With winter here, many people are wondering if they need to remove snow from quonset buildings. It’s a great question and the truth is, it depends.
When do you need to remove the snow from quonsets?
Quonsets have their steel gauged and the structure engineered based on building codes for your region. That includes factoring in snow loads, wind loads and other weather conditions. With that in mind, your building should have no issues handling typical snow loads. Unfortunately, things are not always “typical” and as a result, if you receive an unusually large snowfall, or accumulation of snow then it is strongly recommended that you do remove the snow from quonsets.
How to remove the snow from quonsets
Thankfully, removing snow from the roof of one of these buildings is typically easier than with a traditional building. The sloped sides of the quonset make it easy to reach the top of the building with a simple tool like a broomstick (you might need to tape a couple together).
There are a few other things that you’ll want to keep in mind when it comes to clearing snow from your quonset.
- Your building’s warranty. Most prefabricated buildings like quonset huts come with a warranty. Your warranty may stipulate that snow needs to be removed from the building in order for it to remain valid. We obviously can’t speak to your specific warranty but this is something to take into consideration and look for whether you’re considering purchasing a new building, or maintaining your existing quonset building.
- Ice is heavier than snow. Having a bit of light powder on your roof is unlikely to cause any issues. The problems that we’ve seen from snow accumulation often only come from many feet of snow. Ice, however, is a different story. Ice is many times denser than snow and therefore much heavier. A couple inches of ice can be equivalent to many feet of snow so things can be deceiving. If you notice a concentration of ice on your quonset then it’s a good idea to remove it before it becomes a problem.
- Heating the building can make an accumulation of ice more likely. As is the case with any building, when you’re heating it from the inside, weak points in insulation, or too little insulation in general, can cause ice to build. When there’s a warm spot on the exterior of your building due to insufficient insulation, any snow in contact melts and starts to run down the building. As soon as that water hits a cold spot again, it freezes. This has a “snowball” (pun intended) effect and can result in a large ice build-up in less time than you’d think.
Are Quonsets More Susceptible to Issues from Snow Build-Up?
The short answer is, no. There are many benefits to the design of a Quonset hut which lends itself to this type of weather.
- The curvature of a Quonset steel building often allows snow to roll right off the roof on its own.
- The smooth steel surface means less friction for snow to fall off on its own, or if you’re pulling it down yourself it makes your job a lot easier than an abrasive shingled roof which can hold onto the snow.
- Since there’s no interior frame to these buildings, you get a more consistent layer of insulation, if you choose to insulate your building. In traditional building methods which use a frame structure covered with siding, you end up in gaps of insulation where the framing is. This makes these buildings more susceptible to ice build-ups from warm spots on the exterior of walls. This problem doesn’t happen with Quonsets, giving them the edge.
At the end of the day, you need to use a little common sense. If there’s an inch or two of snow on your building then don’t lose sleep over it. Keep in mind you’re dealing with a 100% steel building in an arch design (one of the strongest shapes known to man). If you look outside and your Quonset garage isn’t even visible under a pile of snow, then you might have reason to worry and should take action. In the end, you should take comfort in the fact that you’re purchasing, or have purchased a building that is incredibly strong and durable when facing almost all weather conditions. The plans for your building were engineered and should have been designed to factor in your local building code requirements. We wish you a happy and safe winter season. If you are still looking into the possibility of a Quonset for your future building, then please request a free quonset quote today to help ensure you get the best price possible.