Roof Collapse: A Closer Look At A Winter Threat To Homeowners

If snow continues to fall after the roof of your home is well covered, things can get a bit tense. Snow, which is basically loosely packed ice crystals and droplets of moisture, can be extremely heavy in large amounts. So heavy in fact that snow can cause a roof to collapse if it is allowed to accumulate and especially. As a homeowner that may live in an area that receives a large amount of snowfall, it is important that you get to know a bit about roof collapse, why it happens, and what you should be doing to protect your home in the winter.  

How common is roof collapse due to snow?

Roof collapse in the winter because of heavy snowfall is usually not a big deal in most areas. However, it does happen and should be a threat that you consider if you live in an area that is prone to large amounts of snow at one time, such as in a mountainous area or the New England territories of the United States. After winter storm Pandora moved through Massachusetts in 2015, multiple roofs collapsed due to the sheer volume of snow that fell with the storm. 

How much snow can the usual roof support?

Regardless of the type of roof or how the house is constructed, most homes have a roof that can support or withstand about 20 pounds of snowfall per square foot before the materials become stressed and there is a major threat. In areas where a lot of snow tends to fall in the winter, the roof may even have a higher load capacity. If your roof has any type of underlying damage, is aged, or weak in any way already, the excess weight of the snow can be a huge threat. This is one reason why it is always a good idea to have a roofing contractor take a look at your roof before the onset of winter. 

What is the best way to avoid roof collapse in the winter?

You may not be able to do anything at all about the weather, but what you can do is keep your roof well maintained. Not only should the roof be assessed before the snowy season begins for signs of compromise or weakness, you should be on high alert throughout the winter. Keep snow cleared as much as you can with a roof rake, which is a long-handled tool that can be used to pull snow off to the ground as it accumulates, and get in touch with a professional roofing contractor if the snow accumulates too quickly for you to handle on your own.