Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
West Chester’s location, east of the Appalachian Mountains, earns it about 27.7 inches of snow annually. This is quite a lot of snow when you think about all of the structures that must hold its weight – especially a shingle roof! With the onset of winter storms, many homeowners are wondering just how much weight their roof can hold.
There are three main areas to consider when looking for an answer to this questions:
Home Construction – The roof itself (sheathing and shingles) is not the deciding factor for the strength of your roof. Rather, it is the trusses and overall construction of your home as a unified whole – from load bearing walls to collar ties. A well-built home will have a much higher load capacity than a cheaply built structure.
Slope of Roof - A steeply-sloped roof will be able to shed much of its snow load when it becomes too heavy to sustain. Flat or low-sloped roofs, on the other hand, are much more at risk for stress and damage from heavy snow.
Snow consistency - Wet snow is significantly heavier than “dry” snow. Consequently, an inch or two of wet snow will have a weight equal to 3-5 inches of a lighter variety. Since the weight of the snow is nearly impossible to ascertain without lengthy measurements, this is an “important but relatively useless” consideration.
If your rafters are bending from the weight of snow, consider it a roofing emergency. Cracking sounds may indicate an impending collapse, as can a sudden door jam (from the house’s frame shifting as a result of the additional weight.) In all of these cases, contact a roofing contractor for snow removal and call a structural engineer to assess the strength of your home and the damage sustained.
Regardless of warning signs or exact measurement of snow depth on your roof, don’t wait for the snow to build up on your roof. Take measures after unusual snow buildup to remove the excess weight from your roof. This can be done from the ground with a snow rake attached to a long pole. Take care, however, that your rake does not scrape against any of the asphalt, since this will damage the shingles.
If shingles are damaged, it is time to call in the roofing experts – Certitude Home Improvements. We will fix your shingle roof and ensure it is as good as new.
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