A snow-topped roof is a beautiful sight to see, but it may be posing a risk. Many people do not think about how all that gorgeous snow is an added weight on top of the roof. Due to the burden that excessive snow can place on a roof, it could be in danger of damage or even collapse. Regular monitoring and periodic safe removal of snow are important for maintaining roof integrity throughout the winter season.
Know Your Snow
Anyone who has shoveled snow on multiple occasions knows that it is not always light and fluffy. Heavy, wet snow can weigh as much as 21 pounds per square foot, whereas light snow could weight 80% less. Ice is even heavier than snow. It can form under the top layer of snow, adding additional pressure on the roof. Ice dams can also form, causing water problems inside the home as the moisture enters walls and then melts.
Some winters have temperatures that fluctuate quite a bit, so there may be lots of alternating melting and freezing. This can contribute to the creation of ice dams as well as to water damage as melted water enters the home.
Calculate Your Load
Over time and multiple snow events, the snow on your roof compresses, making it difficult to calculate the exact weight. A general rule of thumb is that a roof experiences a load of 5 pounds per square foot with every 10 inches of snow that piles up on top. However, each snow is different. Using a simple tool like a snow load calculator can make the process of determingin how heavy the snow really is much faster and easier.
Remove When Required
Most roofs can handle a load of 20 pounds per square foot. Once the roof is approaching this load limit, it is a good idea to remove the bulk of the snow. Removing a large amount of snow from a roof can be dangerous to do alone. Personal ladders may not be as safe as professional ones, and an icy roof can cause slip and fall accidents. It is a good idea to consult a professional if you are not used to being on the roof under these conditions.
Keeping your roof safe from large amounts of snow is easy once you know the risks. Following these easy steps assures that all can safely enjoy the beauty of a snow-topped roof