Please be very, very careful if you're inclined to go this route.) Others are calling roofers to do the removal work, or code enforcers to make sure their homes are OK.