How Much Snow Can Your Roof Hold in Vancouver?

lots of snow and ice on your home roof

We all owe a lot of gratitude to our roofs. After all, they are strong enough to withhold many different things, especially this time of year, from snow to sleet, to fallen leaves, and to reindeer hooves.


Okay, so maybe the last part is not a reality, but even without considering the weight of a warm-blooded mammal, there’s no denying that roofs need to be able to withstand a serious weight level. Although snow is not always a given in the Vancouver wintertime, it is definitely on the radar, so it’s worthwhile to consider just how much snow your Vancouver roof can take before there would be cause for concern.

How Much Does Snow Weigh?

When you pick up a handful of snow from the sidewalk, the weight will most likely be minuscule. However, it isn’t long before this minuscule weight shifts to considerable weight once you start accumulating snow.


If we think of it in terms of cubic feet, the lightest possible snow will still weigh around seven pounds for every cubic foot. However, most of the snowy precipitation that falls is of the more dense variety, which means that it’s not unusual for it to measure around 15 pounds for every cubic foot of snow.


Needless to say, this can add up quickly, especially after a heavy snowfall or even multiple snowfalls. Another thing worth considering is that, when we talk about the weight of snow, we are not just talking about the snow itself. The accumulation of ice and slush also needs to be taken into consideration.


How Much Weight Can a Roof Hold?


Roofs can hold quite a bit of weight — and that’s good news for us. However, even with this in mind, your roof’s ability to withstand weight is bound to fluctuate based on factors such as the age of your roof as well as how well your roof has been maintained.


In general, the average home roof can hold around 20 pounds per square foot of roofing. Although this may seem to be a good match for withstanding snow on the surface, there’s a reason why local building codes often dictate a removal strategy for snow on roofs. In Vancouver, for example, it is required by local building code that your roof must be certified to hold 25 pounds per square foot.


It is also worth noting that there are other factors that can affect how well your roof holds snow, such as your roof’s degree of slope, shape, and materials. While a sloped roof may do a decent job of draining precipitation off the side of a roof, flat roofs or roofs with very minor sloping may be more susceptible to heavy snow accumulation.


How Much Snow Can a Roof Hold?

Even though your roof must be legally required to withstand the weight of snow, there is still the risk of snow accumulating and causing a roof collapse. This is especially true if you are living in a home that was built before the 1970s.

In order to prevent a roof collapse, you will need to have your roof cleaned off after a particularly heavy snowfall. It is generally best practice to have snow removed from your roof after every 6 inches of snowfalls. While it may seem like this is a rarity in Vancouver, it certainly is possible — take, for example, 2008, when the city was covered with 28 inches of snow.

However, it is not safe for the average individual to embark on clearing their own roof. It is recommended that individuals instead enlist the help of a professional snow removal service.


Snow Removal Services in Greater Vancouver

If you are concerned about snow removal, there are resources in the Vancouver area that can help you. While it may be possible to remove the snow in your walkway or driveway by yourself, there are certain risks inherent with removing snow from a rooftop, such as a possibility of falling. It’s a job best reserved for professionals.


Taves Roofing offers residential snow removal services across the Greater Vancouver Area. Discover peace of mind this winter by relying on professional snow removal services to ensure that your roof is taking on more than it can.


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