Brookline Roofing: Article About Snow Load

Capital Construction: Quality Roofers Brookline MA
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When a big winter storm or a series of storms hit, homeowners worry about damage to their property. Concerns about water pipes bursting, dangerous roof icicles forming and potential power outages often pale in comparison to the worry about whether the roof will collapse under the weight of accumulating snow.

The good news is that most modern homes are built to withstand fairly heavy snow loads. The bad news is that older homes, homes with compromised or aging roofs and homes with flat or low slope roofs are much more vulnerable.

Homeowners should talk to their trusted Brookline roofing expert to determine just what their home's roof can handle. Since the condition of the roof can affect its ability to withstand water, snow and ice, it's a good idea to do this before winter storms start sweeping through the area.

The general rule of thumb is that most roofs can tolerate up to 4 feet of light snow or 2 feet of wet, dense snow. That's equivalent to about 40 pounds per square foot. Statewide building codes vary but usually mandate that residential roofs be built to withstand from 35 to 50 pounds of weight per square foot. Keep in mind that ice weighs about 57 pounds per square foot, so built up ice mounds should be eliminated immediately.

A roofing expert from Capital Construction of Brookline MA would be happy to answer any question you have about masonry or siding.

Formulas for determining snow weight on a specific home are widely available online, and homeowners should use them frequently throughout storm season. There are other considerations to determine the snow safety of a roof.

Wind conditions can make snow accumulate more on one side of a roof than another, so homeowners should examine all sides of a roof for an accurate snow load assessment. Roof features, such as dormers and chimneys, can force snow to build up in certain spots. Unless the roof is equipped with snow guards or cleats, snow may slide to various areas of the roof, causing a dangerous imbalance.

The way a home is constructed matters, too. Roof valleys are prime areas for densely accumulating snow, and flat areas of a roof, like on a portico, are of particular concern.

While homeowners should watch their roofs for accumulating snow, hazards are involved with removing snow as a do it yourselfer. Falling ice chunks, low hanging utility lines, slippery walkways and extremely cold temperatures are dangerous to homeowners determined to clear their roofs themselves. The safest solution is simply to call in a roof professional to clear snow off the roof.

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