Do you know how much snow the polar vortex dropped? Michigan received 18.7 inches, New York got 24 inches, and Massachusetts got 21 inches. It may not like look much to you, but on average, the first cold wave of 2014 in the U.S. just dumped more or less a third of the average annual snowfall that the areas receive. That’s a lot of snow, as in snow your roof may not be able to handle for much longer. Time to grab that shovel and get shoveling outside, perhaps. However, agricultural engineer Ken Hellevang says not to grab your shovel just yet. Bear in mind that snow load is a requirement for roofing in Peabody, MA to comply with local building codes.
“Just because one roof has gone down, doesn’t mean every roof in the area is in danger,” says Ken Hellevang of the NDSU Extension Service. “The collapse may have been a case of poor workmanship, design, unusual amounts of snow or some other special circumstance.”
For Hellevang, the icy winter is a critical time for roofs blanketed with snow, especially for those with asphalt shingles. If the cold wave was cold enough to freeze the mighty Niagara Falls, it surely won’t lack the chill to make the shingles brittle. One misplaced hit during the shoveling process may severely damage the shingles.
Snow Load Basics
The required snow load in Massachusetts hasn’t changed since 2001; Peabody, categorized under Snow Load Zone 2, is at 30 lbs per square foot. This means a 2,000-square-foot roof must be able to handle a total of 60,000 lbs of snow. Based on known calculations, a square foot of code-compliant Peabody roofing can handle roughly six inches of snow. Of course, these calculations assume a normal winter. However, this polar vortex is anything but. There was enough snow to make an army of snowmen.
Leave It to Nature
More often than not, DIY snow removal on roof results in injury or damage. That’s why many suggest leaving that task to Mother Nature. Let her clean up her own mess. It’s difficult to gauge the weight of the snow just by looking at it. In fact, math proves less useful at this point because snow formation relies on erratic variables such as cloud formations and temperature. At one point of the snowstorm, light snow may fall; at another, heavy snow. Expert roofing companies like A&A Services don’t fall short of complying with building codes. If you need to remove the snow from the roof, ask for a recommendation first. Instead of doing it yourself, call a professional service. (Article image and excerpt from “Your Roof Should Be Built To Handle Normal Snow Load,” North Dakota State University)
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