Winter weather is fast approaching here in the Delaware Valley Region. The snow will pile up, and while it looks beautiful, you may wonder how the winter weather will affect your home’s structural integrity.
Does the snow look really heavy? Are you worried about those growing icicles? We’re here to help you be a responsible homeowner during the winter, so let’s look at the topic closely.
IS TOO MUCH SNOW ON YOUR ROOF BAD?
A few simple math calculations can help you understand how much snow your roof can support. For example, three feet of freshly fallen snow weigh about 30 pounds per square foot. One foot of packed snow weighs about the same. Those numbers might cause panic, but in most cases, your roof won’t need to withstand that weight – a pitched roof is designed to cause environmental factors like rain and snow to slide off.
If you are considering getting up on the roof to shovel the snow, don’t! First of all, it is dangerous. Further, consider this: The weight of the average American man is about 197 pounds. Evenly spread out over two square feet, the weight of an average man is three times the weight of the snow he would be removing. If the roof can support the weight of an average adult, it can support the weight of the snow.
Your home is built to protect you, so the roof is understandably a durable and resilient element of your structure. Attempting to remove snow from your roof is more dangerous than leaving it there, and it is almost always an unnecessary chore.
HOW CAN MY ROOF SUPPORT ALL THAT SNOW?
Your roof is built to withstand the average snow load in the region where you live. While building codes vary from state to state, potential snow accumulation is always taken into account when setting the requirements.
If your home is very old or you notice damage to the roof or supporting structures, you should have the roof immediately assessed. Biannual home roof inspections should keep you informed of any existing roof issues, and you should get repairs right away. Otherwise, the roof should be perfectly capable of supporting a snow load until it melts.
If you don’t have a pitched roof, don’t panic. Flat roofs are also built to codes that are informed by the average snow loads for that region. If your flat roof seems to be holding water as the snow melts or during rainstorms, it may need some attention and repairs.
Related Article: How To Perform Your Fall Routine Roof Inspection
DO ICE DAMS DAMAGE ROOFS?
Ice dams are an accumulation of ice on the eaves or overhangs of a roof. They form when heat from inside the attic melts snow on the roof, which runs towards the eaves and freezes at the overhang. Ice dams can cause water to pool, creating roof damage or leaks in the home.
Ice dams are a sign of a poorly insulated attic. If you are struggling with ice dams, you likely need an upgrade to your attic’s insulation. Ideally, the roof interior is as cold as the outdoors to prevent snowmelt. Proper insulation and ventilation will help you avoid further damage.
Related Article: Ice Dam Removal- Know What’s Safe
SHOULD YOU BREAK OFF ICICLES?
As the sun and warmer weather begin melting the snow on your roof, icicles often form. Falling icicles can be very dangerous because they detach from the roof unexpectedly. If your home accumulates icicles over walkways or doors, you should take measures to remove them carefully.
Using a broom or a long stick, gently knock them loose away from your body. Make sure to stand back to avoid injury.
EXERCISE PROPER ROOF CARE THIS WINTER!
When it comes to taking care of your home this winter, refer to the professionals. Have faith in your roof during snowstorms, but always call a professional for an assessment if you have concerns. Stay warm and safe – don’t attempt to remove snow from your roof on your own.
If you notice any concerning areas on your roof during a routine inspection or after a snowstorm, plan for an upgrade. You may want to consider slate shingles since they shed snow very easily and add style to your home!
Here at Advance Inc., we are happy to help you with all your roofing and attic insulation needs. Contact us with any concerns or questions you may have.