Posted on January 19, 2012 in A La Carte Services, Published Articles, Sunriver Scene, Winter by ShannonNo Comments »

As published in the Sunriver Scene

Every year homeowners ask about snow removal.  Many people only want to remove snow when they are going to be using their house.  While a nice idea, it just doesn’t work that way.  For starters, a snow-filled driveway indicates an empty house which can be a target for crime. That’s the least of your worries.  With the temperature swings we have in Central Oregon, the snow constantly warms up during the day and refreezes in the evenings.  This creates serious challenges:




Ice barricades:


Roads are typically plowed with every four inches of snowfall.   When they clear the roads, little consideration is given for your driveway.  The result is a snow berm at the entrance of your driveway.  Snow here in Sunriver has been known to create berms over four feet high.  Because of our warm days and cold nights, that berm turns to ice. Not only will even a small pile of ice stop all access to the home, without assistance from Mother Nature you will need an ice axe to get into the driveway.  Don’t forget that parking on the street will result in a ticket, starting at $50 and going all the way up to $250.




Skating rinks where walkways should be:


Of course the same freeze/melt cycle that turns berms into ice sculptures also occurs on your driveway and walkways creating an icy entrance.  Ice melt is sometimes recommended for taking care of the slick walkways. However, ice melt can speed up the breakdown of the driveway and damage the house when it gets tracked in on the wood floors.  I like to use sand or kitty litter in the slick spots, which adds traction without damaging asphalt, floors or your shoes.




Roof and Deck Overload:


The volume of snow in Sunriver can outweigh your roof and deck, putting your house in serious jeopardy if all that white weight is not removed. Roofs and decks are required by code to withstand 25 pounds per square foot of snow. Weight of snow varies greatly based on the temperature. Warmer, wetter snow is much heavier than fluffy, dry snow.


When fearing that your roof or deck might collapse it is easy to overreact.  I heard about one Sunriver homeowner who paid tons of money to have every inch of snow removed from her roof. She was called by a neighbor who told her she needed to have the roof cleared and they had seven guys in her driveway that could do it.  Were they roofers? Were they licensed? Did they even have references?




Removing the Snow:


How often do you clear snow? I clear driveways at four inches or greater to prevent ice berms and allow easy access to the house. Decks and roofs are cleared around two feet of snow accumulation. While decks in the sun often clear on their own, the shady decks pile up as the snow falls. Mounds of snow against windows or doors signal removal time has arrived.


Mother Nature sometimes helps with warm weather or rain melting away the white weight.  When that doesn’t work, a reliable local professional monitoring the snow situation and clearing it away provides peace of mind. Landscapers equipped with snow blowers, plows and shovels do a great job for the driveway and walkways.  Shovel smaller walkways, stairs and decks by hand to avoid damage. For the roof, I always use licensed roofers. They know what they are doing up there and won’t damage the area. On the roof I concentrate on clearing the eaves and the critical melt paths so water can run off the house.


The bottom line: Shoveling will have to be done by you or someone you hire to protect your home. After the driveways, roofs and decks are cleared you can enjoy winter from the comfort of your home.




To get help with your home call me, the Caretaking Commander, at Home Fridays. I have been buying, renovating and managing residential and commercial properties for over 20 years. My locally-based company, Home Fridays (, offers professional home management and concierge services to vacation home owners.  You can reach me at 541/317-3088 or