How much snow and ice can your roof withstand?

How much snow and ice can your roof withstand?

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…but not too much, please! While the first snow of the year is always exciting, it is important to be sure your home is set up to handle it. Your roof can only withstand so much winter wonderland before its structural integrity starts to weaken, which can lead it to collapse. But how much is too much? Before you can answer “how much” you have to answer the three “whats”:


1. What kind of snow is it?

Just like how a great dane weighs more than a beagle, different kinds of snow will carry different weight. Wet snow can be more than three times heavier than fluffy snow. Typically, a cubic foot of fluffy snow weighs about three pounds which would make the same amount of wet snow weigh closer to 20 pounds!


2. What is your roof’s design?

When you designed your home, you probably didn’t pick your roof’s shape based on its ability to handle snow and ice, but the shape of your roof makes a difference. Generally speaking, steep and smooth roofs shed snow more easily than flat or only slightly pitched roofs.


3. What is your roof made out of?

The durability of your roof is largely dependent on what material your roof is made of. Choosing a strong durable set of shingles, like asphalt or slate, will help arm your roof against winter elements. Both asphalt and slate are made to support the weight of snow, but asphalt shingles tend to be the more affordable option for homeowners.


So now that you’ve answered those questions, how much snow and ice can your roof support before you need to be concerned? The general rule of thumb is that roofs can withstand 20 pounds per square foot of snow. Of course, not all roofs are created equal and what your home can handle will differ from what the house next door can.

This is why it’s in homeowners’ best interest to have a professional roofing company out for an inspection to learn how much weight your roof is really able to handle this snowy season. If you’re in need of a roof inspection before the snowflake arrives on your front porch, contact a certified specialist at Hoosier Contractors today!