04:08AM | 02/14/07
Member Since: 02/13/07
1 lifetime posts
I am new to upstate NY (Watertown) formerly from New York City and I was wondering if anyone can tell me how much snow is too much for a roof? I have a "stick built" ranch house and so far the wind has not allowed more than about 4 inches or so to accumulate on the roof. I would apprieciate any input. Thanks, Peg


10:39AM | 02/15/07
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Hi Peg, welcome!

Here (in CO) our counties (or at least some of them) specify the snow loads that the roof needs to be engineered for. It is given in the form of a figure, pounds per square foot. For example, for a certain area & altitude, it might be 74 PSF.

This info might be available through your county's (or city's?) web site--if you were to look up your property's tax records and other information, for example.

If it's only 4" I don't think I'd worry too much. If you're in that area that is getting heavily dumped(!), .... hmmm, snow is a big issue. Then again, WIND is also a surprisingly effective force on structures.

As far as calculating loads, that gets tricky and is in the province of a structural engineer....or perhaps a competent roof designer or architect.

I got to thinking a few years ago during a very large blizzard here (5 feet): some structures collapsed or damaged. Really, surprisingly few though. And I got to thinking about that old tale "the straw that broke the camel's back". And how, in some instances, it just took "ONE MORE SNOWFLAKE!" It is pretty amazing.

Also, don't forget that moisture content in snow can vary (# of inches to make a certain pounds per square foot)

While you're at it, be on the lookout for ICE DAMS. These can be damaging. I have to deal with one of those myself. Icicles are NOT a good sign.

Good luck!


-k2 in CO

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