Snow on roof - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-05-2016, 07:21 AM   #1
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Name: Philippe
Trailer: Boler Voyageur 1977
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Snow on roof

How much snow can you safely let accumulate over a 13' boler?

Can it handle a winter's worth of snow or do you need to remove it once in a while? Will the snow reach a maximum or will it keep on accumulating? My boler in stored in the open, however there is no winds blowing snow off it.

I was thinking of only removing it before rain was expected. My little spacemaker shed made of flimsy galvanized steel has been treated this way for the past 20 years and has stood up.

Thanks!
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Old 01-05-2016, 07:50 AM   #2
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I doubt there's a definitive answer. Some snow is wet and heavy and some is light and powdery. Ours is typically the former, and I wouldn't let more than a few inches of that pile up.

The reality is that complete failure of the shell under snow load is an extremely rare event, usually compounded by loss of some of the original interior support. Short of complete failure, though, you can get deformation and minor surface cracks in the gelcoat, and freeze-thaw cycles can open up leaks, so I'd rather be proactive.

I like to check inside the trailer regularly during the winter for signs of water and rodents anyway, so that's a good time to clear some snow if necessary. It's a whole lot easier on a 13' egg than a 9' tall, 25' long, flat-topped sticky!

If you think it might pile up before you can get to it, you can always add a brace during winter storage. A square of plywood on the ceiling and a 2x4 post wedged tightly against it should do it. I'm assuming that your trailer is unmodified and has all the original support in place, including the post in the middle of the counter...
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Old 01-05-2016, 08:07 AM   #3
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I would also say no more than a few inches. "a few" is as precise as I would want to make it. There are no long seams in the fiberglass shell, but the thawing and re-freezing can still have an effect on the vent or roof mounted AC seals. Keeping the snow completely off the roof would be my preference.

What is the maximum acceptable weight of snow on your roof? That is a tough question. And if you knew the number, how would you weigh it, besides. A long handle push broom is your friend.
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Old 01-05-2016, 08:43 AM   #4
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Living in the Denver Metro area, where we can go weeks with brilliant sunshine and then get 10+ inches of snow overnight (and sometimes unexpectedly!) this has been a huge source of worry for me. About a month ago my husband called Scamp and asked if they thought a heavy snow load could crush the roof. The answer was NO and that we shouldn't worry about it. That being said, I still worry about it. I would need that in writing with a warranty guarantee in order to feel okay about that being definitive. Because our Scamp is in storage, it is impossible to get over there to remove snow loads if the roads are not cleared and if the facility hasn't been able to clear the interior roads, we can't even get in. What we have noticed, once we can get over there, is that while the stick trailers all around the Scamp may have 6-8 inches of snow on the roof, our Scamp has slide piles all around the ground and up the sides, but no snow or traces of snow on the roof. It appears that the rounded shape has been allowing it to slide off. But again, I'm a worrier, so we put in a support like Jon suggested in post #2, and now I don't have to worry (as much )
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Old 01-05-2016, 09:02 AM   #5
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A good coat or two of wax in the fall makes it slide even better.
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Old 01-05-2016, 09:43 AM   #6
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Removing snow is always the best option. But my trailer is out in the country where I can't get to it. So I put a central support post in for the winter just in case snow accumulates. Spread the load across the floor and ceiling be adding T's at the bottom and top of the post. At the ceiling I use a rolled up towel which protects the vinyl and adds just enough tension to keep the post in place. Wish I could add a photo but my trailer is out in the country covered with snow!


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Old 01-05-2016, 10:26 AM   #7
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Hi Phillipe; Our 1973 Boler was outside in the heavy snows of mid-northern Ontario for two years. It had as much as 8 inches of snow at times; but, I was concerned and removed it ASAP. There was no noticeable change to the shell structure at all. However I did build a garage in the third year, and high enough (9X12 ft door) to accommodate any of my planned future renos.
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:23 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by bullfrogeh View Post
Hi Phillipe; Our 1973 Boler was outside in the heavy snows of mid-northern Ontario for two years. It had as much as 8 inches of snow at times; but, I was concerned and removed it ASAP. There was no noticeable change to the shell structure at all. However I did build a garage in the third year, and high enough (9X12 ft door) to accommodate any of my planned future renos.

Nice garage!
I read somewhere that door sag is caused from the thin FG shell settling and bowing outward at the middle. I figure snow would hasten that process, so I'm hoping the winter support post will delay it.



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Old 01-05-2016, 12:39 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by wire View Post
How much snow can you safely let accumulate over a 13' boler?

Can it handle a winter's worth of snow or do you need to remove it once in a while?
It all depends on how much a winters worth of snow amounts to

Below is a photo of a trailer that lived through 30+ years of a winters worth of snow in Vancouver - which most winters means no snow to some years where it can be a couple of feet for a short time...... this is what happened during a big snow year (about 2') we had a few years back.

Always best to play it safe and keep the roof as clear of snow as possible or use some 2x4's inside to brace the roof.
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Old 01-05-2016, 02:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by emij View Post
........ About a month ago my husband called Scamp and asked if they thought a heavy snow load could crush the roof. The answer was NO and that we shouldn't worry about it....
Really! Well, you can buy an upper shell from them if they are wrong.

It seems every year someone losses a barn around here to snow load. Rain on a snow covered roof is the worst as the snow just gets heavier. Two feet of powder, no worries. Six inches of slush is another story. As Jon suggested a good coat of wax in the fall and the snow comes off easy with a broom. Raz
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Old 01-05-2016, 04:39 PM   #11
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We go to visit in Denver quite often (flying in winter) and just got back, pretty cold this time! We have seen all kinds of snowfall there, even in April, but I think the Scamp should be fine, especially with some bracing. Denver has so much sunshine that the snow slides off when the inside of the trailer warms up. Not like the perpetually overcast Vancouver or Vermont!
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Old 01-05-2016, 05:34 PM   #12
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People buy insurance because they are betting they are going to lose Raz
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Old 01-05-2016, 06:41 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
Really! Well, you can buy an upper shell from them if they are wrong.

It seems every year someone losses a barn around here to snow load. Rain on a snow covered roof is the worst as the snow just gets heavier. Two feet of powder, no worries. Six inches of slush is another story. As Jon suggested a good coat of wax in the fall and the snow comes off easy with a broom. Raz
That made me laugh! And I just can't imagine a snow load sitting on one of our eggs and not creating problems!
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Old 01-05-2016, 06:42 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Paul O. View Post
Denver has so much sunshine that the snow slides off when the inside of the trailer warms up. Not like the perpetually overcast Vancouver or Vermont!
I wondered if this might be why the snow seems to slide off so easily. Warm inside already when it begins to snow, and warms up quickly once the snow quits!
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