I laid awake for a while last night listening to every creak and groan my house made — and there were a lot of them — wondering if the roof was going to cave in at any second. Our house is still standing today, but with more snow and rain in the forecast for this weekend, I wonder just how worried I should be.
While most of the roof collapses we’ve all heard about on the news have been commercial buildings with big, flat roofs, local roofing companies say they’ve been inundated with calls from residents who are panicked about their roofs.
Fire Chief John Mauro Jr. said there have been no reported problems with roofs in Southborough aside from the ones at Trottier.
Framinghan Building Inspector Mike Foley said in a memo earlier this week that the amount of snow a residential roof can handle depends on a number of factors including not only the weight of the snow, but also the type of roof. “A flat roof, gable roof, shed roof gambrels, and roofs with multiple valleys and snow gathering points will vary the weight differential factors as will the number and type of roof coverings,” he wrote.
By code, residential roofs are built to withstand snow loads of between 25 and 50 pounds per horizontal square foot.
What’s important is not the depth of the snow on your roof, but how wet it is. Foley said the water content of snow can vary from 3 percent for very dry snow to 33 percent for wet snow, to nearly 100% for ice.
If you do decide it’s time to clear off your roof, Southborough Emergency Management Director of Operations Neal Aspesi says never do it alone, and take extreme safety precautions to prevent from falling. “The use of a professional is highly recommended,” he said.
So, how worried are you about the snow on your roof? What have you done about it? Have you tried to remove any of it, or are you just sitting back and hoping for the best? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Update 6:15pm: Fire Chief Mauro passed along this public safety advisory on potential roof collapse published by MEMA. Among other information, it gives some advice to homeowners on how to safely remove snow from your roof.