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Six ways to prevent your roof from collapsing during a massive snowstorm

During the winter months, it is expected for snow to pile up on the rooftops of homes, apartment buildings and businesses. However, what some people don’t know is that snowfall can become so heavy that it exceeds the carrying capacity of the roof, leading to structural damage. Over time, this damage can cause the roof to become unstable and cave in. To prevent this dangerous and expensive event from happening, follow this guide for preventing roof collapse this winter.
  1. Clear your gutters and downspouts.
Clogged gutters prevent melting snow and ice from properly draining, causing heavy pools of water to form on the surface of your roof. Also, if your gutters are clogged or improperly sized, snowmelt can seep down into your ceilings and cause damage to the structure, making collapse more likely to occur.
  1. Hire a contractor to remove snow after the storm ends.
After a heavy snowfall, it is imperative to remove the accumulated snow as quickly as possible to prevent serious internal damage from occurring. Do not attempt to get on the roof yourself. Climbing on an ice-slick roof without the proper equipment and training could lead to severe injury or even death. Instead, hire a professional that can safely get rid of the snow for you. In some instances, it may be possible to use a snow rake to knock excess snow off your roof while remaining safely on the ground level, though this may not work for all roof types.
  1. Have your roof professionally inspected.
Before a big snowstorm, hire an expert to assess the current state of your roof and promptly address any necessary repairs. By maintaining the health of your roof throughout its lifespan, you can reduce your chances of roof collapse and other winter-weather damage.
  1. Check your roof for damage.
After the snow has been removed or melts off, you will want to inspect your roof and ceilings for any signs of obvious damage. From the ground, look for uneven snow cover, missing shingles and roof sagging. These are all telltale signs that your roof needs repairs. Be sure to address these problem areas immediately to avoid further damage from occurring.
  1. Know the signs of roof collapse.
In addition to roof sagging, other signs of impending roof collapse include:
  • Bends in the roof supports
  • Cracks in the exterior masonry
  • Cracks in the ceiling and interior walls
  • Unexplainable leaks
  • Doors and windows that won’t shut or are difficult to open
  • New creaking and popping
  • New drafts, spongey or uneven floors and any other movement that cannot be easily explained
If you notice any of these signs of imminent roof collapse, evacuate immediately and hire a professional contractor to determine the extent of the damage. Remaining inside a home with an unstable roof can pose a serious risk to your life.
  1. Insulate your attic.
The uppermost level of your home should be kept properly and evenly insulated. This will help your roof rid itself of snow as temperatures improve. Make sure to seal up any drafts or air leaks that may be letting in the cold. This will also help keep your heating costs down in the wintertime. Following these tips will help protect your roof from collapsing due to heavy accumulated snow and ice. However, it is best to be properly insured should any of these methods fail. To keep you and your family safe, contact an independent agent today to ensure that you are covered for such weather-related damages.