With the heavy snow hitting most of America, millions of buildings are at risk of a possible catastrophe.
Snow can add severe stress to a building’s roof and support system. One cubic foot of snow can add 20 lbs or more to a roof’s weight limit. Most people don’t realize the risk until the danger hits home.
Locally we have seen many business and homes have snow destroy their property. In one neighborhood four roofs were destroyed. Our local Les Swab service center had their roof collapse during business hours causing massive damage. Senior citizens devastated by having their carports roof collapse on their vehicles, and even needing EMS to rescue them from a trapped vehicle.
In all situations, the roofs have seen snow come and go with no issues, but this year is an exception with the heavy snowfall. What could have been done to prevent an unnecessary disaster, even though it was safe in the past? Prior to a collapse, there are warning signs that can be addressed before the snow falls.
Cracked or deformed steel or aluminum beams can be a roofs weakest link. In one case the homeowner had a beam that was
bent from long ago, but failed when the weight and snow piled up. Once one beam fails, it is a domino effect bringing the whole roof down. Trapping you in your car or causing serious, even fatal, injury.
Preventive maintenance is your best bet to get through the winter. Keep the gutters clear of debris and make sure your
downspouts are properly working and make sure the attic is properly ventilated at the eaves. It helps keep ice from damming up and allows snow to melt off.
Inspect the roof and look for areas that are visually deformed such as a sagging roof. Look for bends or ripples to metal beams and posts, these should be replaced or at least reinforced until a repair can be made. If you get the repairs done before the winter hits, it will save you in the long run and ensure a piece of mind. If you are already caught in the middle of the storm then keeping a watchful eye on these areas and snow removal is your best bet. If doing snow removal yourself, remove the unbalanced snow first, then in a even strip, pull the snow down to the gutter. Using ice melt or heat on the downspouts will help with any blockage that might occur. Always use extreme caution and consider hiring a contractor or snow removal service if you are not equipped to do the job safely.