by Nicole Reitter
With snow dominating everyone’s mind (and arm strength!) lately, we’re wondering how much snow is too much snow when it comes to a home’s roof. We connected with Mark Tanner, a member of CATT (Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe) and the owner of Mark Tanner Construction, to help our community get a better understanding of how to manage this year’s exceptional, heavy, wet snowload.
TTCF: What is a general roof snowload limit? How can someone find out the roof snowload limit for their home?
Mark: I spoke with two local structural engineers this week and they shared that, generally, Truckee Tahoe roofs are designed to withstand 25 pounds per cubic foot of weight of snow. Right now most people have approximately 20 pounds per cubic foot of snow on their roof or, about 7-8 feet of standing snow, with a lot of water compaction from the recent rains. This varies some, of course, depending on where/what elevation one lives at, and the age of a home.
We’re finding more issues and concern with water intrusion from ice damming than from the potential of a collapsed roof. Given that we’re living through the snowiest, wettest and coldest winter we’ve seen in 70 years homes are bound to experience some repercussions.
Homeowners can look at their building plans, too, and many times the snowload limit can be found there.
TTCF: What are interior signs that may indicate there’s too much snow/weight on a roof?
Mark: Occupants of a home should be on the lookout for:
- doors that can’t open smoothly, or at all
- stress cracks in the drywall
- windows or sliders that are binding
- beams drooping
Any of these things happening indicate that the home might be at its snowload maximum.
TTTCF: What’s the smartest, safest way to remove snow from a roof?
Mark: A homeowner should hire a licensed, insured contractor to do this work. While it can be tempting to do it yourself or hire an unlicensed person offering a lower rate, it’s easy to slip, fall and get hurt. If this happens the liability will fall on the homeowner.
Folks should contact a roof contractor, a framing contractor or a masonry contractor as they work on roofs regularly and will have the proper equipment and knowledge. Expect to pay $100 to $120 per man hour.
If your home’s snowload does not appear excessive you can wait until the snow melts off naturally in springtime. But, keep a watchful eye when it rains because the snow can only absorb so much weight and oftentimes we don’t realize how much heavier the snowload has become with additional moisture.
If you’re looking for snow removal assistance, take a look at these roofing companies who are part of the Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe (CATT): http://bit.ly/40j09Rw.