After getting several feet of snow over the course of a few days, several roofs in the Buffalo, New York area began to collapse. While the amount of snow that fell in such a short amount of time is unusual, a well maintained roof in good shape should still have been able to hold up in those conditions. Here are some tips for homeowners so that they can recognize when their roofs might be failing and what they can do about it.
Reasons your roof may be failing
Your roof can fail for a number of reasons. If you have an older home, the structure of your roof may not be built to the current standard. If this is the case, you’ll need more than a new roof, you’ll need some work done to the roof’s structure itself to bring it up to code. Clogged or frozen rain gutters can also be the culprit. When your rain gutters are clogged or frozen, water and snow can’t drain properly and it builds up on your roof causing it to carry a lot of extra weight. Finally, when snow is falling while there are strong winds, snow can be unevenly disbursed across your roof causing one area to bear an especially large amount of weight.
Signs your roof may be failing
A roof collapse can be very dangerous and often deadly. There are a few signs you can watch for when snow is building up on your roof. Watch for doors that pop open or that become hard to open. Look for bowing door frames and listen for any creaking or cracking sounds. New or rapidly expanding cracks in your walls or ceiling are another telltale sign. If you notice these signs get out immediately and call a professional to begin removing snow.
Safety tips when clearing snow
Most of the deaths in the Buffalo area this past week were not a result of collapsing roofs; they were the result of homeowners trying to clear away snow. There is a right way and a wrong way to do it. First of all, don’t do it alone if at all possible. You’ll want someone there to steady the base of your ladder. Don’t physically get onto your roof, use a long-handled snow rake to clear as much of the snow as possible. If it becomes clear that the job is too big and too hard for you, don’t hesitate to hire a professional to help.
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