How much snow can your roof hold before it compromises the structure? Roof snow removal is an annoying process, but it is often necessary to preserve your roof and prevent costly damage.
At Elite Remodeling Services, our licensed and insured roofers provide roof repair and replacement services in the Minneapolis metro area and the surrounding cities, including Farmington, Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, and Lakeville. Our team has an A+ rating with the BBB And can safely remove the snow from your roof. If you think you may need a roof snow removal, call Elite Remodeling Services at (952) 646-2480 for a free roof inspection and estimate.
How Much Snow Can a Roof Hold?
Feet of wet snow can be too heavy for your roof to handle. Heavy snow can cause ice dams, leaks, collapse risks, and more.
In general, roofs can hold a maximum of 60 pounds per square foot of snow, though some older roofs have lower thresholds of around 25 to 40 pounds. Modern roofs may be able to hold up to 75 pounds.
To put these numbers into perspective, 20 inches of snow with a 0.5-inch layer of ice, on average, weighs around 27.1 pounds per square foot. Following this math, once you reach 40 inches of snow, just over three feet, you may approach the 60-pound danger zone, requiring roof snow removal.
Factors That Affect How Much Snow Your Roof Can Hold
Numerous factors affect how much snow your roof can actually hold, including the following:
Your Roof’s Slope and Material
Sloped roofs have gravity on their side. If all of the surfaces on your roof have steep, sloping angles, the snow may naturally slide off as it melts. Flat and shallow roofs, on the other hand, face much higher risks of roof collapses.
Your roof’s material can also affect how much snow it can hold. Metal offers premier water resistance, while other roof types can absorb moisture or crack from the weight.
The Snow’s Density and Drifts
Ice is heavier than snow, and wet snow is heavier than powdery snow. You cannot gauge when you need snow removal just by looking at the amount of snow on your roof. A couple of feet of wet, icy snow could be much more damaging to your roof than four feet of fresh powder.
Your Roof’s Age and Density
New, modern roofs typically can withstand more snow, while older systems are more susceptible to failing. If you have a 20-year-old roof that already has damaged shingles, drainage problems, and ice dams, the system likely cannot handle much snow before more issues arise.
How To Check If You Need Roof Snow Removal
Because so many factors affect your roof’s ability to hold snow, how can you check when you need to remove it? You have three options:
- Weigh the snow: Remove a one-square-foot section of snow and ice from an easily accessible portion of your roof and weigh it to gauge what you’re dealing with.
- Check for damage: Check the attic or second-story rooms of your home for stained walls or other signs of leaks. If you notice a problem, call a professional roofer immediately.
- Schedule an inspection: Rather than waiting for damage to occur, your best bet is to call a professional roofer for an inspection. Your local roofer can check the system, then remove the snow if necessary.
Can I Remove the Snow Myself?
No, you should not remove snow yourself, as climbing onto your already fragile roofing system is dangerous and requires expert roofing knowledge. For example, you must understand whether or not to use a roof rake or shovel. Your local roofing professionals have the tools and expertise to remove snow safely.
Schedule Professional Snow Removal
When you need professional roof snow removal, contact Elite Remodeling Services in Minneapolis. As a licensed general contractor, we have years of expertise in repairing and replacing snow-damaged roofs. Call (952) 646-2480 to schedule a free inspection and estimate.