A Snow’s Impact on Roofs

In the early months of 2020, Northern Michigan received a vicious snow/ice storm that caused many homes and facilities to experience leaking and even collapsing roofs. That being said, removing snow off the roof is an extremely important part of the winter months, and we’re here to help. We have compiled a list of helpful tips to help you navigate the tricky measurements to ensure your safety this winter!

 

Calculations

The code across over 50% of Northern Michigan regarding snow load allows up to 70lbs per square foot although areas near Houghton, MI require 80, 90, and even 100lbs per square foot.

No two snowflakes are alike with some having a higher water content than others, and that is a major determinant of how much snow weighs per square foot. Calculations show that 1 inch of snow weighs:

 

Light snow:                 .26lbs per square foot

Average snow:            1lb per square foot

Wet snow:                   1.66lbs per square foot

Therefore, roofs in Michigan can handle approximately 5’10” of average snow or 3’6” of wet snow.

 

Commercial Buildings

Compared to residential homes, most commercial buildings have low to zero slopes and are much more susceptible to snow accumulation. As a rule of thumb, there should not be an excess of 18” of snow on a commercial roof, and removal should be done by professionals. The load imbalances are a risk factor for that type of project, and we are happy to assist!

Call us at 989.575.0190 for more information.