‘Snow’ Big Deal: Understanding the Actual Weight of Snow on Your Roof

Snow on Roof Winter means snow, and here in Pennsylvania it can mean a lot of snow. This snow, particularly if it is wet and heavy, can mean problems for the roofs on buildings and homes. Fortunately, there’s a calculation that’s done when building roofs that takes snow into account.

The East Stroudsburg area receives nearly 40 inches of snow each year, according to Sperling’s Best Places. As this snow piles up on roofs, it can become very heavy. In some cases, the snow load may exceed what the roof can safely support, which can result in costly structural damage to the building.

Roof snow load is calculated using a formula to determine how much the snow weighs per square foot. This formula is used when designing roofs to ensure that the materials used and construction methods can support the additional seasonal weights, but this same formula can give you an idea of how much the snow on your roof actually weighs.

The formula starts with the ground snow load, which can be determined by carefully collecting snow from the ground to be weighed. Snow in the Pennsylvania area can weigh 30 pounds per square foot or more. Wet snow, or repeated melting and freezing cycles, can increase the weight per square foot, although typically more snow blows off on a roof.

The second step in the formula is to consider the exposure of the roof. Values are assigned based on whether the roof is completely exposed or is sheltered by trees or other structures. The more exposed your roof is, the more snow will be carried away by wind and the more sun will strike your roof after the storm clears, improving the speed of melting.

The third step involves calculating the thermal factor for the roof. The thermal factor will vary depending on whether the building is heated or unheated. Last, you must calculate the roof slope factor. Roofs with a steeper pitch are able to withstand more snow because the snow tends to slide off the roof quickly.

The roof snow load can be calculated by multiplying 0.7 x Ground Snow Load x Exposure Factor x Thermal Factor x Roof Slope Factor.

The easiest and safest way to make sure your roof will be safe this winter is to contact a roofing professional. Having your roof inspected periodically is the only way to be sure it is in good condition and ready for winter weather and is the best way to identify early signs of structural issues or leaks that could allow moisture to get inside and damage your structure.

At Roofing by Bruce, we know what winter is like in Pennsylvania. We can perform an inspection on your roof and alert you to any potential issues before they become a larger problem. Contact us today by calling 570-424-7250 to learn more about our services or to schedule a roof inspection for your home or business.

Roof Vents and Ice Dams

Ice Dams

With winter now in full swing, that means our homes will be exposed to things such as ice build up or ice dams. Left unmanaged, these accumulations can lead to serious problems, including roof damage or even collapse if excessive weight is added in the form of ice. This is why ensuring that your home is properly ventilated to ensure that ice isn’t allowed to build up and create these excessive accumulations.

 

When an ice dam forms at the end of the roof, it essentially creates a wall. Then, when the temperature rises after snow has fallen, the snow melts and runs down the roof. When that happens, the ice dams prevent the water from fully making it off the roof, instead pushing the melted moisture back – often under shingles. From there it can seep in and start to drip into the attics and ceilings of a home. In turn, if the water persists, it can lead to the rusting of drywall fasteners, sagging drywall and stains around windows and doors.

 

To prevent ice dams from forming in the first place, having roof vents installed in the home is a must. What these will do is pull in colder air and will push out warmer air which will help achieve a more moderate temperature barrier between the interior of your home and the roof. If the attic is too warm or poorly insulated, the heat can dissipate and cause melting on the roof. On the other end of the spectrum, attics that are too cold can cause cold air to seep into the home – cold air sinks, after all – which is why ensuring the quality and adequacy of your insulation is also important.

 

Ventilation helps to achieve this equilibrium and ensure a constant air flow to prevent temperatures from becoming too warm or cool. If you are unsure whether or not the vent is working, simply shoot air from a compressor hose through the vent. Not only will this allow you to see if air is passing through properly, but it can also be a way to determine if your existing vents are clogged or plugged with dirt, dust or even animals.

 

Roofing by Bruce in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, specializes in roofing installation and repairs. Our experienced specialists will make sure your roof vents are properly installed or work with you to install new roofing or effect emergency repairs if you ever need. To learn more about our full range of roofing installation and repair services, give us a call today at 570-424-7250!

 

 

What is the Lifespan of Roofing Materials?

Roofing Materials

Although most of us typically only have to replace the material on the roof of our homes once, it’s important to make sure we pick the right one. You want your roof to last – not just while you live there, but also for the next family or generation who lives there, as well. It’s not always an easy decision to make, however, so it’s important you know the facts about each material. Here is a look at the advantages and lifespans of the most common roofing materials.

 

Asphalt Shingles

 

One of the most common roofing options are asphalt shingles. These shingles average a lifespan of about 20 years. Of course, this varies depending on the specific type of shingles used and the manufacturer’s warranty. Some options are protected for as long as 50 years, though with that guarantee comes a premium price over traditional shingles varieties.

 

Metal

 

Metal roofing is another common choice, though different groups are divided on what the reasonable lifespan is for these roofs. For example, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors projects that a metal roof can be reasonably expected to last between 40 and 80 years, but The Metal Roofing Alliance cuts that a little shorter – anywhere between 40 and 60 years. As with anything, the individual installation and weather conditions experienced will play a large role on how durable your roof is, though the general consensus is that metal roofing should last for at least 40 years.

 

Wood Shingles

 

Wood shingles are similar to asphalt in terms of installation, but offer a bit of an edge in durability. Typically these shingles have a lifespan of approximately 30 years, but that can last longer if you experience more moderate or temperate weather conditions. If we don’t experience many crazy storms throughout the time you have your roof, using wooden shingles will last you a very long time.

 

Slate, Concrete and Clay Tiles

 

Solid like a rock – because they literally are – slate, concrete and clay tiles are the toughest materials you could use for your roof. These materials have a premium price, but offer premium protection. If you use any of these options to top your roof, you could reasonably expect your home to stay dry and protected for as long as a century. This makes these materials a great selection for anyone who is planning to build a home to live in for the rest of their life or even to pass down to the younger generations in the future.

 

Roofing by Bruce offers comprehensive roofing installation and repair throughout central and eastern Pennsylvania. Based in East Stroudsburg, we stay up to date with the latest building codes, material advancements and installation techniques to ensure that our customers receive the best roof possible. To learn more about our services, give us a call today at 570-424-7250!

 

 

 

Tips to Prepare Your Roof for Winter

It is that time of year when we start battening down the hatches and prepare to spend a lot of time indoors. Before you head inside for the winter season, it’s important to make sure that everything outdoors is ready to go – including your roof. Roofs can take quite a beating during the winter between the strong winds, heavy snows and ice forming on top. Make sure your roof is ready to go this winter with these few tips.
 

Look for Damage

 
Chances are you don’t go up on your roof regularly to inspect it. Make it a point to grab the ladder and go up top to look for any damage. Broken shingles, cracks or visible weak spots are problems best spotted – and repaired – before they result in water damage or structural failures.
 

GutterInspect Gutters

 
Make sure your gutters are flowing properly to drain runoff water through them. Remove debris that could have piled up from the fall with leaves clogging them up. You should also check the way your gutters are draining; they should drain away from your home so that the water leaves the area, rather than building up near your foundation. Water draining near the home can re-enter your house through the basement, potentially leading to another costly repair if this damages your foundation, spoils your furnished basement, or allows mold to form in your home.
 

Walk the Interior of Your Home

 
Don’t forget to check for signs of water damage or cracking on the inside of your home, too. If you see new cracks appearing in your attic or along ceilings on the top floor, it could be from vulnerabilities in the roof. Water stains can also be a symptom of leaks in your roof, and should be investigated thoroughly to make sure that these problems are found and fixed before they lead to rot, further damage to your ceilings or degradation of your home’s insulation.
 
Make sure to get out and inspect your home from top to bottom to make sure that you’re ready for the winter. By taking the time to run through the tips we suggested above, you can take care of any potential issues now, instead of in the middle of winter after your small repair turns into a massive issue. If you find problems or just would like a professional opinion of your roof before the flakes fly, contact Roofing by Bruce today!