How Much Snow Can a Roof Handle?

How Much Snow Can a Roof Handle

We’ve all seen the unbelievable pictures of the record-breaking snow that recently buried the Buffalo, NY area.  While homeowners have been asked to stay in their homes and off the impassable roads, a new worry has surfaced – can their roof handle the pressure?   Here’s some information you can share with your homeowners while they are stuck inside.

Signs that a roof may be at risk from bearing the weight of the heavy white stuff:

  • Visible sagging
  • Noises that sound like creaking or popping
  • Leaking coming from the roof

Flat or low-pitched roofs are more vulnerable, but pitched roofs can still be at risk when the snow is very heavy.

When it’s safe to travel, contractors in the area or within driving distance have an opportunity to help homeowners repair an unsafe roof (see our article “The Benefits and Risks of Replacing a Roof in Winter”). In general, as much snow as possible should be raked off their roof, but leave a few inches to avoid damaging the shingles.  Also, make sure the snow is thrown away from the building and be careful using metal tools around power lines.  Contractors should advise homeowners to call their insurance company to see if they are covered in the event of a roof collapse.

Liza Barth (2014 November 14) How Much Snow Can a Roof Handle? Retrieved on December 10, 2014 from GAF.com