How to Safely Shovel Snow Off A Roof

how to safely clear snow from a roof

how to safely clear snow from a roof

With all the recent snowfall, our architectural firm at Lake Tahoe has been receiving calls about snow loads on our clients’ roofs.  Within that conversation, they ask how to safely remove the load – as there is more snow in the forecast this month.

Last year, we posted one of our most popular blogs about how we design mountain homes that meet the structural requirements for significant snowfall.  And within the blog, we offered immediate advice as to how one can know if there is too much snow on the roof, and how to safely remove the snow.  With the heavy snow that we received during Christmas and New Year’s, we thought we should share that advice again.

Here are the highlights of the story posed by the question “How do you know if you have too much snow on the roof?”

One cubic foot of fluffy, dry snow weighs about three pounds. The same amount of dense, wet snow can weigh as much as 21 pounds. While most roofs are built to withstand more than that, your roof may be under too much pressure if you see these signs:

  • Visible sagging along the roofline
  • Cracks in the ceiling or on the walls
  • Popping or creaking noises
  • Difficult-to-open doors and windows

As it melts excess snow can also lead to ice dams — melting snow refreezes and can damage your home’s interior under the eave line.

How to safely clear your roof

Keep the following in mind:

  • Hire a professional. A person who does this work regularly should know the best techniques and likely be insured.
  • Never work alone. Always have someone with you in case you slip or have an emergency.
  • Clear the area. The ladder up to your roof should be positioned on solid ground. Also, make sure the rungs are clear of ice and snow before you climb.
  • Secure yourself. If possible, use a strap or belt to anchor yourself to something strong, like a chimney.
  • Avoid shingle damage. Stay away from picks, hammers, or other sharp tools to clear snow and ice.
  • Use the right tools. If you have a one-story or flat-roofed house, invest in a snow rake. These long-handled tools with plastic blades can help you gently pull snow from the edge of the roof line.

Inasmuch as this is a good recap of how to get the job done, our team at Borelli Architecture suggests you seek professionals to get the job done.  Roofing companies and possibly professional tree removal companies would be a good place to start.  Here’s a link to the Better Business Bureau’s recommendations. 

In the meantime, if you want more details about how to build a structurally sound home in the mountains, feel free to reach out at any time.

Be safe out there!

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

Lake Tahoe Ski Resort Web Cams

Ski areas in Lake Tahoe, Ski Resort Web Cams in Tahoe

Ski areas in Lake Tahoe, Ski Resort Web Cams in Tahoe

(Photo courtesy of Mt Rose Ski Tahoe)

With all the recent snowfall throughout the High Sierra, we thought this blog could be a perfect spot to share the beauty of Mother Nature. When you are ready to hit the slopes in 2023, click on these Lake Tahoe Ski Resort Web Cams for your bird’s eye view!

And if your plans for next year include building a home by the slopes, our team at Borelli Architecture is ready to get your project moving forward. For over 30 years, we have designed slope-side mountain homes, mountain-modern masterpieces, and quaint retreats throughout the High Sierra.

To see some highlights of our client’s dream homes, see a sampling of the Residential Homes in Lake Tahoe and Carson City designed by Borelli Architecture.

If you are interested in learning more about how to build a mountain home in Lake Tahoe, or own property on a golf course and are ready to start the design process, I welcome the opportunity to share our professional advice with you.  Contact us at any time.

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

To Remodel or Not? What’s the Best Investment?

Architect firms at Lake Tahoe

Architect firms at Lake Tahoe

For over 30 years, our architect firm in Lake Tahoe and Truckee has shared our advice about whether one should invest in remodeling their homes, or not.  Be it a full-time residence or a vacation home, the answer lies within the owner’s vision of the property’s future.  If one has plans to continue to enjoy the endless playground that comes with living and working in the Sierra, then a remodel may be the perfect next step to upgrading the home for future generations to enjoy.

If one is thinking about selling the home, we like to do a thorough walk-through to define what rooms make sense to remodel to ensure the owners get a good return on their investment.

At Borelli Architecture in Incline Village and throughout Washoe County, we have provided our clients with many options for remodeling their homes at the Lake.

To give you some ideas as to what our capabilities may be for your home, take a look at these recent remodeling projects:

733 Dee Court
Incline Village, Nevada

The scope of this interior remodel project included opening up the kitchen area to the living area by removing the existing walls between the kitchen and living area and between the kitchen and dining area and also by removing the existing freestanding fireplace. The dining area was converted to a bar area, and the result is an open great room/kitchen area with much-improved flow and a feeling of spaciousness. The completely remodeled kitchen now has plenty of space, all new appliances and finishes, and two large islands. A new fireplace was relocated to a large entertainment wall, and new built-in cabinets were added to both sides.

Crystal Shores West #52
Incline Village, Nevada

This 1,810 square-foot Incline Village lakefront condominium was completely remodeled, adding a lower floor bathroom and reconfiguring the master bathroom and guest bathroom. The kitchen was expanded and completely remodeled, and the living area received a new stone fireplace. Adding storage space was critical, and every inch was maximized to the greatest degree possible.

If you are interested in learning more about remodeling your home, and what the best options should be, I welcome the opportunity to share our professional advice with you.  Contact us at any time.

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

Top Tips to Stage Your Home to Entice a Winter Sale

How to stage your home during the holidays

How to stage your home during the holidays

Do pumpkin decor and the scent of maple candles enhance the opportunity for a quicker home sale during the holidays? Adding some holiday ambiance wouldn’t hurt according to those who know how to stage a home for a top sale during the winter months.

Although our architectural firm in Lake Tahoe does not specialize in advice on real estate, our clients reach out to us for lots of advice as it relates to their investment. And the subject at hand is actually fairly common.

So what helps to sell a home during the typically slower season for real estate sales?  According to the pros, added ambiance.

We asked our peers in the business to provide some top tips to stage a home for a successful sale in the wintertime, and here is what they said:

1) Place a wreath on the front door. The more natural it looks, the more inviting it will be.  Garland around the door is recommended as well to frame the entrance and set a welcoming visual.  The more ‘generic’ the better.  Stay away from glitz and glamour and too much color.

2) At the entry, if you have a small table available, fresh flowers are always a plus.  A seasonal dried arrangement works, too.

3) Keep the mountain theme as one enters your home.  Think: pinecones in a basket, dried seasonal leaves and pine boughs, and candles to light the way.

4) Open all the curtains to showcase your home’s natural setting (and be sure the windows are sparkling clean).

5) If you have rugs throughout the home, the cozier, the better for this time of the year.

6) We mentioned candles before, and we’ll mention them again.  With winter weather underway, anything you can do to accentuate a warm and welcoming environment will be a bonus.  From the mantels to the hallways and bathrooms as well.

7) Set the table as if your family was arriving for a holiday dinner.  Consider a centerpiece of natural greenery that brings the outdoors in.

8) Don’t limit your decor to the dining room table.  If you have a buffet, table near the couch, or end tables that bring the living room all together, a little holiday decor would do well to set the tone of a  cozy and comfortable home sweet home.

If you are interested in learning more tips on how to stage a home for a successful sale, my wife, Kelly is the founder of Kelly Borelli Interiors and she and I welcome the opportunity to share our seasoned advice with you.  Contact us at any time.

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

What is a Site Plan and Why Do You Need One?

Lakefront Home Designs

When you live in one of the most beautiful spots on the planet, you have an innate ability to appreciate your surroundings and protect them as best as you can.  When working with our clients, we offer professional Site Plan services that enhance your property’s setting while abiding by the strict environmental regulations set by the counties around the Lake and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency – for all the right reasons.

We employ a proactive approach regarding communications with both regulatory officials and interested stakeholders in order to build consensus surrounding a project’s design and objectives. Applying our collective talents and experience, Borelli Architecture in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, is here to design your dream home while ensuring we protect the environment that surrounds your investment.

When you work with the team at Borelli Architecture in Lake Tahoe and Carson City, Nevada, you will receive a visual presentation of your property that includes:

  • location of your home
  • location of other buildings (guest house, garden sheds)
  • terraces
  • extended features (outdoor kitchen, firepit)
  • playground

When completed, you will have a much better visual of the size and scale of your home as it relates to its orientation on your property.

Your site plan may be presented in different formats.

2D Site Plan  This is usually a simple overview that may be black and white or color coded.  It’s usually the first step in your home design which gives you an initial understanding of the layout of your home.

3D Site Plan  This option is more elaborate and includes a more defined full-color understanding of the structure of your home and its materials and colors, as well as some outdoor features (potential trees, etc.)

 3D Video Our team prefers this option and uses this technology to give our clients a much clearer understanding of your site plan, house plan, and environment in which it will be built.

For example, take a tour through our Borelli Architecture Video Models now.

If you have any questions at any time about our services to help you visualize your next home, please reach out at any time.

Jim Borelli - Borelli Architecture Lake Tahoe Carson City Truckee

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

How to Secure Permits to Build a Home in Lake Tahoe? (Part One)

TRPA Permit

 

If you have recently purchased land or a home in the Lake Tahoe basin and have plans to either build a home or do an extensive remodel, our team at Borelli Architecture based in Incline Village Lake Tahoe is here to help you move forward in planning for your future.  Throughout the last 30 years, we have been working closely with the agencies and counties that fall within the Lake Tahoe Basin area and have strict policies that must be followed.

As a full-service architectural design firm, we certainly can assist in designing the home of your dreams.  In addition, we have solid relationships with the individuals who review and approve the many permits that it takes to finalize a home in the Lake Tahoe Basin, and outlying Carson City and Truckee regions as well.

Below you will find a list from the TRPA website that will provide you with an overview of the various applications and forms that may be required to complete, submit, and receive approval before and during the permitting, home building and renovation processes.

Take a look at this list below.

Then, check back into our News section at Borelli Architecture at the end of this month to learn more about the permitting process to build or remodel a home within the High Sierra.

Single Family Dwelling Application @

Single Family Dwelling Findings

BMP Retrofit Permit Application @

BMP Small Retrofit Plan@

Driveway/Parking Area Paving Application @

Grading Project Application @

Land Coverage Exemptions for Residential Improvements

Backup Generator Installation Guide 

Multi-Family Dwelling Application @

Multi-Family Dwelling Project Findings

Qualified Exempt Declaration @

Scenic Protection Information

Wood Heater Retrofit Statement Form @

Construction Schedule Extension @

Historic Resource Determination @

If you have any questions, at any time about building, designing, or securing permits for your new home, please reach out at any time.

Jim Borelli - Borelli Architecture Lake Tahoe Carson City Truckee

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

Wildfire Home Preparedness Tips (Part Two)

Fire safe houses

Fire safe houses

Earlier this month we started to provide you with some of the best tips to prepare your home for fire season and keep it safe from embers and flames all year long.  It was a popular post.  So much so, our team at Borelli Architecture in Lake Tahoe and Incline Village decided to continue the theme on your behalf.

Before we dive in, we want to thank the professional educators at the University of Nevada Extension for providing this excellent information.

Vents

Embers are enemies of vents in homes that often lead to open spaces with your roofing or attic.  Here are some tips to follow:

  • Avoid storing anything combustible in your attic re: cardboard boxes, leftover construction, newspapers
  • Inspect those vents before fire season; check the screens and seals
  • Consider replacing vents with ember-resistant options

Home Siding

As designers and architects of mountain homes in Lake Tahoe, Carson City, and the Truckee region, we always recommend only the safest and most secure materials for your home.  This section outlines options siding.

First and foremost, it is NOT recommended to use fire-retardant coatings like fire-retardant paint.  What you want to use is non-combustible products like stucco, steel and fiber cement siding options.

Our team at Borelli Architecture in Washoe County, we also recommend the use of a one-hour wall design with a fire-resistant zone.

Skylights

In as much as skylights offer natural light throughout the house, they can be the entry for embers and flames if the covers are not sealed well.  If you want them designed into your home, we suggest the flat-style v/s domed design. Metal is the only choice in our minds as the plastic style will melt and burn upon contact.

Many skylights are designed to open to bring in the fresh Sierra air.  If a wildfire comes unexpectedly, you might not have time to close them.  Stay ahead and prepare those windows with 1/16 inch non-combustible corrosion-resistant-metal mesh screening.

Window

Now that we have addressed skylights, let’s take a look at windows.  To reduce the vulnerability, look at these tips for the best options for fire-prone regions.

  • Chose multi-pane openings containing tempered glass
  • It does hurt to also invest in non-combustible shutters to provide extra protection.
  • Purchase windows that have screens as they serve as additional ‘guards’ for flying embers.

Fences

This is a pretty obvious one, yet we did not want to leave this section out of our tips to prevent a home from wildfire.  If your fence is made of combustible material, replace it completely.  Or at least replace the combustible section closest to the home with metal or non-combustible options.

And, as pretty as it is to have ivy or flowering vines growing on your fence, the experts at UNR Extension suggest that you opt not to do this.

We want to take this time to thank the University of Nevada, Reno Extension, College of Agriculture for proving this information to you.  For more insight about how to prepare and keep your home safe from fire, visit www.unr.edu/avrs.

 

Jim Borelli - Borelli Architecture Lake Tahoe Carson City Truckee

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

 

Wildfire Home Preparedness Tips (Part One)

Fire safe houses

 

Every year our architecture firm in Lake Tahoe strives to share information about the (unfortunate) fire season in the High Sierra.  To get you ahead of the curve, we have obtained some excellent information from the University of Nevada, Reno, that provides tips on what you can do around your home to help protect it from fires.

The tips include specific information on how to retrofit existing parts of your home to withstand fires if they happen to enter your neighborhood.

As you read on, remember this fact:  In wildfire events, 60 – 90%of home loss is due to embers.

We encourage you to take the time to read our forthcoming News articles and share them with your neighbors as well.

The more you do to protect your home and its environment, the better the chances are of your home surviving a forest fire.

House Location

How and where your house is located makes a big difference as to how vulnerable your home may be.

Steep Slope or Forest Setting? When homes are located on steep slopes it is very common to have a few porches hanging over natural vegetation.  Experts suggest you remove as many of the bushes as possible between your porch and back or front yard.  The more space the better.

Forrest Setting?  Same concept as above.  We love our home in the mountains wrapped in the forest.  Yet as much as it is a beautiful setting, it’s probably the most vulnerable spot one can live.  Do your best to remove all low-hanging limbs and deciduous ‘duff’ in and around the tree wells.

Large Lot?  When one has a good-sized lot or plenty of acreage, it is not uncommon to have a garden shed, large wood pile, and other structures that are susceptible to fire.  Trim around these features and be sure that the wood pile is a good distance from the house.

Your Roof

There are three types of roofing.

Class A – Preferred: Made of asphalt fiberglass composition, shingles, clay and cementitious tiled, metal

Class B – Pressure impregnated fire-retardant treaded share or shingle

Class C – Recycled plastic, rubber, and aluminum

There are key things you can do to lower your home’s vulnerability to fire.

  • Replace it with Class A (unless that is on your home now)
  • Remove all debris – especially after the windy fall season (i.e. pine needles need to go!)
  • Clear your gutters
  • Install non-combustible and corrosion-resistant metal drip edging
  • Inspect open-eves areas for gaps where embers could land

And that is just the beginning.  Keep watching our News section for additional tips to keep your home as fire-safe as possible during the summer, and year-round.  The Sierra has been known to have an unexpected fire season in the winter months as well.

We want to take this time to thank the University of Nevada, Reno Extension, College of Agriculture for proving this information to you.  For more insight about how to prepare and keep your home safe from fire, visit www.unr.edu/avrs.

 

Jim Borelli - Borelli Architecture Lake Tahoe Carson City Truckee

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

The Value of Skilled Trade Workers

Trade Skills

Trade Skills

Over the past two years, the Lake Tahoe and Truckee region have experienced tremendous growth.  Whether the increase in population has evolved over all the new resort developments or second homeowners choosing to make their vacation house a prominent home, the end result has impacted the construction business dramatically.

At our architecture firm in Lake Tahoe and Truckee, we are seeing lots of new trends; some are good, some not so good.

The good news is that there is more revenue streaming into our local business.  Our hardware stores, lumber yards and concrete operations are running full steam ahead to keep pace with the demand.  On the flip side, the lack of skilled trade workers is slowing down the pace, dramatically.

Thus the theme of our blog today ~ “The Value of Skilled Trade Worker”

Throughout the Reno/Lake Tahoe region, there are several colleges that offer an impressive list of classes and degrees for skilled trade. For those seeking a first-time career, or looking for a change of pace, maybe it’s time to register for some summer or fall classes now.

You can make a great living, and fulfill a huge need right here in the Tahoe basin and surrounding Reno and Carson City regions.  The list is as impressive as the money that one makes when he or she is educated and certified in any of the trade skills noted below.

  • Electricians
  • Plumbers and Pipefitters
  • Backhoe and other construction equipment operators
  • Electrical repairmen
  • Riggers
  • Machinists
  • Tool and die makers
  • Welders
  • Carpenters
  • Forklift handlers, including large capacity forklifts
  • Tile and marble setters
  • Cement masons and finishers
  • Painters
  • Sheet metal workers
  • Structural iron and steelworkers
  • Plasterers
  • Crane and tower operators
  • Dump truck operators

The closest campus (which offers virtual classes, too) is Western Nevada College.  Within their Class Schedule, you can find a wide variety of trade-oriented classes.  In addition, if you prefer to work on your own, their list of business and marketing courses can complement your skills and services as a freelance trade specialist.

If you have more of a creative mindset, be sure to check out their classes in Drafting, Architecture, and Design.  All of which are ideal if you would rather design a home than building one from the ground, up.

Our entire team at Borelli Architecture firm in Nevada encourages you to take a good look at the value of a trade skill.  You can take it anywhere and put some money away to build your own home, too!

Jim Borelli - Borelli Architecture Lake Tahoe Carson City Truckee

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

Below the Blue Keeps Tahoe Clean … for You!

Lake Tahoe North Shore

Lake Tahoe North Shore

Throughout the great Lake Tahoe Basin, there are endless ways to enjoy the pristine waters that make our lake so famous.  But what about the Lake bottom?

Thanks to the efforts of “Below the Blue” the debris that flys off boats or are tossed into the lake does not exist like it used to.

This past week there was an excellent press release from the Tahoe Regional Planning agencies about “Below the Blue’s” efforts to clean up the lake, from its lakebed.  Here are some highlights that we thought you would enjoy reading today as posted on CarsonNow.com.

Monique Rydel-Fortner and Seth Jones have seen more of what lies underwater at Lake Tahoe than most. Unfortunately, that includes trash and lots of it — from drones, car batteries and sunken boats, to plate glass windows and enormous sheets of metal siding.

For more than a decade, the SCUBA divers and co-founders of the Tahoe-based nonprofit Below the Blue have removed more than 100,000 pounds of foreign objects from the Lake. Over countless dives, one source of submarine trash stands out as persistent but preventable — debris from shoreline building projects.

In cooperation with the League to Save Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the underwater environmentalists are working to stop the illicit practice of using Lake Tahoe as a construction site dumpster.

As noted by the co-founder of Below the Blue, Seth Jones said: “Out of sight is not out of mind.”

And our architect firm in Lake Tahoe completely agrees.

Sure, we have probably dropped our sunglasses off a pier yet to see the junk that they collect on an annual basis is just makes you think: “What were they thinking?”

Unloaded any unwanted items into the Lake is not only ‘not right,” it’s illegal.  Steve Sweet, who is the Compliance Code Program Manager at TRPA said it best:

“Discarding material of any kind in Lake Tahoe is illegal and violates the high standard of environmental stewardship in this community. Strengthening the requirements for shoreline construction permits will eliminate these careless and environmentally harmful practices to better protect Lake Tahoe.”

With Earth Day around the corner, we encourage you all to get involved in the variety of initiatives underway to keep Tahoe blue this year, and in years to come.   Click into South Tahoe Earth Day to learn more about where and when you can chip in to help in a small or significant way.

Jim Borelli - Borelli Architecture Lake Tahoe Carson City Truckee

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060