Snow & ice loads on roofs

Heavy loads of snow and ice, like we’ve seen late this season, can do a damage many kinds of buildings.

They can be trouble for the roof of your home or garage.

Dan Perkins Construction of Ishpeming was removing a huge amount of snow and ice from a downtown Ishpeming building today.

In terms of how much a roof can handle, there are no hard guidelines.

The amount varies, but the main factor is age.

Dan Perkins says snow load requirements within building codes have been raised dramatically over the years, especially within the last ten years or so.

The type of material the roof is made out of usually does not affect the snow load.

A small amount of snow on the roof is actually beneficial, because it serves as extra insulation.

Perkins says his rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t go up on your roof yourself to clear off snow and ice unless it’s absolutely necessary, and he defines ‘absolutely necessary’ as when a roof is showing signs of water infiltration.

That’s what happened this afternoon with the roof his business was clearing.

It was perfectly stable and could handle the weight of the snow, but ice accumulation led to some leaking.