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Rossland Roofs

For all the engineer-types out there in our snow globe; how do you measure the snow load on roofs and should we all be hiring shovellers asap or go for a ski instead?

1.- Take a 1' x 1' x 1' sample of undisturbed snow from near your roof and weigh it. It will be adecuate for an approximation, and safer than going up there.

2.- Measure the vertical height of roof snow in feet - at your own risk. Better to approximate by using a visual cue such as a nearby brick chimney, etc.

3.- Multiply the weight of the snow by the height. This will give you the snow load in pounds per square foot.

4.- As a rule of thumb (derived from the building code) for your average modern house you can use 160 lbs. per square foot as a worst-case scenario. For old construction ???

5.- If you want to find the total snow load on your roof: Measure the footprint of your roof. Not the actual roof surface but the plan view surface ("birds view") A  good approximation is to measure your house perimeter walls and add 1' at each corner if it is an old house, to take the overhang into account - add 2' for newer houses. Figure out the square footage by using those measurements. Multiple the square footage by the amount of pounds per square foot you found in step 3. This will give you the approximate total snow load affecting your house (read walls, footings, and possibly ceilings in poorly built/renovated houses). You need to be aware of measuring your walls if there is a possibility of the snow sliding. Safer bet, and still a good-enough approximation, is to measure from within your house taking into account the thickness of the walls that you encounter as you measure. Typically these walls are between 4.5" and 6.5" for interior walls, and 5" to 10" approximately for exterior walls.

All of the above really means nothing. Better to look for new cracks in the drywall, windows/doors that may not be opening correcly at this time, noticeable buckling of ceilings and/or walls, new cracks in the foundation walls and/or slab, etc....

In the end, if you are worried, you should just hire somebody who is insured to clear it. It is, literally, the roof over your head.

Hope this helps, cheers.

awesome and thanks