Snow Shoveling Safety Tips

Snow Shoveling Safety Tips

By: The Travelers Indemnity Company

When the driveway and walkways are coated in a thick blanket of snow, it is time to get a shovel out for what some consider to be a dreaded chore. But before you tackle the first snowfall of the season, take some time to read these safety snow shoveling tips to help avoid any potential injuries.

Snow shoveling can lead to a number of health risks for many people, from back injuries to heart attacks. The mix of cold temperatures and physical exertion increases the workload on the heart,¹ which may increase the risk of a heart attack for some. According to the American Heart Association, even walking through heavy, wet snow can place strain on your heart.

The following tips can help keep you safer when you set out to shovel:

  • Warm up. Warm your muscles before heading out to shovel by doing some light movements, such as bending side to side or walking in place.
  • Push rather than lift. Pushing the snow with the shovel instead of lifting can help reduce the strain on your body. When lifting snow, bend your knees and use your legs when possible.
  • Choose your shovel wisely. Ergonomically-designed shovels can help reduce the amount of bending you have to do.
  • Lighten your load. Consider using a lighter-weight plastic shovel instead of a metal one to help decrease the weight being lifted.
  • Hit the pause button. Pace yourself and be sure to take frequent breaks. Consider taking a break after 20 to 30 minutes of shoveling, especially when the snow is wet.
  • Consider multiple trips. Consider shoveling periodically throughout the storm to avoid having to move large amounts of snow at once.
  • Keep up with snowfall. Try to shovel snow shortly after it falls, when it is lighter and fluffier. The longer snow stays on the ground, the wetter it can become. Wet snow is heavier and harder to move.
  • Wear layers. Dress in layers and remove them as you get warm to help maintain a comfortable body temperature.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated while shoveling.

A national study² found that the most common shoveling-related injuries were to the lower back. Cardiac-related injuries account for only 7% of all injuries, but they were the most serious in nature. If you do not exercise on a regular basis, are middle-aged or older, or have any health conditions, such as heart disease or high blood pressure, you should check with your doctor before doing any strenuous shoveling. Consider using a snow blower or snow removal service as an alternative means of snow removal.

Snow and Ice Removal Requirements

Snow and ice not only pose a potential risk to you but also to others. As a property owner, you are responsible for making a reasonable effort to keep public walking areas around your property clear of snow and ice. Pre-treating your walkways and other paved surfaces with an anti-icing product can help make snow and ice removal easier. (Some Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. clients have opted to have radiant heat installed under their walks and driveways.)  

Consider stocking up on ice melt in advance, as it sometimes sells out during long winters. You can store unused ice melt in an airtight container, out of reach from children and pets. Be aware that rock salt can damage brick, stone, asphalt and concrete walkways.

Be sure to check your local codes and ordinances regarding snow and ice removal requirements.

¹ American Heart Association,
² Nationwide Children’s,


We continue our series highlighting questions we have received on our Houzz projects. This week we answer questions on the Rustic French Country Estate.

We Answer Your Questions #6

We continue our series highlighting questions we have received on our Houzz projects. Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. is pleased to be part of the Houzz network of professionals. Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design; providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality.

Often, Houzzers (members of the app) come to us with questions about our projects. Through answering these questions, we are provided the unique opportunity to educate Houzzers about our projects.  At times, we are not able to provide specific information for privacy reasons, but make every effort to accommodate Houzzers.

This week we answer questions on the Rustic French Country Estate.

We continue our series highlighting questions we have received on our Houzz projects. This week we answer questions on the Rustic French Country Estate.

Houzzer: I love the warm color of the wooden beams. Are they rough sawn cedar? Did you stain them or just seal them? What band did you use to penetrate well enough to get/keep that color on rough sawn wood? It’s beautiful with your door. The home is stunning.

Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.: Yes, the cedar is rough sawn and the finish applied is a sealer called LifeTime Wood Treatment. It makes the cedar turn gray and looking old. It is a product a lot of log home builders use. As for the process of application; it was completed onsite, so there is no record.

We continue our series highlighting questions we have received on our Houzz projects. This week we answer questions on the Rustic French Country Estate.

 Houzzer: I love this color. Do you know the paint company and the name of the color? Also, how did they get the mottled effect & depth in the stucco? Would this have been in the stucco when applied or a faux paint job afterward? It’s beautiful & just what I’m looking for.

Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.: It was a custom glaze finish over a standard stucco color. The glaze was created onsite and therefore no record exists.

We continue our series highlighting questions we have received on our Houzz projects. This week we answer questions on the Rustic French Country Estate.

Houzzer: Can you please tell me the source of this roof? Thank you.

Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.: It is a DaVinci Roofscapes Multi-Width Vineyard blend Slate roofing material.

Martin Brothers Contracting, Inc. has been providing our clients with a true custom home building experience since 1965. As a true custom home builder each home we build is unique. By that, we mean that each home we build is designed to meet the needs of the client, and to fit the site on which it is built. We have never built two homes exactly the same…the homeowner chooses the amenities and look of the home and the home is designed accordingly. We invite you to follow us on Houzz!

Custom built luxury home by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, IN 46526

Learn the Lingo of Rooftops

From: Houzz

When it comes to a roof, knowing a few terms will help you talk to your roofer next time there’s a leak or you decide to reshingle. They’ll also help you discuss a remodel project that includes an addition, skylight or dormer. For the most part, these terms cover the principal parts of a roof and the openings we commonly find going through a roof — creating the possibility of leaks.

Two of the most basic and common roof types are the gable and hip. These are easy to build and economical. Because they shed water and snow easily, they’re well-suited to wet and cold climates around the world.

Aesthetically, gable roofs and hip roofs are quite different.

gable roof wants to stress the vertical; it points upward to the sky. It’s identified by triangular gable ends and a single ridge between two sloping roof panels.

Gable roof example; exterior renovation by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, IN

All four sides of a hip roof slope inward. Its lines stress the horizontal and float in parallel over the earth. These are important distinctions, because the way a house meets the earth and sky tells us a lot about its designer’s intent.

Hip roof example; custom built home by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, IN

A few more basic roof parts are the ridgerake and eave.

The ridge is the highest point where two roof planes meet and is generally going to be the highest part of the house. Because of its linear nature, a ridge is commonly referred to as a ridge line. The location of the ridge is important in many localities where there are height restrictions on building, as the height of a house is often measured from the ground to the ridge. For this reason, it’s important to know what the local restrictions are and how these will affect the design.

Ridge line example on estate built by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, IN

The rake is the angled element at the gable end of a roof and is composed of the trim and structure (rafters) that extend out from the house. The rake can be finished in a plain, simple manner or in a highly stylized and elaborate way.

Example of rake, custom built home by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, IN

The eave is that element of a roof that projects out from the wall of the house and consists of a soffit and fascia. The eave can either be close, or tight, to the wall of the house or quite a distance away. Since the primary function of the eave is to take rainwater away from the walls of the house, the farther out it is the better it can serve that function.

Decorative eave on lake cottage

Learn more about the interior of a roof

For the rest of the article please click on the article below.

Learn about more roof styles and materials in the Houzz story archive

To learn more about Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., please visit our website.