Heavy Snow Bringing Down the House this Winter Season
Heavy snow can pose serious risk to roofs, creating dangerous conditions, and causing some to collapse. If snow loads are not properly removed, the roof can collapse leading to safety concerns, costly repairs and undo stress. This is why industry experts agree: the safest way to deal with a building collapse is to call a reputable, licensed general contractor within the local community, schedule an inspection, and ask for guidance about your project and coverage.
Most roofs can support about 40-45 inches of fresh snow, and one inch of ice is the equivalent to one foot of snow. Because packed snow is more dense than a fresh snowfall, a roof can support 4+ feet of new snow. In fact, two feet or more of old snow is enough to exceed weight limits. Old snow and new snow combined can easily exceed load capacity. Just two feet of each could collapse a roof.
While the average roof can withstand 20 pounds per square foot, wet and heavy snow can weigh 21 pounds per square foot. So, while fresh and light snow can weigh just 3 pounds per square foot and hold up to 6 feet, a single foot of wet snow could risk collapse.
Given the insane amount of snowfall our community has recently received, we encourage homeowners and property managers to take a proactive approach, and trade stress and concern for confidence and control. Start looking for bent conduits or utility pipes at the ceiling. Take repeated or severe leaks seriously and investigate further. Identify saggy sections of interior ceiling or exterior shingles and pay attention to windows and doors harder to open than usual or randomly pop open on their own.
The good news is, there are maintenance measures that can help prevent untimly structure collapse scrambles. For instance, know what kind of snow is falling and have a snow rake handy. Routinely inspect your roof from the ground - be sure to check gutters and downspouts, too. Don't be afraid to call a professional. Be sure to ask for an attic inspection, ensuring proper insulation, when you do. Lastly, have your roof professionally inspected at least once a year. Hail, wind, and flood damage are common throughout the the Midwest and home damage occurs year-round. Again, good news here too! Most, if not all homeowners insurance policies cover weather damage throughout the year, so be sure to know what coverage your policy currently holds.
Preventative maintenance is important for the home and homeowners' sanity. If you have any doubt about potential roof or cover collapse, give us a call today! We are a local and licensed construction professional here to serve you. We are happy to schedule a home inspection immediately, so you can enjoy a peace of mind this Midwest Winter season.