Syracuse Roofing: Article About Snow and A Home's Roof
There are some universal truths in the world: winter will come, snow is heavy and water is even heavier. The key to winter safety is to be prepared, and that's especially true when it comes to a home's roof.
The snow load created by accumulating ice and snow on the roof is a real concern in winter. Most of today's homes are built to withstand 25 to 50 pounds per square foot of snow or water on the roof, but roofs that are older or structurally compromised may hold far less. Flat or low slope roofs like those found on car ports, porticos and mid century modern homes are also especially vulnerable to snow accumulation.
Experienced Syracuse roofing experts can help homeowners evaluate whether their roofs are ready to hold up under several feet of snow. Any deficiencies, leaks or issues found with the roof should be fixed before the first major storm hits.
Homeowners should keep in mind that a square foot of ice weighs 57 pounds, and water is heavier at 62 pounds per square foot. While most pitched roofs don't have a problem shedding rain, ice buildup over the course of winter is a problem.
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If snow melts between snow storms but doesn't run off the roof, it can linger and form ice when the temperature drops below freezing again.
Snow is much lighter than water, but successive snow storms can cause several feet to accumulate on the roof. Generally, light, fluffy snow weighs 7 to 10 pounds per square foot, and a strong roof can withstand a few feet of it. Denser, wetter snow can weigh as much as 20 pounds per square foot, so one big and wet storm can pile on the pounds quickly.
For most pitched roofs, accumulating snow drifts slide off the roof before they have a chance to put too much pressure on the home. After each snow storm, homeowners should walk around the perimeter of the house to take a look at how much snow is on their roof. During this walk around, homeowners should pay attention to areas where snow tends to accumulate such as around dormers and chimneys. On many homes, wind drift causes snow to pile up more heavily on one side of the house, so the entire house should be examined.
If snow buildup exceeds a couple of feet or if there is heavy ice accumulation around the home's eaves, it's time to call in a professional. It's dangerous for homeowners to go up on the roof, and do it yourself snow rakes can harm the roof.