With the constant threat of lots of snow during the winter, it is urge that people clear their roofs and decks to minimize the likelihood of any structural collapse. Doing so prevents major damage, as well as saves you money and stress. Here’s a breakdown of how you can detect and prevent a roof collapse.
Snow-capped houses can be very charming and picturesque at times but don’t let this fool you. Snow can weigh a lot and get extremely heavy and that weight increases even more when rain, ice or sleet falls. Two feet of snow on the average-sized roof can be the equivalent of 38,000 pounds, or 19 tons. All of this weight puts stress on your roof and weakens the structure. What’s even worse is that the melting of this mass can cause water seepage, which can cause the roof to start rotting, ruin gutters, flood attics, damage the inside of the house and destroy insulation. Be mindful of the dangers of clearing a snow filled roof before attempting to remove it yourself. You don’t want to just jump on the roof with a shovel in hand, this isn’t advised because your weight together with the buildup can trigger a roof collapse.
One of the most obvious signs that a roof is about to give way is sagging. If you hear creaking, cracking, popping sounds, exit the building as quickly as possible. These are all strong indicators of an imminent collapse. Severe roof leaks, bowed pipes attached at the ceilings, cracks in the walls or masonry, doors that pop open, as well as doors or windows that are difficult to open are also signs people should look for.
Once there’s a buildup of snow or ice dam formation, a roof rake is the best option that doesn’t cost you as much as using a professional. The rake has an extended handle, which enables you to pull snow off the roof from the safety of the ground. Start from the edge and work your way into the roof using downward strokes. Try to scrape the snow along the bottom of the roof, shaving two or three inches off. You don’t want to damage your roof shingles so there’s no need to scrape the roof too clean. Avoid using a ladder when removing snow, instead of a ladder, buy extension poles or a longer rake to reach higher portions of the roof.