Now that Connecticut has had its first major snowstorm of the season, most people’s roofs are covered with several inches of snow. This leads many people to wonder if their roof can handle the weight.
The design of a roof affects how much snow it can support. The ideal roof is smooth and steep so that snow can slide off it. If your rafters are placed close together, the roof will be able to support more snow weight than a roof with rafters farther apart.
A roof in a sheltered area is less likely to accumulate excessive amounts of snow because the wind will not create snow drifts. If your roof is exposed to the wind, you should check the roof to see if drifts have formed that could weaken the structure of the roof.
The roof may be weaker on some parts of your house than others. Roofs over porches, carports, and quickly built additions may not be able to handle as much snow as the roof on the main part of the house.
Some homeowners remove collar ties from the roof to get more space. These supports connect the rafters and counter the spreading effect created by snow loads. Without them, the roof can be weakened.
If your roof has been damaged by fire, termites, or rot, you should get it repaired as soon as possible. That damage can weaken your roof, and the weight of snow can cause it to collapse.
There are several tell-tale signs that snow weight is weakening your roof. If you see bending or hear cracking or popping sounds, call a roofing contractor right away. If the house’s frame has moved, it can cause a door to get jammed shut. Talk to a structural engineer about strengthening the roof assembly.
Even if your roof is in good condition, you should remove large snow drifts to prevent potential problems. Use a roof rake to pull snow down or hire a professional snow removal company.