Thursday, January 16th, 2014 by Office
Residents of Prince Edward Island have been on a snow removal spree since the collapse of a number of roofs in their area due to heavy snowfall. As the polar vortex has already moved up, the majority of Canada, if not all of it, are finally taking the full brunt of the snow of the century. Reports say more than a meter of snow fell onto the province in December.
In this scenario, homeowners can be left with two choices. They can continue shoving snow off the roof every winter or reinforce the roof to handle more snow.
There’s no telling how much snow will future winters dump across the northern half of North America. Experts advise against shoving snow unless certain instances like recommendations from engineers and inspectors warrant it. Over the course of dozens of winters, many people have suffered injuries due to the daunting task.
Increasing the snow load of the roof won’t eliminate the risk of a collapse. However, it may hold more snow long enough to let it slide off by itself. Fortunately, a Washington, DC roofer from companies like Maggio Roofing can perform roofing upgrades (mostly structural) to increase the amount of ice and snow it can handle.
Let's say a roof in D.C. is built with a snow load of 25 lbs per square foot. What can roofing do to help hold its own better when another heavy blizzard comes? Some solutions are surprisingly basic.
While it doesn’t necessarily mean shallow-pitched roofs won’t shed snow, steep-pitched roofs are more effective. According to the Federal Emergency Management Administration, a roof pitch that exceeds the angle of repose, which is 30 degrees, has a greater chance of the snow shedding passively. In pitch terms, 30 degrees is at least 6:12.
Poor insulation promotes the formation of ice dams, which prevent more snow from shedding. This holds true for old buildings, as insulation standards back in the day were all but non-existent. Keeping the heat within the house maintains the temperature of the roof surface to outside conditions, preventing melting and refreezing on the snow’s part.
With majority of homes having wood for trusses, it’s imperative that the first two suggestions are taken seriously; wood trusses are among the most prone to structural failure as a result of snow loads. It’s also imperative not to add any additional weight like clay and slate tiles in heavy snow areas. Lightweight materials like metal roofing are resilient enough to handle snow loads.
Ask professional Washington, DC roofers for more tips on how to improve a roof’s endurance in heavy snow. Do what needs to be done before the next snowstorm.
(Article image and excerpt from “Snow causes collapse of several P.E.I. roofs,” CBC News, December 30, 2013)