15 Mar The Most Common Causes of Roof Collapse
Roof collapse might sound like something that won’t happen to you, but you’d be surprised—roof collapse is more common than you think. Here are some of the most common causes of roof collapse and what to do about them.
Snow and ice
If you’ve read anything about roofing and winter, then you’ve probably heard about the hazards that ice dams can pose to your roof. Ice dams form when snow and ice melt on your roof, only to freeze back into ice near the eaves of your roof, which tend to be colder. When this ice accumulates at the eaves of your roof, it prevents other melted snow and ice from draining off of your roof. A typical roof can handle about 20 pounds of weight per square foot, but if snow and ice accumulation is enough (say, over two feet of packed old snow), it can cause your roof to become stressed. In order to prevent roof damage or collapse, it’s important to physically remove snow from your roof as it accumulates. Many homeowners use a simple roof rake to remove snow from their roofs safely. If you choose to use a roof rake, keep in mind that it’s best to leave a few inches of snow, as you don’t want to risk damaging your shingles. Alternatively, you can alway hire a professional to remove the snow for you.
Even if snow and ice are no longer accumulating on your roof, your roof could be left with ice dams that cause standing water to accumulate on your roof. Standing water is heavier per cubic foot than snow and ice, so it doesn’t take nearly as much standing water to put stress on your roof. A cubic foot of fresh, powdery snow, for example, can weigh as little as seven pounds. Densely packed snow, meanwhile, can weigh 20 pounds or more per cubic foot. A cubic foot of rain, on the other hand, is estimated to weigh about 62.4 pounds per cubic foot. So if your roof has developed ice dams, it’s important to address them as soon as possible. It’s a good idea to inspect your roof frequently to ensure that there are no other potential causes for standing water, either.
Snow, ice, and water need not accumulate on a roof in order to cause roof collapse. If your roof is not up to par in terms of leak proofing, water damage can become significant enough over time that it undermines the structural integrity of your roof. To ensure that moisture intrusion doesn’t ruin the structural integrity of your roof, it’s highly important to have your roof regularly inspected for missing shingles and deteriorated flashing.