4 Steps to Prevent a Winter Roof Collapse
It is that time of year when snow seems to fall every day. As it begins to accumulate on your roof, you may begin to wonder how much weight your roof can handle. Large amounts of snow on your roof can cause a collapse, and it is important to know what steps you can take to prevent this from happening.
1. Know how much weight your roof can support. It is important to know the weight capacity of your roof. Typically, roofs can hold about 20 pounds per square foot of snow. If your home was built before 1975, it may not be able to hold as much weight due to a weaker roof support system.
2. Calculate the weight of snow on your roof. Snow weighs different amounts depending on the type. Fresh snow weights the least - ten inches of fresh snow weighs about 5 pounds per square foot. Packed snow is heavier, two feet could be enough to cause a roof collapse. If your roof has ice, an inch is equal to a foot of fresh snow. Being knowledgeable about the type of snow on your roof is important in preventing a roof collapse.
3. Remove the snow and ice. If you come to the conclusion there is too much snow on your roof, you need to begin to take measures to remove it. This can be done two ways: by yourself or by hiring a professional. If you plan to try and remove the snow yourself, use a snow rake with an extended arm and use caution. Be aware that not all should be removed - it’s recommended to keep about 2 inches of snow on your roof.
4. Observe your home for signs of a distressed roof. Keep an eye on all areas of your home and be aware of any signs that the roof is overstressed. Leaking ceilings, cracked walls, creaky noises, and jammed doors could all be signs there is a problem.
Be aware of the type of snow on your roof, and do not risk removal if it is not necessary. If you suspect your roof is close to collapse, evacuate your home and contact a structural engineer.