NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WZMQ) – Each winter, homeowners have to worry about multiple different ways they have to remove snow, but one that may get overlooked is the snow on their roofs. In particularly heavy winters, homeowners need to keep an eye on not only the amount of snow that is accumulating on their roofs, but the type of snow as well.
Local roofing business owner, Gary Starrett told us, “The most dangerous snow is the heavy wet snow, that’s been allowed to compact and especially if we have had a lot of fog and light rain, all that moisture goes right into the snow weight.”
Freshly fallen snow might not add a lot of stress to a roof, but wet snow can weight 12 times that of fresh snow. Roofs are generally engineered to withstand is up to 20lbs per square inch, and the consistency of the snow, along with ice build-up can, add even more stress to a roof.
From all his years of working with ice build up, Starrett told us, “One inch of ice equals a foot of snow. you get a foot of ice buildup you have the equivalent of 12 feet of snow.”
With no guarantee of what the weather will bring, Starett says regularly removing snow from roofs helps reduce the added weight, and a good rule of thumb is to not let the snow build up over 2 feet.
Starrett shared from his experience, “Most roofs up here can handle the snow loads and don’t worry until your door starts sticking or you start to see some drywall pops and all that, but if you are to that point, you already have a big problem.”
While most roofs won’t cave in, bearing more weight than intended can cause severe damage and become very expensive to fix. To minimize the chances of problems related to snow building up, homeowners can with extreme caution remove the buildup themselves or higher a licensed professional.