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Quonset Pros and Cons - Winter Edition

I really love living up north by Lake Superior. The winters are beautiful, even if they seemingly dominate the year. We live in what the neighbors call the snow belt, which I think is due to our proximity to the lake, the river, and our property's elevation. It's interesting, during the summer we tend to get missed by the big storms, but in the winter we're the dumping ground for inch after inch, foot after foot, of snow. I can't complain. I'll take a snow storm over a thunderstorm any day.


However, as I write this, it's the middle of April and we're going into day two of a totally white-out blizzard. It feels like February. This is not the norm.


April Blizzard begins
April Blizzard begins

As you can see in the photo above, not much is accumulating on the balcony, thanks to the high winds. The wind is abnormally loud today, and that got me thinking about our house and why I love it. It's definitely not for everyone. In the winter however, there are some, lets call them quirks that we've become accustomed to that are unique.


Living in a Quonset in the winter, the Pros:

1. You will never need to shovel the snow off your roof or worry about ice build up.

2. They're built to withstand hurricanes, so even if the snow does build up, they can handle the snow-load.*

3. Low heating bill and I'm always warm!


That last one is very much because our Quonset is insulated with closed-cell foam. It's very tight, no drafts. Our wood stove easily keeps the whole house "too warm", according to these northern born humans I live with...


*We did have to purchase a certain thickness of steel to specifically handle the snow-load in our area. Even though I've never seen it build up, not anything like a traditional roof.


Now for the Cons:

1. They're loud. This is the only con I could think of, and it's really not a big deal (to most). Even with the insulation, it's still a steel roof. (Imagine rain on a tin roof, dull down the intensity, but amplify it for shear surface area.) Now I know what you're thinking, snow isn't loud, and you're right. If it's snowing out I don't hear it, what I do hear is when it starts to melt. Often when the afternoon sun heats up the steel and the snow that has managed to cling to the roof gently melts away, ha, gently melts no, no, not even close.... It falls in an avalanche of ice against steel that I can only describe as what I imagine it's like to live inside a glacier that's sloughing off giant pieces of itself. It's a dramatic sound to say the least. I'll try to capture it sometime and share it. I've jumped in momentary fright so many times, as it happens when you least expect it.


I'm sure after this latest storm I'll get the opportunity to record this sound post it here with this blog post for you to enjoy. Luckily we've adapted to this sound and I rarely even think about it. Though it does remind me not to plant any delicate plants around those two sides of the house. They'd get pulverized repeatedly...



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