Now it’s December once again, and with that comes snow. Dreaded by many homeowners, snow can stack very well and add a lot of weight on any roof, no matter how well constructed. It’s always a good idea to check for signs of a weak spot in the construction once snow has fallen.
Even though most homes should be designed (if they’re up to code) to withstand the pressure and weight of the accumulating frozen water, it can be a very reassuring thing to clean ones roof with snow rakes or other tools. And even if you’re confident that your roof can handle the weight, there’s always the risk of a small avalanche hitting your children or passers by.
While a flat roof is less likely to be the cause of a roof avalanche, the construction makes it even less ideal for supporting the snow, and weeks of downpour can add hundreds of pounds if not thousands to the load. If you’re considering climbing up on the roof, please be careful as your own weight also factors into the uneven weight distribution, and not in a good way.
For roofs with skylights, many manufacturers require you to rake heavy snow on the roof, in order for their guarantees to remain intact. Raking the roof for snow is often required in order for the skylights to keep tight and sealed, and not cave in under the added pressure. This can cause permanent leaks that will be easily visible every time it rains and not just snows.
Another common issue with snow is the icicles that form on the edges of the roof. A rake or shovel can easily take care of these, but it does require a daily effort as they tend to form quickly and in great numbers. The impact force and the design of the icicles make for a deadly combination when hitting humans or animals, and so are a constant issue to take care of.
The first few days of snow, all the weaker buildings on the lot, such as terraces, carports, sheds and old barns, should be monitored daily and checked for any signs of weakening as well, and many times clearing the snow off the roofs and surfaces with a snow rake can be a worthwhile investment, as these types of constructions rarely are made to last in snowy conditions.
Any form of bending on load bearing objects is a critical sign that there’s too much weight applied and not enough force to keep the weight stable. If you ever spot a load bearing construction object that’s bending then you should contact specialists to evaluate the situation. Don’t trust your neighbor or son-in-law, leave it to professionals as your home and possibly life could be at risk.