How much snow can your roof really handle?

When the winter snow begins to fall, you may be wondering how much snow you can expect your roof to handle. After all, heavy snow loads can cause serious damage and expensive repairs if not taken care of.

So how much snow can your roof really hold? The answer depends on several factors.

Determining how much snow your roof can hold

The average roof can handle around 20 pounds of snow per square foot, but this can vary depending on the type of roof and the climate in which you live. For most residential roofs, the maximum snow weight should not exceed 30 pounds per square foot.

To calculate how many inches of snow your roof can hold, you need to consider the density of the snow, as well as other factors like altitude and humidity. To prevent roof collapse, it is critical to estimate the weight of the snow on your roof and take steps to remove excess buildup.


The weight of a foot of fresh snow can range from 3 to 21 pounds per square foot, depending on its density. Light, dry snow typically weighs around 3 pounds per square foot, while wet, heavy snow can weigh up to 21 pounds per square foot.

It is also crucial to consider the additional loads from ice dams or drift that can accumulate on your roof over time. Packed snow can be much heavier than normal and cause structural damage if left unchecked.

When it comes to preparing for winter weather conditions, you can take some proactive steps to protect your roof from excessive snow accumulation.

Get ahead of the problem

Have a qualified professional inspect your roof annually (ideally in the fall), so they can check for any structural weaknesses or needed repairs. Clear the gutters of leaves, pine needles, or other debris that may have accumulated to ensure that water can flow freely.


Trim trees near your roof to prevent branches from snapping during heavy snowfall or high winds. Also, check the flashing around vents, chimneys, and skylights to make sure they are secure and in good condition.

Inspect the drainage valleys in your roof to make sure they are free of debris so water can properly drain away from your home. Also, examine all of your roof shingles for signs of wear or damage that can be aggravated by heavy snowfall or strong winds during winter storms.

Remove heavy snow and ice

Regularly assess the condition of your roof and remove any accumulation of snow or ice that exceeds safety guidelines. The best roof rake is a great tool for safely removing snow from your roof and preventing ice dams.

When using a roof rake, it’s critical to start at the edges of the roof and work your way up, being careful not to press down too hard as you pull back. It is best to remove the first foot or two of buildup at the base of the roof before going any higher.


The best roof rakes are also available in telescoping models that allow you to extend them further for greater reach.

Remove the icicles as well, because they add extra weight.

By following these tips, you can keep your home safe during the winter and prevent unnecessary damage from snow and ice buildup on your roof.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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