New Brunswick

Weight of snow cracks Fredericton home's walls, ceiling

The winter's heavy snowfall has taken its toll on at least a couple of homes in Fredericton.

Damage appeared suddenly with no advance warning after major snowfall earlier this week

Snow problem

9 years ago
Duration 1:42
Weight of snow on roof causes crack's in home's ceiling, walls

The winter's heavy snowfall has taken its toll on at least a couple of homes in Fredericton.

Cracks started appearing in the walls and ceilings of Stephanie Shanks's 40-year-old home following this week's heavy snowfall.

Stephanie Shanks is waiting to hear if insurance will cover damage to her roof from the weight of snow. (CBC)
Shanks took photographs of those cracks and sent them to her contractor, who said the heavy snow was too much for her roof.

"He said, `Well, I want you to call a roofer and get them to take it [the snow] off and we'll go from there," said Shanks.

Contractor Tim Naugler of Southerm Exposure Construction says the snow removed from the roof probably weighed between 10,000 and 30,000 pounds.

"Over-stressing the design of the rafters and it's pushing the exterior walls out to each side," he said.

Contractor Tim Naugler estimates up to 30,000 pounds of snow was on Shanks's roof. (CBC)
​Naugler says Shanks's home has the potential to be a time-consuming and messy repair job, but it could have been worse.

"If …timbers started breaking away or nails let go it could cause a chain reaction and essentially worst-case scenario — the snow would all end up inside the house so a complete roof failure."

Naugler says the combination of heavy snowfall, ice storms and the older roof system in Shanks's home created the perfect storm for problems. He's never heard of it happening before this winter, but says this is the second case he's had to deal with this year.

Shanks does own a snow rake to pull snow off her roof, but wasn't able to stay on top of it this season.

"You do what you can, but the winter that we've had — I mean, I'm tired of thinking about snow," she said.

"I never thought it would be something that would be this immediate. It just kind of happened overnight without any big crash or warning that something had changed."

Shanks is now waiting to find out if her insurance company will pay for repairs.