How To Prevent Heavy Snow Damage To Your Roof

12/14/2017

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While we’ve been spoiled thus far with such a sunny winter, we all know the weather here in Washington can change at the drop of a hat. That’s why it’s always best to prepare and make sure your home is ready to withstand any heavy snow or ice that may gather after a storm. Here are four steps you can take to reduce your risk of roof damage this winter:

  • Evaluate Risk: Usually, snow that melts tends to run off of steep, more sloped roofs where the slopes are greater than 3 inches in 12 inches of horizontal distance. If your roof is flatter than most and you’re noticing a lot of water buildup, you may want to approach that as a concern.

  • Estimate Support of Roof: Unless there’s some prior decay or the foundation of the roof is damaged, most residential roofs (regardless of location) should be able to support 20 pounds per square foot of snow. Living in an area where there’s lots of snow, your roof is probably safe. But check with your building department if you have questions.

  • Calculate Weight of Snow on Roof: For fresh snow, 10-12 inches is equal to one inch of water or about 5 pounds per square foot. For packed snow, it’s 3-5 inches. When it comes to ice, one inch equals about one foot of fresh snow.

  • Remove: If your roof falls in the “danger zone” or if the loads you estimate based on the thickness of the various types of snow and ice exceed 20-25 per square feet, it would probably be best to remove that snow from your roof.