Snow load can be a serious issue causing structural damage, shingle damage, and foundation degradation. At what point do you have to consider a roof inspection for potential leaking and structural damage to your home? Above is a picture of my cousins home in Truckee CA, his home is in a high snow load zone and is built for 450 psf* He is reaching his threshold and may need to start removing snow to mitigate any potential damage. In Denver the minimum snow load is 35 psf* so it is important to know what your home can take in the event of abnormally heavy snowfall.

Snow Types:

Snow falls in many different forms with each region producing a wide range of snow types depending on season, humidity, altitude and geographic location. One cubic ft of snow in Vermont may not weigh the same as one cubic foot of snow in Colorado. One foot of fresh snow can range from 3 psf* for light, dry snow to 21 psf*. for wet, heavy snow. (Gooch, 1999) Because of the extreme variables, it is always best to call an expert for a through roof inspection.

4 Concerns with heavy Snow buildup:

  1. Foundation Damage: Rapid snow-melt is something that we don’t think of until it’s too late. One warm day can cause flooding and overwhelm your drainage systems both on the house and at the ground level. It is important to make sure large amounts of snow are not built up in one specific area. Try to disperse the snow as much as possible. In extreme cases, a bobcat may need to be used to mitigate certain problem areas.
  2. Structural Damage: Once your snow load breaches its capacity you risk structural failure and potential collapse. If you don’t know your snow load threshold you may want to schedule a roof inspection for peace of mind.
  3. Shingle Damage: When you have a large amount of build up on your roof the ice can move across your shingles like a glacier grinding down granulates and tearing pieces of shingle off the roof.
  4. Vent Blockage: If your flu vent becomes blocked you may be exposing yourself to potential carbon monoxide poisoning. If nothing more make sure your flu vent is clear from any snow build up.

A roof Inspection in the winter months can help determine problem areas and will allow the inspector to come up with a proper plan of action. Often times snow removal is the best option when dealing with heavy snowfall. Call Mountain Reach today for a free roof Inspection. 720-443-5386 Check out the FEMA website for comprehensive snow load info.

(PSF)* – Pounds per Square Foot

Gooch, C.A. 1999. “Heavy Snow Loads.” Dairy Facilities/Environmental Management Engineering, Cornell University. Ithaca,