Roof Snow Removal 101 – Preventing Collapse
While a snowy rooftop is beautiful, it can also be damaging or even deadly. Homes with flat roofs or those that have not been adequately prepared for the great weight of a snowfall, are in great danger of roof collapse. There are people in Buffalo with collapsing roofs and it has people concerned, so we want to provide the facts.
How Much Snow is Too Much Snow on Your Roof?
Every roof is different and can tolerate different amounts of snow. Knowing the signs that your home is in danger of collapse is the best way to gauge how much snow is too much snow.
Here are some of the basic signs that your roof is in danger of collapsing:
- Difficult to open doors and windows.
- Cracked wood beams.
- Severe roof leaks.
- Bowed ceiling pipes.
- Cracks in the walls or masonry.
- Doors that pop open.
The amount of snow that your roof can handle will vary. Roof type, age and condition of the structure all affect the specific weight that your roof can tolerate. As a general rule of thumb, if more than a foot of heavy snow is on your roof, it should be removed. Ladders are not safe to use in icy conditions. When the weather is bad and outside conditions are treacherous, snow removal is best left to professionals.
“The critical factor in determining excessive snow loads on your roof isn’t the depth of the snow, it’s the weight,” says home improvement expert Jon Eakes. Wet snow is considerably heavier than dry snow, and 6 inches of wet snow is equal to the weight of about 38 inches of dry snow.
The good news is that residential roofs are required by building codes to withstand the heaviest snows for that particular part of the country. “Theoretically, if your roof is built to code, it’s built to support more than the normal load of snow and ice,” says Eakes.
DIY Rooftop Snow Removal vs Professional Snow Removal
With special gear like extension ladders, properly anchored safety harnesses and special snow and ice-removal tools, professionals get the job done for fees in the range of $250 to $500.
Anyone hoping to clear the snow themselves will need the right tools. To stay safe, do all work from the ground with use of a snow removal rake. Getting on the roof might be done safely for one-story bungalows, but only by taking special precautions.
Tips for Removing Snow from Your Roof
Use a safety harness fastened to a strong anchor point, like the chimney. Stay away from the edge of the roof, as snow drifts can be deceiving. To reduce risk of falls, work on levels of the roof above the snow, don’t work beneath icicles, and never work alone.
Shoveling gear must all be made of plastic, as metal tools can cause major damage to the roof. Falling snow should be dispersed around your house. Do not allow the snow to pile up in one location, lest it should cause a deck collapse or block a door. Wear headgear and goggles for safety’s sake. When you do get on the roof, plant the ladder in a drift of snow to prevent it from falling off. Avoid use of electric heating devices to melt the ice, and never use open-flames.
Utah Roofing Contractor
Homeowners who have roofs that have suffered damage from the snow, can contact All Seasons Roofing with any questions. We offer free estimates, and you won’t pay a dime until the job is complete.
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