September 15, 2015 by Establishing "Why" Since 1966

Since heavy snowfall began just two weeks ago over 80 roofs have collapsed in Massachusetts alone. Further roof failures are being reported in New Jersey, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Maine. Residents and business owners are now scrambling to remove as much snow as possible before they fall victim to these devastating snow loads.

 

Picturesque snow-capped houses may look charming, but what may look like fluffy snow may be overloading the roof structure. The weight built up on the roofs can be deceiving. On average, the weight of snow is equivalent to over 60lbs per cubic foot. To make matters worse, snow becomes even heavier when mixed with the water contents in ice and sleet.

There are obvious warning signs that a roof is about to collapse. The first sign is a sagging roof. Strong indicators of an imminent collapse are creaking, cracking, and popping sounds. These sounds occur when rafters and other roof supports begin to fail and break. Other not so obvious signs of pending danger are bowed pipes attached to the ceiling, cracks or changes in cracks in the wall or masonry, doors that pop open, or doors or windows that prove difficult to open.

Property owners need to understand that there is almost always more than one reason for a roof failure. Heavy snow can put added pressure on a roof that is already stressed or that has been poorly maintained. Some roofs are already weighed down with several layers of old roofing that has never been removed.

Even if your roof doesn’t collapse, you still may be in danger of structural defects and complications when heavy snowfalls begin to melt. The process of melting snow and ice can cause water seepage causing roofs to rot, damaged insulation, flooded attics, ruined gutters and ice dams. Ice dams typically form when snow on the roof starts to melt due to heat escaping from the interior of the home. The melted water runs down the roof, refreezes, and clogs the gutters. As more snow melts, because the gutters are blocked, the water is forced to travel up under the shingles and can then leak into the house.

The experts at Forensic Analysis & Engineering can “Establish Why” the roof failure occurred. Additionally, our experts can conduct a structural analysis to determine the best possible repair methods while outlining what is necessary to prevent further occurrences in the future. To find out more or to submit an investigation request, visit our website at www.forensic-analysis.com.