Maximum Snow Load on Roofs – BLC Roofing

by | Apr 4, 2024

Winter is approaching, and as temperatures drop, homeowners start to wonder about the impact of snow on their roofs. Understanding the maximum snow load a roof can handle is crucial to ensure the safety and longevity of your home.

How Much Snow Can a Roof Handle?

The average roof can support approximately 20 pounds of snow per square foot. However, this capacity can vary based on the region and the specific construction of the roof. For instance, areas in the U.S. that experience heavy snowfall may have roofs designed to bear a more substantial snow load. Exceeding this weight can lead to potential damage.

Regional Snowfall: How Much Does Your Area Receive?

The amount of snow your region receives plays a significant role in the snow load your roof might experience. For example, Syracuse, New York, receives an impressive average of 123.8 inches of snow annually. In contrast, states like Oregon and Washington might only see around 15 inches of snow each year.

The Implications of Snow on Your Roof

A light layer of fresh snow might not pose a significant threat. However, wet or densely packed snow is considerably heavier. If not addressed, accumulated snow can lead to ice dams, sagging roofs, leaks, or even a complete roof collapse.

Effective Snow Management Techniques

One of the most effective ways to manage snow on your roof is by maintaining a cold roof surface. This prevents snow from melting and refreezing, which can lead to ice accumulation. Enhancing attic ventilation and insulation can help achieve this. Additionally, homeowners can use snow rakes to clear off excess snow.

Calculating Snow Load

To determine the snow load on a roof, it’s essential to understand the snow’s density. Here’s a quick reference:

  • Fresh snow: 3.75 lb/cubic ft
  • Damp fresh snow: 6.87 lb/cubic ft
  • Settled snow: 15.61 lb/cubic ft
  • Wind-packed snow: 23.41 lb/cubic ft
  • Very wet snow: 46.82 lb/cubic ft
  • Ice: 57.25 lb/cubic ft

Using these densities, homeowners can estimate the snow load on their roofs and take necessary precautions.

Roof Pitch and Snow

For regions prone to heavy snowfall, a steeper roof pitch is recommended. A roof pitch of at least 1:12 ensures that snow can slide off more easily, reducing the accumulation.

Tips for Melting Snow on Roofs

Several methods can help melt snow on roofs:

  • Installing heat cables
  • Using chemical deicers
  • Pouring hot water (with caution)
  • Cooling the attic
  • Engaging professional roofers

At BLC Roofing, we understand the challenges homeowners face during winter. Our expertise in roof repair service in Akron OH ensures that your home remains safe and secure. Whether you’re looking for roofing services in Akron OH or need roof replacement service in Akron OH, BLC Roofing is here to assist.


Snow load is a critical consideration for homeowners, especially in regions with heavy snowfall. By understanding the capacity of your roof and taking proactive measures, you can ensure the safety of your home during the winter months. Remember, when in doubt, always consult with professionals like BLC Roofing to assess and address any roofing concerns.

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