What You Need to Know About Snow on Your Roof

What You Need to Know About Snow on Your Roof
  • Opening Intro -

    A fresh blast of wintry weather has hit your area and once again you're digging out walkways, your driveway and clearing snow away from your house.

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Keep your roof clear this winter.

Your pathways have now been cleared, but there is one area that may need your attention immediately: the roof of your home.

Snow Weight

Of concern for homeowners following several snow events is the build up of snow on top of the roof. Snow melts and refreezes, and with several feet of fresh pack on top, can stress your roof. That stress is even more evident on homes with a flat roof as it is with a home with a pitched roof. In any cases the following four contributors can lead to roof problems, even collapse if you leave the snow in place:

1. Heat loss. Your attic may be fairly well insulated, but heat can still escape up through your roof.

2. Snow melt. Escaping heat along with the winter sun can melt the snow on your roof, but not completely.

3. Water back up. With several feet of snow on your roof, the bottom layer of snow may melt and get trapped underneath a blanket of snow.

4. Ice dams form. When temperatures drop, melted snow water turns back to ice and can create dams on your roof, especially at its edge near the gutters. If damed, water will find its way of escape, perhaps seeping into your home and causing much damage.

Snow Removal

With extensive ice on the roof and tons of snow on top, any roof can find it difficult to withstand the excess weight. Tools such as a roof rake used from the ground and reaching to the roof can help. You can also use a ladder, by placing it securely on the ground, climbing up and shoveling and brushing the snow away. Leave an inch or two of snow on top to avoid damaging the shingles.

Never add your weight to the heavy weight of snow on your roof. Your roof can suddenly give in, causing you to fall off the roof or fall into your home, with serious consequences all the way around.

Outer Buildings

Don’t forget your unheated outside structures such as a detached garage, patio cover or shed — snow build up on these buildings can increase the risk of collapse much faster than on your home.

See AlsoHow to Clear Snow From Your Roof

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Categories: Roofing and Gutters

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".