Snowy Roof

How Much Snow Can a Roof Handle?

During a big winter snow storm homeowners are asked to stay inside and off the impassable roads, but what happens if your roof can’t handle the pressure?  Here’s some information to 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.

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  1. Ed Davis

    Well said Liza,
    Heavy snow pile up on a roof of a business or home can lead to a plethora of damages. Also you should not ice dams building on a roof are a problem. They cause melting snow to back up onto the roof instead of properly running off away from the home. This melt water can leak in the roof and siding an cause substantial loss. However, most of these damages are preventable with proper preparation and upkeep. Additionally in doing so your insurance company will often reduce your premiums for taking precautionary measures.

  2. marcus

    Polish is rated 25 psi. If I remember from 2011 they were recommending roofs be shoveled at 20 psf. It was about 30 ok niches of heavy snow. That is for collapse reasons. We remove snow often for ice dams. I am a big Dan of snow country and other high quality water and ice barriers. Metal roofs are great as well.


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