Cambridge Roofing: Article About Preventing Roof Collapse

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Although many houses in Cambridge are built to withstand the snowfall that Massachusetts typically receives, too much snow can damage a roof to the extent of causing it to collapse. This is especially a concern for older houses in which less sturdy materials and inferior techniques may have been used in construction. A Cambridge roofing professional is able to determine whether a particular home is susceptible to snow damage. Homeowners will not be able to on their own because complex factors must be analyzed.

When it comes to measuring snow load, experts pay attention to the weight rather than the depth of the snow. Wet snow is much heavier than dry snow, and ice is the heaviest. Therefore, a certain depth of dry snow may not cause damage to the roof, but that same depth of wet snow might. It boils down to the weight of the load.

In general, 1 foot of fresh snow weighs 3 PSF (pounds per square foot), whereas 1 foot of wet snow weighs 21 PSF. One foot of ice is over twice as heavy as wet snow weighing in at 57 PSF. Massachusetts building codes requires new homes to be constructed with a PSF of at least 35 PSF.

What should a homeowner do if an excessive snow or ice load is on their roofs? The safest option is to call a roofing contractor in Cambridge to remove the snow.

The roofing experts at Capital Construction of Cambridge can assist you with any questions regarding decks or siding.

Some homeowners attempt to shovel the snow off themselves, but that's dangerous and not the proper way to clear the roof. A roof rake should be used to carefully pull the snow off the roof.

However, every year homeowners still suffer injuries from raking snow off their roofs or accidentally damage the roof with the rake. While raking snow off the roof, blocks of ice can suddenly fall off. Another hazard is accidentally interfering with utility lines. For these reasons, it's recommended to leave this task to a roofing contractor.

Regardless of how old the house is, homeowners should know how much weight in PSF the roof can hold to prevent damage or total roof collapse. When the snow or ice exceeds that weight or reaches 18 inches and higher, the homeowner should have the snow raked off the roof. Preferably, a roofing professional should remove the snow because blocks of ice can fly off the roof injuring the homeowner. Roofing contractors are experienced and have the proper safety equipment.

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