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Tips for Snow Load Safety

If you live somewhere with bitter winters or even the occasional snowstorm, you need to know a few things about snow load on your roof. You can’t assume that just because your home or place of business was built there, it is automatically able to handle local snow conditions. Here are some things to consider when winter stirs up a snowdrop near you.

Roof Material

The harder the roof material, the better it will stand up to snow. Metal and stone roofing can handle more weight than materials like wood shingles or asphalt. Additionally, buildings with these hard roof materials are built to sturdier specifications to handle the weight of the stronger roof. Metal can handle the highest measurement of roof snow load.

Roof Shape

Flat-roofed buildings suffer the most from snow load, as they can bow and break in the middle if snow piles too high. For the greatest defense against snow, a pitched roof is the best option. It allows snow to slide off and makes it easier for you or employees to shovel snow off the roof when it accumulates too heavily.

Ice Dams

Snow load isn’t just the heap of white stuff. Ice dams form when snow melts and starts moving down the gutters and freezes as it reaches the colder edges of the roof. This means that the rest of the water that makes it down toward the edges ends up pooling and standing. With nonmetal roofs, this can cause serious weakening that may require repair sooner or later. Even worse, you can’t just crack away at ice dams to get rid of them because they can take some roofing material with them or cause shattering of the material.

There’s quite a lot to keep in mind if you’re concerned about snow buildup on the roof of your home or other building, so consult an expert service to learn best practices.