Is It Possible For Snowfall To Cause Your Roof To Collapse?

After weathering a long winter storm, it's natural to wonder if your home's roof is strong enough to withstand the weight of the snow. Knowing when your home is in danger of collapse and what you can do to protect your property is important.

Is it possible for snowfall to cause your roof to collapse?

Under ordinary conditions, normal snowfall should not present a danger to the roof on your home. However, there are some circumstances could result in a roof collapse.

  1. If the snow is wet (and there's an unusually large amount of it). Wet snow is more dangerous than wispy, dry snow, because wet snow is relatively compact and dense. The more snow there is, the more pressure will be put on your roof.
  2. If your roof is flat. Roofs that are flat or that have a shallow pitch are less able to shed precipitation, resulting in a lot of extra weight.
  3. If your roof is structurally compromised. Roofs that have been damaged, either by pests, fire or water, are more likely to collapse under the weight of a heavy snow.

How can you tell if your home's roof is in danger of collapsing?

If your roof is in danger of collapsing, you'll notice certain warning signs, including:

  • Noises from the attic. You'll hear popping, groaning or creaking noises coming from your attic.
  • Doors jamming shut or popping open. As your home settles under the weight of the snow, your doorways will start to warp and change shape, resulting in doors that jam.
  • Roof leaks. The weight of the snow can cause the roof's sheathing to become splintered, resulting in spontaneous roof leaks.
  • Sag in the roof. You probably won't be able to see a sag from the outside, but if you stand in the attic, you may notice the plywood underside of the roof begin to sag, ripple or crack.
  • Cracks in the walls. Your home's interior walls may begin to buckle or crack under the pressure of the roof.

How can you safely clear snow from your roof?

If you're noticing warning signs that your home is in danger of collapsing, evacuate your home and call a professional roofing contractor.

If your home is not yet displaying symptoms of imminent roof collapse, you can attempt to clear the snow yourself. Stand on the ground and use a long-handled snow rake to pull the snow from your roof. Do not get on your roof to remove the snow. If a snow rake won't reach your roof, then contact a roofing contractor (like Economy Roofing). He or she can safely remove the snow from your roof.