The Kringle Effect and Roofs

We have all heard the carol “Up On The Rooftop:”  Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn’t go? Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn’t go?  Up on the housetop Click click click…  However, based on a multitude of investigations following Christmas Eve, it is apparent some of that clicking may be more than just Prancer trotting about; it may actually be the breaking of roof framing under the added weight of Santa’s sleigh and team of reindeer.

Kringle Effect Santa on RoofThe dangers of the weight of ice and snow in the winter months are well known.  They can cause significant damage or even catastrophic collapse of many structural components of roof systems.  However, another cause of catastrophic roof failure has been identified. Consider the weight of Santa, his sleigh, and his reindeer, all simultaneously exerting force on a roof on Christmas Eve.  Pie is annually inundated with claims following the holidays regarding Santa-related damage to the roof coverings and roof framing.   The phenomenon has been named the Kringle Effect.

Consider the following: an average Dancer, Prancer, or Vixen, will weigh approximately 400 lbs.  Multiply that by nine (the number of reindeer pulling the sleigh), and that’s an extra 3,600 lbs of weight exerted on the roof system!  This number fades in comparison to the weight of Santa, his sleigh, and his gifts: after all, consuming cookies and milk at each house will lead him to consume 20,655,000,000 calories; or 2,950.7 tons.  Assume that each child was good this year and will receive a gift: this will total 321,300 tons.  Was your roof designed to meet this kind of load?

There are several surefire signs that Santa has been on your roof on Christmas Eve (aside from the newly wrapped presents under the tree).  Evidence of the Kringle Effect includes; deflected or fractured roof support members, mechanical damages to the roof cover and separation between the felts and the perimeter metal edge flashing of the system.   Plumbing vents and other roof penetrations can also be damaged by Santa and his sleigh.  Evidence may also include, in rare cases, holes and penetrations in the decking where a hoof has broken through.  These distresses may result in water infiltration into the home. Based on these facts, Pie recommends that you do NOT go up on the roof top, even if it is with Old Saint Nick.

But don’t worry; you probably won’t have to ask Santa for a new roof this year.    To help prevent long-term damage and worsened conditions from Santa-loading events, owners should perform regular investigations and maintenance.  Regular roof investigations and maintenance can help reduce the damage and resultant costs associated with the Kringle Effect.  Plus, that holiday magic can always help out a bit, too…..

Copyright 2010, Pie Forensic Consultants

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