Winter has arrived, whether we like it or not, which means you need to be prepared to protect your home and roof from possible snow and ice damage. Snow and ice buildup can be extremely dangerous to your roof and without taking the proper steps to alleviate the weight on your roof system, it could suffer from serious damage.
Most residential roofs—if they’re not damaged or decayed—can support 20 pounds of snow per square foot before becoming stressed and commercial roofs can support up to 40 pounds of snow per square foot. 10 to 12 inches of fresh snow is about 5 pounds per square foot of roof space, but 3 to 5 inches of packed snow or one inch of ice also adds up to 5 pounds per square foot. Additionally, 2 feet of old snow and 2 feet of new snow could weigh as much as 60 pounds per square foot of roof space—way beyond the capacity of a typical residential or commercial roof.
You should always be concerned and aware of snow and ice on your roof. Ice buildup can be caused by snowmelt, which is triggered by the heat from inside of your home. The snowmelt then drips down to the roof’s edge and refreezes, creating an ice dam that blocks additional snowmelt from moving, leaving it no place to go but under your roof.
Interior warning signs of excessive ice and snow on the roof include water leaks showing up at exterior wall lines and other interior overhead locations. Exterior warning signs include gutters with excess ice and snow, buildup on the roof particularly in the valleys, along elevation changes, at eaves and around roof penetrations like chimneys and skylights.
The first step to prevent serious damage from snow and ice is to have your gutters and downspouts cleaned out. Additionally, proper insulation and ventilation in your home’s attic will help lower heat loss through the roof system and help to prevent ice dam formation.
Caring for your roof is not a DIY project. Climbing on the roof is very dangerous and should only be done by an experienced individual who uses proper safety techniques. The professionals at Westchester Roofs are skilled at snow removal and you should not hesitate to call as soon as there is evidence of snow and ice buildup. Waiting for one more snowfall or an anticipated thaw may be too late. Click here for a quote.