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How Do Reindeer Damage Your Roof

It’s that time of year again. We all love the holidays here at New Heights, but Christmas itself brings some particular issues when it comes to your roof. Once yearly roof landings by Santa may have you concerned about roof damage, so we thought we’d take some time to discuss what may happen to your roof from this unusual traffic.

First, you should expect at least some shingle damage to your roof. During the winter, the pads on reindeer hooves shrink, exposing the hard rim of the hoof. This cuts through snow and slush, and allows reindeer to gain purchase on icy surfaces. On your roof, however, these hard hoof edges will likely scratch at your shingles, and may even knock some loose. This will expose your decking to further damage from rain and melting snow. A few loose shingles shouldn’t be too much concern, but a small problem like this can expand as it creates opportunity for more problems down the road. On our roof installations, we use architectural shingles, which would hold up better over time from the wear and tear of the seasons, but will also resist hoof damage from this once yearly reindeer landing.

The second issue to expect from reindeer is that this unusual weight on your roof could create problems, especially for your decking. It’s worth noting that under normal circumstances, your roof decking is expected to hold up to some additional weight. After all, we have to walk on your roof when installing new shingles, washing your roof, or performing repairs. But having a sleigh and reindeer land on your roof can be an entirely different story. It’s worth taking a moment to consider the weight of reindeer. The average female reindeer weighs between 180-260 lbs, so about the same as your average roof worker, but a male reindeer can weigh as much as 700 lbs, which takes us into a much more unusual territory. We did some research, and while the first recorded reports of Santa using reindeer stated he only used one reindeer to pull his sleigh, we’re partial to Clement Clarke Moore’s poem, “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” which introduced the idea of eight reindeer, four male and four female, taking on the task. This, plus the addition of Rudolph, means that Santa’s team, on average, could weigh around 3,000 lbs or more. Throw in the weight of a sleigh and a full night’s assortment of gifts, and you could be looking at far more weight than your roof decking was designed to hold.

This becomes an even more concerning issue when you consider the risks of deck rot for your roof. The wooden boards that make up your roof deck can be susceptible to rot damage when water leaks through. There are a number of things on your roof that are intended to prevent this, that’s half the purpose shingles for one, plus water protection barriers that are installed as part of your roof. Over time though, these can become compromised. That’s why it’s important to have your roof inspected by a professional, at least once every three years. If your decking has been in any way compromised, you’ll not only be at an increased risk of damage from the weight of a reindeer landing, you’re also looking at risks that could come from heavy storms or further water damage. This also starts to expose the rest of your home, like your interior walls or insulation, to damage as water would begin to leak through a rotted roof decking and exacerbate your issues.

Finally, we should admit there is the simple factor of magic that may not have been considered in all of this. After all, Santa makes his way around the world in the space of a night and is able to track all the children around the year, so we’re sure he has some magic left over to protect your roof. We hope that by taking the time to consider some of these possibilities though you’re more aware of the importance of roof inspections and roof maintenance. If you do wake up on Christmas morning and do a quick visual inspection, only to find damage to your roof, give us a call. We offer warranties on our roof installations, and our roof repair work is second to none. You can contact us for a quote today!