We all know Santa Claus has a big job to do every year.
Visiting all the good little boys and girls of the world in one night is no easy feat.
In fact, Santa’s annual flight is such an important part of the holiday season that NORAD tracks him every year using the most advanced satellite technology in the world. According to physicist Dr. Katy Sheen, Santa must travel about six million miles per hour to finish the job.
Santa has one advantage: When you account for timezones, he has about 31 hours to make his rounds, not the 8-12 hours you might expect from any one place on Earth. That probably helps explain why he has time to stop for milk and cookies, too.
But it’s not all magic. Anyone who ever watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas knows delivering to any home is easier when you have a quality roof. Santa finds his way around even without a chimney, but he needs a solid foundation for takeoff and landing.
Can the average Central Florida roof hold Santa and his sleigh?
Calculating the Weight of Santa, Sleigh, and Reindeer
To know if your roof maintenance stands up to the big, jolly one, we have to start by knowing just how big we’re talking. Luckily, we can go back to NORAD for some answers: They estimate Santa’s height at 5’7” and his weight around 260 pounds (maybe a bit more after all the cookies.)
An independent estimate looking at mall Santas – those special helpers deputized by the real thing – indicated their average weight is around 218. For the love of Christmas, let’s take the average (that would be 239) and round up to 240 for the weight of Santa’s boots.
How about Santa’s reindeer?
Like many other animals, reindeer vary in weight and length according to sex. But despite what some sources would have you believe, Santa’s eight reindeer – yes, including Rudolph – are ladies. Male reindeer don’t have antlers at Christmas, since they cast them at the end of autumn.
Female reindeer grow to be anywhere from 5.5 to 6.2 feet long, with a weight anywhere from 121 to 308 pounds. Between the eight of them, they can certainly haul Santa with ease. But we still need to determine the weight in pounds of Santa’s sleigh. Surprise! It’s NORAD to the rescue again.
According to their technical data for Santa’s sleigh, its weight at take-off is about 75,000 gumdrops. Judging from the weight of a cup of gumdrops (182 grams), that works out to around nine grams to an individual drop or 682,500 grams. That makes the sleigh just over 1,500 pounds.
Putting It All Together
With about 1,500 pounds of the sleigh, 240 pounds of passenger, and some 1,720 pounds of reindeer (taking the average weight), things don’t look too good for the average shingle roof. That’s 3,460 pounds, not counting the weight of presents (which NORAD places at 60,000 tons.)
But there’s a caveat:
The lack of clear skid marks or hoof prints on the average Florida roof at Christmastime suggests that, just like the engineers at NORAD suspect, Santa’s sleigh is a vertical short takeoff and landing vehicle, more like a helicopter than a jumbo jet. That means well over 95% of the weight never touches the roof.
Instead, all the roof has to bear is Santa himself and an armload of presents (say, less than 20 pounds.)
Well, 270 pounds might still seem like a lot. The strictest roofing codes in the U.S. are found in Florida and California, and only flat, commercial California roofs are rated to hold 300 pounds concentrated. Here’s the catch, though: Structural load is usually measured in pounds per square foot.
Florida roofs can be rated to withstand combined loads anywhere from 20 pounds per square foot to 27 pounds per square foot. And this, unbeknownst to the average tot at Christmas, is precisely how Santa manages to make his visits without leaving a trace on your roof.
Just like the trusted team at Sheegog Contracting doing your roof maintenance, Santa knows exactly where to step, how to balance, and how to distribute his weight so that it works effortlessly with your roof. And believe us: It’s a whole lot easier here in Florida than it is with a frozen roof up north!
Maybe he was a roofer before he became a toymaker? Who knows!
Want to make life a little easier for Santa this Christmas?
Contact Sheegog Contracting for roof maintenance today.