Got A Lot Of Snow On Your Roof? Get Answers To Questions You May Be Asking Yourself

Posted on: 18 December 2014

If it has snowed heavily where you live, your roof may be covered in a large amount of snow. When this happens, you may find yourself asking many questions about snow and your roof.  Here are a few questions you may have about snow and roofs and the answers to those questions.

How Much Snow Can Accumulate on a Roof Before Someone Should Worry?

Unfortunately, there are many factors that determine how much snow can accumulate on a roof before you begin to worry. As such, there is not a definitive answer.

One of the factors that is looked at when determining how much snow on a roof is safe is how wet the snow is. Six inches of wet snow can weigh as much as 38 inches of dry, fluffy snow. As such, you need to be more concerned with a few inches of wet snow than with a few inches of dry snow.

Another factor to consider when you are trying to determine if too much snow has fallen on the roof is whether the amount of snow that is falling on your roof is predictable for your part of the country. The amount of weight that a roof is required to hold varies in different parts of the country. Building code requires roofs to withstand the heaviest predictable snowfalls for your part of the country. Because of this, you shouldn't worry if your roof was built to code, is in good condition and the amount of snow fall is predictable for your area. On the other hand, you should be concerned if you are getting record-setting amounts of snow.

Are There Warning Signs That Too Much Snow is Falling on the Roof?

As snow continues to fall on your roof, you may wonder if there are any warning signs that indicate the snowfall is too heavy for your roof. Luckily, before a roof caves in, there will be warning signs that the snow and ice are becoming too heavy for the roof.

One of the earliest warning signs of trouble with snow on your roof is doors and windows sticking. If snow is accumulating on your roof, go to your highest floor and try to open and close your doors or windows. If they are opening and closing fine, your roof is able to hold the current weight of the snow. However, if they are sticking, the weight on the roof is pushing down, affecting your window and door frames. This means you need to have the snow removed quickly.

Another warning sign that snow is becoming too heavy for your roof is stress fractures, cracks or bending underneath the roof. When you go into your attic and look upward, you are looking directly at the underside of your roof, or the layer called the sheathing. If you notice cracks forming in the sheathing, notice insulation under the roof is wet, or notice plaster cracks around your roof, your roof is struggling to hold the weight of the snow. The rafters or support beams in the attic can also bend from the weight of heavy snowfall, indicating the weight of the snow is too much for your roof.

Is Removing Snow From the Roof a Do-It-Yourself Job?

You can safely remove snow from your roof using a snow rake if it is removed before a large amount of snow has accumulated. Generally speaking, a large amount is considered to be six or less inches, but that number should be lowered if the snow is wet versus soft. However, if a large amount has accumulated on your roof, removing snow yourself can be dangerous to you and your roof.

If a large amount of snow has fallen on your roof, and you attempt to remove it with a snow rake, you can cause an avalanche-like event and bury yourself in snow. Also, if the snow is heavy, moving it can damage other parts of the roof if you move the snow unevenly or place snow on weak points on the roof. Because of the risks to you and your roof, it is best that you allow a professional to remove snow from your roof if your roof is showing signs that it can't carry the weight of the snow that has fallen atop it.

Following a large snowstorm, you may find yourself wondering if too much snow has fallen on top of your roof. Getting answers to these questions can help you determine if your roof can sustain the weight of the snow or whether you need to call a professional to clear the snow off your roof.

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