Factors That Affect a Roof’s Winter Weight Tolerance

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Part of owning a business is taking care of the physical space in which it operates. If you are located in a region that experiences extreme winters, snow on your roof can be a concern. The following factors can affect how well your roof tolerates snow.

Snow Frequency

Regions that endure back-to-back snowstorms are especially vulnerable to snow accumulation. Knowing when the weight of snow on a roof will reach a breaking point can be challenging. A roof maintenance service can employ a roof load calculator to monitor a roof’s weight tolerance. Predicting the maximum weight tolerance makes it possible to remove snow before it causes damage or collapse.

Roof Pitch

Flat roofs are not the best choice for businesses in regions that get frequent snowstorms. A roof’s pitch is a significant indicator of how much snow it can retain. Snow can slide off a roof with a steep slope. If a building has an irregularly shaped or flat roof, snow and ice can quickly accumulate and stress the roof’s internal structure.

Wind

Some regions have strong winter winds in addition to heavy snowfall. Wind can easily carry fresh snowflakes through the air until they come in contact with a roof where they settle. Several feet of dense, heavy snow can result from strong wind gusts.

Ice

If snowflakes turn to water and then freeze, ice will remain on a roof until it melts. If a new snowfall occurs before the ice melts, it will stay on the roof, adding to the weight of the snow that covers it.

Rain

The worst-case scenario for a roof in the winter happens when it rains following a snowstorm. Snow acts as a sponge that absorbs rain, creating a thick, heavy slush that can create too much weight for a roof to bear.

Materials

The material that composes your roof plays a role in how much weight it can sustain. Metal or slate will have a higher tolerance than wood, which might buckle or warp under heavy snow.

Connected Parts

Roofs consist of multiple parts, including decks, trusses or rafters that provide an interior framework and affect their ability to hold weight. As part of standard roof maintenance, it is prudent to inspect these parts regularly for rot, termites and other damage that can prevent them from providing support.

Whether your business’s building is old or new, frequent roof tolerance tests can minimize costly and irreversible roof damage.

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