It’s a reality. And I refuse to design a building without considering every way snow effects it. I look at garages all the time, all over the place; everywhere I drive. It astounds me how many garages are built that dump the entire roof worth of snow (well half of it) directly in front of the garage doors. Are you serious?
Don’t dump snow in front of garage doors (and man doors)
This is probably the single most important design feature of a garage built where there is snow, and here is why.
- It’s not a “one time thing”
- It can’t be fixed
- It will never stop snowing, therefore always be a problem
- It compounds itself as winter progresses
Snow will fall, and you have to shovel it out of the way. Then after you get the yard cleared, the snow comes off the roof and into a 7 foot high rock solid pile of packed snow, which you then have to move. Let’s say you move it. Then you get a 3″ storm, and don’t plow or shovel cause it’ll melt. Then that 3″ comes of the roof and lands on the ground. If you don’t clear that, it will freeze into a hump. Then it warms up and water drips into the hump making it ice. Then refreezes. It is now there until spring, unless you jack hammer it or use a torch.
Personally I think you should design your roof to push snow off to the sides and never move it again.
Don’t build stuff off the corners of the garage
Basically each front corner of your garage you want to be able to drive by. This is more if you plow(I do) and in my case I’m designing it so that I can drive right infront of the garage doors and push the snow parallel to the doors and away from the building. This is ideal if you ask me. I don’t have to back drag or anything, one swipe and i’m done. I’ve also planned to drop the snow off a bank right after the garage, such that I don’t accumulate a huge pile and then my plan fails in feb when we have too much snow.
So this post could probably be titled roof design because this is what I’m talking about. Where the roof is dumping the snow.
I can’t talk much about roof design proper because I’m not an architect, but I had some basic ideas and tried them out and I figured I would just let you look at what I came up with.
This was a series of building a design to test if I could have the garage wrap around a corner in my driveway. It would double the room in side compared to the front face. However I ultimately decided that:
- I didn’t like the modern look to it.
- I didn’t like that one car parked out front would block both bays.
- I didn’t like how complicated it would be to build.
This design was intended to maximize upstairs storage space, and also shed snow away from the doors.
This design came out of the realization that a building that is wider than it is deep will need the roof line to follow or be parallel with the longest side, and in the case of a 3 car garage was the garage door. This I think is most likely the reason most people have snow dumping in front of their doors. I thought I’d trying adding a gable dormer essentially to help shed the snow, but I was able to instantly see that i would only be able to use the center door, as the side doors would have twice as much snow as they would otherwise.
If you place a gambrel roof on a 36 foot wide building it makes the gambrel roof look fat and blown out, unless of course you proportionately go up, but then you end up with a ginormous barn. (which isn’t always a bad thing) I stretched it up as far as was tolerable but I still didn’t end up liking it.
This was a Gambrel roof design to solve the above problem above. I So in order to get another bay I added a gambrel “ell” off the side. The door isn’t drawn in because later I changed it to make that my workshop area. This design failed for these reasons:
- Only 2 bays
- snow dumped into a corner (even worse!)
- more complicated foundation and building than square structure
The design I think I’m going to go with will be in a later post. :)