The recent snowstorm brought us over six inches of new snow in the Lee’s Summit, Missouri area as well as most of Missouri. That snow is very pretty, but it brings in a lot of questions about snow and ice and their impacts on trees, houses, buildings, and especially your roof. How much snow is too much accumulation on your roof? Can you wait for the snow to melt or do you need to actually remove it yourself or get a professional? Read on for some basic advice about snow accumulation on the roof of your house.
It’s important to know when referring to snow accumulation what type of snow or accumulation there is. All snow is not created equal. Packed snow weighs a lot more than new snow, and ice weighs far more than both. So if you experience a second snowstorm before old snow has had a chance to melt, the packed snow now topped with new snow accumulation could be more than your roof can handle. And that’s not even counting if you experienced ice on your roof and haven’t had weather warm enough to melt it.
The general rule from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety to prevent roof collapse is that a house should be able to support 20 pounds per square foot of roof space. Twelve inches of snow is roughly 5 pounds per square foot so your roof should be able to support up to 4 feet. Packed snow of 3 to 5 inches equals about 5 pounds per square feet, so 2 feet of old snow could be too much for a roof, and ice equals 1 foot of fresh snow. Some areas that tend to receive abundant snowfall yearly may have higher loads mandated by your local building department. You can call them to find out what the regulations were at the time your house was built.
The best thing to do to put your mind at ease if you can’t tell if your roof can handle the snow accumulation is to safely remove it. For an easily accessible roof, a snow rake can be the right answer. If you have a dangerous, steep or roof in disrepair, or are simply worried, call a roofing professional to discuss. Your local Missouri roofing contractor will have the right answer for your individual home and area.
In this blog series, I am trying to explain why I typically recommend a 30-year Architectural shingle and not upgrading to the premium versions (40-year, 50-year, plus, premium, lifetime, or other marketing terms might get used). Many homeowners are concerned about maintaining the value of their homes, and as a house is likely your largest single investment I agree you should be concerned. They (rightly) think that often times if you spend more, you get something better in return. And as you improve your house, quality craftsmanship isn’t just something you live with every day, it will be reflected when it comes time to sell your house in the future.
I would think that when I am looking at a house that I would recognize quality craftsmanship, and appreciation that the former owner took to care for the property, and perhaps that might have value to me. However talking to realtors, most homeowners don’t follow that logic pattern. And this includes the roof that is the primary protection for that home. Prospective homeowners ask a single question, “how old is the roof?” If it is over eight (8) years old, they start to think about the check they will have to write to replace that roof. Like many of us, they don’t think about the insurance discounts I wrote about earlier, only the age of the roof.
Beyond what is “typical” for your neighborhood, there is likely no increased house value you can expect from upgrading from the 30-year Architectural shingles. I appreciate that as a homeowner, you are trying to be prudent and upgrade the value of your home, but the market treats your roof as purely a routine maintenance item and values your roof strictly by the age and nothing else. This is unfortunate, but this is also the reality.
In summary, as a roofing contractor, I recommend a tried-and-true product that has been real world tested in our Jackson County, Missouri weather; the premium products may last longer but I haven’t seen it. In addition, every time you replace a roof you get to press the “reset” button on your homeowners’ insurance and qualifying for a significant discount on your premiums. And last, the real estate markets simply views a roof as a maintenance item, and this upgrade won’t factor into a potentially higher future sale price. While I often advocate and recommend upgrades, this simply isn’t a place I can support spending more money.
We are an experienced Lees Summit roofing company with over 15 years experience in repair, service and installation.