Remove Snow from Your Roof This Winter
With the threat of heavy snowfall in Connecticut during the winter comes the risk of damage to your home’s roof. Snow can be very heavy and can put severe stress on a roof. Not removing snow from a roof during the winter is one of the leading causes of roof problems, which can range from leaks to total collapse.
The amount of snow that a roof can support depends on many factors. The depth and density of the snow are important considerations. The weight of snow can vary, and snow that is denser can put more stress on a roof than lighter snow of the same depth or more.
The depth and spacing of the rafters are major factors, as is the pitch of the roof. A flat or slightly pitched roof will not allow snow to slide off as well as a steeper roof. If the roof is in a sheltered area where it is not exposed to strong winds, it will be less likely to accumulate deep snow drifts. Shallow roofs that are adjacent to or below taller and steeper roofs, such as porches, carports, and additions, are more vulnerable. Removing collar ties can also put a roof at risk.
There are several signs that your roof has been weakened and needs to be braced to withstand the weight of snow. Have your roof inspected for damage caused by previous heavy snowfalls, fire, termites, or rot. Bent rafters, cracking, and popping noises are cause for concern. If the house’s frame has moved so that a door becomes jammed or opens on its own, talk to a structural engineer about strengthening the roof assembly.
If a large amount of snow falls, it is important to clear the majority of it off your roof as soon as possible. You can rake the snow off the roof yourself or hire a professional for the job. This will reduce the weight on the roof and will also help you prevent ice dams, which are caused when snow melts and the water then freezes in the gutters.
Do not climb on the roof because you could slip and fall, or your weight could put more stress on the roof and cause it to collapse. If you are not confident in your ability to rake the snow off your roof, or if you are concerned that your roof may have become weakened from the weight of snow, consult a professional roofing contractor.
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