Heavy snow accumulations on the rooftop can be a significant safety hazard for homeowners and business owners. In addition, falling ice chunks, packs of snow, and runoff from melted snow can affect the structural integrity of the building below, leading to other potentially inconvenient conditions such as roof leaks or flooding. To help you deal with this seasonal hazard, here are some tips and answers to frequently asked questions about this issue.
Dealing With Winter Weather In Massachusetts
According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Massachusetts gets approximately two feet of snow on average during the winter months. However, the state’s highest recorded snow total occurred in 2003 at 97 inches.
When heavy snowfall or winter weather events occur, it can cause significant problems or structural damage if not correctly removed from a rooftop or commercial flat surface.
Does The Type Of Snow Make A Difference?
If you’ve experienced winter in Massachusetts, you know there are different types of snow. Wet snow is heavy, whereas dry snow is lighter and less likely to weigh down a roof. In addition, dry snow tends to pack into more air mass, making it easier to remove from the roof.
Packed snow is often a result of snow buildup from fresh snow, heavy snow, multiple weather events, or temperature fluctuations between freezing and thawing.
The type of roofing system your structure has will also come into play. For instance, metal roofing systems tend to shed snow better than asphalt shingle roofs because they don’t absorb water as asphalt does. However, even though metal roofing handles snow well, it still needs to be removed periodically.
When Accumulations Become A Problem
The most severe conditions occur when the volume of snow on your roof begins to exceed the weight it can bear. While this varies depending on the type of roofing material, in most cases, a snow-covered roof should not exceed more than 20-30% of the total load-bearing capacity.
If you are unsure whether rooftop snow removal is required, a few telltale signs indicate dangerous conditions.
Large Icicles – If icicles form on your eaves or gutter system, this could be a sign that snowmelt and runoff are pooling on your roof. It’s crucial to remove these icicles from the roof edge and gutter system to remove the extra weight and reduce the risk of falling on the ground below.
Sagging Roofs – Sagging roofs are a sign of a compromised structure. When additional weight from falling snow further stresses the building. This added weight can lead to premature deterioration of the roof itself.
Ice Buildup – Falling ice chunks can pose a danger to anyone walking under them. In addition, falling ice can potentially cause costly property damage.
Inches Of Snow On Top – If you notice an inch or two of snow on top of your roof, this is usually not enough to warrant removing it. However, if you see more than 3-4 inches, it’s time to call in professional assistance.
According to reports, snowfall causes 1 billion dollars worth of damage to roofing every year. For this reason, it’s essential to take precautions before the first flake falls.
Structures with flat roofing are especially at risk, as the weight of the snow can cause the surface to collapse. If there’s any doubt about the structural integrity of your roof following a heavy snowfall, it’s a brilliant idea to contact a professional roofing contractor for an inspection or evaluation.
Buildings and homes with sloped roofs may also experience issues with snow buildup. Slope roofs tend to shed snow off their peak and into the valleys instead of allowing it to slide off the roof. As a result, it could create an avalanche of snow falling to the ground in some circumstances.
How Can I Prevent Roof Snow Damage?
Massachusetts homeowners can take steps before winter weather arrives to help prevent winter damage from snow. Ensuring that your gutter system is functioning correctly and draining runoff water away from your home is one way to keep thawing snow from causing injuries.
Another critical step is to ensure that a qualified roofer has inspected your roof before the onset of winter. Roof inspections allow the roofer to identify potential problems early to get addressed before they become costly issues. For example, minor problems like loose shingles or flashing can lead to leaks as accumulating snow melts.
Most importantly, make sure that your roof is well insulated. Insulation helps keep heat inside your home, preventing ice buildup and melting. It also keeps warm air trapped inside your attic, preventing cold air from entering your house.
By taking these precautionary steps ahead of time, you can worry less about the threats of snow loads harming your roof during the winter months.
The Benefits Of Professional Rooftop Snow Removal
As you might imagine, removing snow from your roof can be pretty hazardous. The weight of the snow itself can easily crush a person, and standing on top of a slippery roof is never safe. In addition, if the snow falls onto power lines, it could cause power outages.
Professional snow removal services from Flynn Roofing offer several benefits to Massachusetts residents:
- They use specialized equipment to remove snow safely without damaging your roof.
- Roofing professionals work quickly and efficiently, minimizing disruption to your daily life.
- Professional services are more cost-effective and safer than doing it yourself.
There’s no need to invest in snow rakes, or get up on ladders or put yourself at risk when you can hire a professional company like Flynn Roofing to assist. Call our office to schedule a free consultation or get a free estimate on our professional roofing services in Newton, Wellesley, Dover, Hingham, Norwell, Needham, Cohasset, and Scituate today.