How to Prevent Your Roof from Collapsing Due to a Snowstorm

Winter Storm Jonas left the northeast covered in over two feet of snow. As a result of the excessive snow and ice, many homes and buildings have experienced severe structural damages, and some have even collapsed. Most notably, the Washington Redskin’s practice facility, known as the “bubble”, was left exposed to the elements after the protective cover collapsed. Similarly, a Trader Joes in Westfield, NJ, an apartment building in Manassas, VA, and a Philadelphia-area church all experienced roof collapses as a result of the historic snowstorm. The latter experienced roof damage after an estimated five feet of snow had accumulated on the roof, leading to a 60-foot-wide hole.

With the numerous reports of roof collapses and other structural damage, homeowners are seeking advice on protecting their homes from similar damage. Read on for some important tips for preventing your roof from collapsing due to a snowstorm.

Warning Signs

TAMKO Building Products notes there are several warning signs that could indicate a roof will collapse. If your home exhibits any of the following signs, evacuate the premises immediately. Signs to look out for include:

• Sagging ceiling 
• Leaking water
• Popping, cracking or creaking sounds
• New cracks on the ceiling drywall or plaster
• Doors and/or windows that are difficult to open or close 
• Cracks in the walls or masonry

Avoiding Roof Collapse

The buildup of snow and ice on your roof creates excess weight for the roof to sustain. If the roof is unable to handle the extra weight, it will collapse. It’s important to remove packed snow from your roof following a storm. 
Use a roof rake to clear the roof of snow. With a roof rake, you can safely clear your roof from the ground, without the need for a ladder. For your safety, do not use a ladder or climb up on your roof. If you are unable to clear your roof, contact a professional snow-removal company to assist you. A professional will remove snow from every inch of your roof, from the cover overhangs to the covered porch.

Along with clearing the roof, you should maintain clean downspouts and rain gutters. If not cleaned, branches and debris can build up in the gutters and prevent water from properly draining off the roof — which can contribute to the formation of ice dams.

With these tips, you can prevent your roof from collapsing due to a snowstorm. To further protect your roof, have it professionally inspected and routinely maintained.