Just about two months ago, we witnessed one of the biggest local snow storms in recent history. It piled up on the roads, on cars, on decks, sidewalks, and, of course, on roofs, making all of these areas perilous by blocking the streets and icing up walkways. What most people forget, however, is that a huge danger of this kind of excessive weather is that the weight of snow can cause major damage before it even begins to melt by facilitating a roof collapse.
Those Piles of Snow May Cause Roof Collapse
Could you estimate how much the snow on your roof weighs? Likely, you don’t have a good guess, but it looks imposing from where it’s piled high just outside the windows. The truth is that this heavy buildup can mean big problems for your home, and even if you recognize the danger, you may not know what to do about it before there’s a collapse.
“Most residential roofs” are said to be able to support up to 20 pounds, which actually isn’t very much if you’ve had as much snow as we saw in mid-late January. Keep in mind, too, that there are different kinds of snow, including the fluffy stuff, tightly-packed snow that may be mixed with ice, and then just ice alone, formed as a layer resulting from the melted snow from before. All of these can be perilous and can cause roof collapse if left to build up gradually without action.
For comparison and information’s sake, here are some of the general weights for different kinds of snow so that you can better identify the risk and potential for roof collapse:
- “Fresh snow” should not be allowed more than four feet as a heavier amount will cause damage.
- “Packed snow,” which is fresh snow piled tight onto itself, should be cleared away before more than two feet have accumulated.
- “Total accumulated weight: 2 feet of old snow and 2 feet of new snow could weigh as much as 60 lb per square foot of roof space, which is beyond the typical snow load capacity of most roofs.”
- “Ice: 1 inch of ice equals 1 foot of of fresh snow,” so don’t forget to include ice buildup when examining the amount of precipitation up on your roof.
Remember that many of these hazards include icy surfaces and that trying to remove any of it may require very careful footing. One of the biggest dangers to you is yourself; don’t undertake any roofing projects unless you ABSOLUTELY know what you’re doing. Rather than risk it, call a roofing professional to assess the situation and to clear off the roof so that you don’t risk life and limb trying to do so.
For a quick, safe fix, go to your nearest hardware store (if you can get there) and purchase a snow rake, which can knock down some of the excess hanging off of the edges from a safe distance. For more serious cases and to have all the snow cleared off without danger to yourself, get in touch with Cox Roofing today. Our experts can assess your needs and address possible concerns in no time at all.
Cox Roofing is a full-service, certified roofing contractor providing residential and commercial roofing services to the state of Maryland, with particular focus on Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Harford County and Howard County. We pride ourselves on our personalized service which transforms your property into the residence or business of your dreams. Get in touch for your free estimate today.