A dusting of snow can make a neighborhood look magical, especially during the holidays when outside lights add a festive glow. But high amounts of snow can lead to dangerous road conditions, school closings, and can even damage your home, especially the roof.
So, just how much snow is too much for a roof to safely hold? Read on to find out.
The Right Amount of Snow
The amount of snow that any roof can hold greatly depends on the roofing material, roofline, and weight of the snow.
- Roofing Material – When it’s time to replace your roof, choose a durable material like slate or asphalt to support the weight of snow. While both are good options, asphalt is much more affordable.
- Structural Design – Steep, smooth roofs tend to do a better job of shedding snow than slightly pitched or flat roofs.
- Weight of Snow – All snow is not created equal. Packed, wet snow can weigh up to three times more than the dry, fluffy stuff. What does that mean for your roof? A cubic foot of wet snow can weigh about 21 pounds while that same amount of fluffy snow likely weighs no more than 7 pounds.
Pretty straightforward stuff, right? Not exactly. Accumulation that’s just fine on one roof can be dangerous on another. Your best bet is to pay attention to your roof from the outside and note any signs of trouble inside. Go into the attic and inspect the rafters for bends or cracks, or signs of water intrusion. Head back downstairs, particularly toward the center, and look for new cracks in plaster or drywall surrounding doorframes. While these aren’t necessarily indicative of a structural issue, it’s best to be sure.
At Pann Home Services, our home remodeling and handyman specialists can repair damage caused by excessive rooftop snow weight. Still, we advise you to have snow removed – by a professional – once it goes past the 4” mark, especially if it’s the wet and heavy kind. And remember – ice weighs more than snow.