Friday, August 15, 2014

Courthouse roof could melt snow

Heat mats would improve safety, architect says


By GREG MOORE
Express Staff Writer

Larry Schoen

    Depending on cost, a project to replace the roof on the old Blaine County Courthouse could be changed to include heaters installed in roof valleys to melt snow rather than try to hold it on the roof.
    The $1.36 million project is intended mainly to install a new roof and repair crumbling walls and roof structure at the top of the 19th-century, three-story brick building. However, it also has a public safety component, in that the roof’s shape and poor insulation have resulted in ice dams and slides of snow and ice onto the ground. That is especially problematic at the building’s rear entrance onto an alley between it and the county Judicial Building.
    “It’s a miracle that nobody’s been killed over the years,” County Commissioner Larry Schoen said during a commissioners meeting Tuesday.
    Project architect Steve Trout told the commissioners that his team had been operating on a plan initiated by construction consultants McKinstry Essention several years ago to avoid avalanches by holding snow on the roof.
    However, he said, “As we got into this, we started to question the value of retaining snow at all times on these steeper pitches.”
    Trout said the building’s two east-side towers, one built in 1907 and the other in the 1990s, have especially steep roofs.
    He said that even though the project includes improving air circulation under the roof, there will always be heat transfer from inside the building, particularly at the roof’s edges where the insulation is thinner. Also, he said that even though the roof over the east-side alley can be designed to hold a foot or so of snow, upper layers could break off and slide whenever a weakness forms between them.
    Trout said that by placing electric heat mats in the roof valleys, ice dam formation could be eliminated, greatly reducing the hazard of snow sliding off the roof over the alley. However, he said, the commissioners will need to decide whether that’s worth the as-yet-unknown cost.
    “This project seems to be changing on a weekly basis,” Schoen said. “The project can’t keep coming up with solutions that cost more.”
    However, he said, “It would be a shame if we completed the project and didn’t improve the safety of the building.”
    Trout said he would research costs for the heat mats and report back next week. He said he would also find out how the mats have worked on other projects.
    “All the indications are that it’s a good product,” he said.




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



-->
 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2014 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.