What Snow Can Do to your Roof, and How to Stop it

Residential roofing needs to be protected most during long and wayward winters, much like we’re currently experiencing. Clearing off snow will save on roof repairs and make new roofs last even longer. Here is what a savvy homeowner can do to protect their residential roof; and thus, their home.

Snow weight on a roof is one of the leading causes of quality degradation and roof collapse. This winter, when snow has been so plenty and temperatures been so wayward, was an especially trying time for roof integrity. The rampant snowstorms followed quickly by warmer temperatures has led to piles of ice and heavy snow being compacted onto roofs, digging into shingle cracks and testing strength with enormous psf (pounds per square foot) of pressure. Only through proper recognition and weight management can a homeowner protect their roof and thus their home, in a heavy winter.

Layers and layers of hefty snow will compact and solidify as the winter slugs onward. While ice penetrating the shingle’s flashing points and slowly degrading quality is bad enough, the real damage can come simply from weight. It doesn’t take much to bring a roof down. Standard material measurements indicate that a few feet of impacted, heavy snow can pull your roof down, resulting in an new roof renovation besides the obvious danger that comes with collapse. How can a roof maintain its integrity during this costly winter, and what ways can a homeowner prepare for the future?

Roof Shape

If you’re installing a new roof some foresight is the best way to prevent these issues before they happen. Investing in a roof with a high rafter depth is going to be more winter ready than a flat roof. The higher the slope of the roof and the steeper the rafters, the more prepared a roof will be to handle a snow load.

It’s all about displacing weight and allowing it to fall to the side. A steeper roof will simply force snow loads to fall off the side of the house as there will be no flat surface to carry it. Impacting is cut down because snow doesn’t build as much; the only concern is if a smaller flat roof is under it catching the falling snow. The steep rafter also acts as a support as well. With a higher MOI (moment of inertia), a steeper rafter is more braced to protect against bending, preventing most weight issues.

Cleaning the Roof

If your residential roof does take on snow, it must be cleaned during winters such as this. As discussed above, allowing snow to pile can be disastrous; whether manually or professionally, the burden must be alleviated. For just under $50, an industrious homeowner can buy a roof rake design to extend and reach onto the roof and pull snow off. Do this just after any snow fall, probably as often as you would shovel or plow your driveway. The job does not need to be perfect, just alleviate the burden and prevent major impacting from layers of snowfall.

Another way is to go the professional route. If your home is 2 stories tall or higher, you will have little chance of raking snow off. Also, a homeowner should NEVER attempt to go on their roof during the winter, especially if that roof is 20 ft. in the air. The risk isn’t worth the reward in the least, but the snow needs to get removed at some point. Roofing contractors often offer snow removal services during this time of year. Invest in a professional who will effectively and safely remove the snow from your roof without damaging its integrity.

Even new roofs can will enjoy the protection afforded by a savvy homeowner. Residential roofing must be protected to secure longevity and safety of the investment. Help your roof survive the rest of this winter and beyond, with active roof care in regards to snow loading.

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