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After getting this much snow, should you shovel your roof?

[fa icon="calendar"] Feb 18, 2015 5:20:00 PM / by Kenneth R Quigley, PE

Whether you own a commercial property or a single family home, the answer may offer some relief!



The winter of 2015 is one that everyone will remember for quite some time. Between record breaking snow totals, traffic tie-ups, and ice dams, everyone has a story to tell - especially the news media.

But while there are many stories being reported about roof collapses and the importance of roof shoveling, be careful to learn the facts and not shovel your roof unnecessarily. The media is known for many of their strengths - but not for their engineering capabilities. 

According to the latest snow-water equivalency map published by NOAA on 2/17/2015, the water in the snow pack around Greater Boston is 6 to 8 inches.  Eight inches of water weighs about 42 pounds per square foot (PSF).  The design ground snow load in Greater Boston is 45 pounds per square foot.  While 42 PSF is close to 45 PSF, there are significant safety factors built into buildings. At this point, most well-built buildings should have no problem carrying the snow load. 

If you suspect that you own a weak structure or are concerned about snow drifts on your roof call a structural engineer. Trusting experts can save you from thousands in potential property damages, hundreds in needless shoveling costs, and prevents injuries (and heart attacks) that may occur when shoveling your roof is not needed. 

Ice Dams

On the other hand, if your main concern surrounds ice dams, then removing potential roof melt is usually a good idea to prevent interior damage--so long as it can be accomplished by professionals or property owners with extremely good balance, strength and stamina.  Remember, it takes much longer to recover from an injury than it does to repair and repaint a ceiling or wall.


Contact us and we’ll be happy to offer an opinion on your situation. 

Topics: Structural Integrity, Engineering, Storm Damage