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Heavy snow causing trouble for roofs

Lynn and John Graham have been shoveling side-by-side almost non-stop this winter. Mother Nature keeps adding to their workload. They own Graham Outdoors in Park Rapids. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

BY Sarah smith

John and Lynn Graham are as busy as the proverbial fish peddlers in Lent these days.

Snow is waist deep on many Hubbard County roofs and more is on the way. The Grahams are running a near-constant shovel brigade out of their Park Rapids headquarters.

“A lot of snow. A lot of ice dams,” said John Graham, co-owner of Graham Outdoors, who has barely slept since last week, when more than a foot of snow fell in the region.

“We’re not doing many ice dam treatments this year because of the time of the year,” he said. “Once we get the snow off the roofs, the sun warms the shingles and takes care of the ice dams.

“It doesn’t make sense charging people for something Mother Nature’s gonna do but they’ve gotta get the snow off,” he said. “It’s waist deep on some of these houses.”

“We use magnesium based chemical,” he said.

“I can steam roofs if I have to but it doesn’t do a lot of good to those cold shingles.

“This year I’ve only done a couple because they’ve had water coming in, but for the most part this year it’s not even an issue.”

John and Lynn have shoveled off 80 area roofs since another foot of snow blanketed the region last week.

“Yesterday we took a half a day off and that’s the first time off since the last snowstorm,” John Graham said.

Lynn didn’t aspire to such heights. Initially she was the receptionist and bookkeeper for the business.

Then she started holding the ladder for John just to keep an eye on him when he went out on jobs alone. It wasn’t much longer that she had ascended (or descended) to the shovel brigade alongside her husband.

When asked if it was hard to find good help, both laughed.

“Yes, it is!” she said, stealing a sideways glance at John.

Thursday the couple was up on a slippery roof working away in 18 inches of snow.

John was in his shirt sleeves.

“It’s really hot up here,” he said, wiping his brow.”

As calls poured in for more help and the National Weather Service predicted almost constant snowfalls into next week, John admitted the couple was juggling around new jobs.

“Not today,” he’s telling customers.

But as his days lengthen and the fresh air beckons, he admits, “I’m always game for more.”

Lynn stood by silently smiling. Or maybe it was a grimace.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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