How Much Snow Can Your Roof Hold?
Unfortunately, there's no simple answer to this question. All properly built roofs are built to withstand a "design" snow and ice load. The presence of snow and ice on a roof exerts vertical loads that can cause a roof to sag or bow downward. This loading also transfers horizontal forces that may cause the walls to deflect or move slightly outward. When roof loads are below the actual load capacity, the effects are temporary. However, if the loading exceeds the design load capacity, the sagging and deflections can become permanent. In extreme cases, the roof can even collapse.
Signs of an Overloaded Roof
Whether a roof can sustain a load without damage or collapse depends mainly on the depth and density of the snow, as well as the depth and spacing of the rafters and trusses. Since determining the depth and density of snow might be a little difficult, here are some warning signs to look for:
- If after a heavy snow, you see that the rafters in your attic are sagging, there could be too much snow on your roof.
- If you hear any cracking or popping, you also have reason to be concerned about the amount of weight on your roof.
- If the house's frame has moved enough to jam shut a door or even just make it stick, that's not a good sign.
- If you see the drywall or plaster around door frames start to crack, that could be a sign of too much snow as well.
- Severe roof leaks into the attic are another good indicator that the snow should be removed immediately.
- If the snow is 18 inches high or more, you definitely want to remove it, especially if you have a low-pitched roof.
Regardless of your roof's condition, it's always a good idea to remove drifts using a roof rake with an extension pole or hire the best roofing company at the Lake of the Ozarks to remove the snow for you! If you're concerned about the current condition of your roof, give us a call at 573-302-0354 for a free roof inspection at the Lake of the Ozarks!
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