The roof of your home or business is there to protect you and other occupants form the outside elements. But your building’s roof isn’t perfect. It can’t withstand everything that’s thrown at it – including an excessive accumulation of snow. Excessive roof snow load can cause your home or office to collapse. This is why it’s so important to keep track of the measurement of roof snow load for your building.
How Can Snow Load Damage Your Building?
Accumulated snow adds downward force to a building’s roof. Snow load is the weight of accumulates snow or ice. If the snow load exceeds the weight the building was designed to hold, the roof or entire structure can fail.
Calculating the Weight of Snow on Your Roof
The University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service provides a formula to come up with a ballpark estimate of roof snow load:
Calculated Roof Loading (lb/ft2) = Depth (ft) x Density (lb/ft2 /ft depth). The density for light snow is 5-20 for light snow, 20-40 for packed snow, 40-58 for packed snow with ice, and 58 for ice.
You can also use an online calculator to calculate snow load. To do this. you’ll need the following values to enter into the calculator:
- Length and width of your roof: You can find this value by measuring the length and width of your roof.
- Roof pitch: This is the steepness of your roof.
- Snow cover thickness: You can find this value by estimating how many inches of snow are on your roof.
- Snow type: This includes the density of the snow, which depends on whether it’s wet, fresh, packed with wind or is mixed with ice.
Unless you live in an area that’s free of snow, it’s important to prepare for extreme and snowy weather so that you protect your building’s roof and ultimately, your property.