My husband and I are looking at buying our first investment property in Troy, NY - one of the flat-roofed, two-family homes that are so common there - and we want to understand what the needs and costs would be for snow removal from a flat roof. Anyone have experience with this? How often do you have to clear the snow? Do you typically hire a contractor for the entire year at a flat rate, or per instance? What do costs look like?
We saw in one article that snow on a flat roof can actually provide some insulation for the building, but not sure about how wise that is. Maybe safe to leave the snow there for longer on a newer roof?
I typically do not remove snow off of my flat roofs in the area, except on one property where the insulation is poor at the eaves and ice damming occurs along the gutters. In that case, I broom off (sharp shovels on rubber roofs is just asking for trouble, I think) the first 6 feet or so if the snowfall is more than 8 inches or so.
I'm not sure who would do that for you if you wanted to hire it out. I find it very hard to find any reliable people that will do any property maintenance outside of the PMs, and they charge a premium that your gross rents in Troy might not be able to support.
I have quite a few flat sloped roofs in the Capitol District/Troy and I also do not shovel them off. I do have one that I do remove the snow from and prefer to do it myself. The problem is you must use a plastic shovel so as not to tear or gouge the roof. Typically the scupper drains on the roof need to be maintained so they drain correctly. As far as insulating value if the only thing that is providing insulation in your house is snow, then you need to put insulation in the attic/crawl space. The only time you might need to have the snow removed is if the snow builds up about 3’ or more that is a lot of weight to leave up there. But most of these houses have been constructed to carry that weight.
@Allison Keane Barr - that shouldn't be of any concern, I have a bunch of places in Troy and I don't think I've ever spent a dime on that. Good luck with your first investment- if you think of it, can you post a few pics and any other details you like here after you close? I'd love to hear about it, I'm following this thread.
Welcome to the neighborhood,
We have a lot of flat roofs in the Baltimore City/County area and mine in that area are all flat roofs. Never had any snow removal services for them. Don't think I've heard/seen anyone else do it either. I'm sure the roofs can handle the weight.
I agree with Fred Weinkauff, I run a roofing company in Gloversville, NY and we do a lot of flat residential and commercial work. Except for extreme snow falls shoveling is not necessary, roofs are designed for it. If it leaks from the snow there is another issue going on.
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