Roof with snow on top

Winter and Your Roof

Except for the winter sport enthusiasts, winter is no one’s friend and that includes our roof and gutter systems.  Entering the season with knowledge helps a preparedness of mind and the inclination to look for little problems before they get to be HUGE problems.  Paying attention to these 5 tips below could save you much future grief.

Tip #1:  Inspect your roof and gutters for signs of ice dams or the formation of icicles. If not before, do so right after any wind or snow storms. Heavy snow and ice can rip gutters away from the home. Act now to save much expense in the spring to come.

Tip #2   Clogged gutters and down spouts can not move water and melted snow away from your home and this means damage. With a roof rake, be sure to remove snow build-up. If you have significant ice, then hammer chisel CAREFULLY and chip away. Then there is always the option to call the professionals. We’re always happy to serve.

Tip #3:   Unless your roof structure is damaged or rotted out, most residential roofs, no matter their locations, can usually support 20lbs per square foot of snow before they are stressed. The risky roofs are those flat or slightly pitched ones that cover our porches, carports and hastily built additions. These can be vulnerable when there is significant snow fall. So, a good rule of thumb is to apply some SAFE snow removal to such roofing structures after a significant snow of 5″ or more. SAFE means stay on the ground and use a snow rake with an appropriate extension. Another safe strategy is to call on a professional roofing contractor.

Tip #4:   Keeping in mind that most residential roof structures (unless damaged or decayed) can support up to 20lbs per square foot of snow before being stressed, be aware that according to the IBHS (Institute for Business and Home Safety) 1 inch of ice equals 1 FOOT of fresh snow.

Tip #5: Keep a look out for signs of an Overloaded roof:
* After a heavy snow, go into your attic. If you see your rafters are severely bent by weight or you hear cracking and popping, time to call a roofing professional.
* Or take notice of your house frame. If it moved enough to jam shut a door at the front or back of your home, it is time to consult a structural engineer. Your roof construction needs serious strengthening.

Knowing what to look for and then inspecting after every significant snow fall will help prevent little problems from growing into bigger ones.  So, enjoy the coming holiday and winter months ahead with confidence because, now, you’ve got this!