When Should I Remove Snow From my Roof?

RoofCollapes1Due to the recent, historic snows that hit Buffalo, New York, many of our customers have asked when is the right time to remove snow from their roofs. Simply put, there is no right time or set amount of snow that each building can withstand. Buildings have different load capabilities. Factors such as how the building was designed, constructed, and what modifications have been made need to be considered. All of these factors enter into how much weight the structure can sustain.

How much does snow weigh?

One inch of water weighs 5.21 pounds per square foot. Meteorologists estimate that 12 inches of snow is the equivalent to one inch of water. Therefore 12 inches of snow weighs approximately five pounds. (Please keep in mind that this amount is an estimate and can vary with each snowfall.) The total weight being applied to your roof is not only determined by the amount of snow that falls but also how the snow drifts on the roof. Due to winds and the slope of the roof snow can pile up in areas (typically around roof elevation changes and along walls) and thereby concentrate loads in certain areas of the roof and essentially point load or place a disproportionate amount of weight on certain areas of the structure.

Additional snow load considerations

If snow melts and then freezes it can slow or eliminate the ability of the roof to drain properly. Once a layer of ice has formed, repeated snows and continued cold weather may not allow the ice to melt until spring. This layer of ice can retard or eliminate water flow off of the roof! Considering water weighs approximately 5.21 pounds per square foot this can quickly cause dangerous weight amounts on the roof.


RoofCollapesNow that you know the facts, what should building owners do?

  1. Be prepared this winter! First sign the waiver and then register for CentiMark's Snow Removal Program!
    Fill out the form on the right of this page >>
  2. Download CentiMark's Mobile App so you can request service from your iPhone or Smart Phone should a Winter Storm hit over the weekend or when you are away from the structure. 
    Apple users click here to download the mobile appAndroid users click here to download the mobile app
  3. Additionally, understand what loads your structure can handle and understand the weight of snow so that you can monitor accumulation and drift areas so snow can be removed at the appropriate time!
  4. Be sure that your gutters, downspouts and drains are functioning properly. If they are frozen and not draining properly, call CentiMark to utilize methods such as steaming to be sure that the roof drains and gutters are operating properly!
    Click here to have a CentiMark Representative contact you about Winter Roof Accessories >>
  5. Install heat tape where appropriate. Click here to have a CentiMark Representative contact you about Winter Roof Accessories >>

Snow on a roof can cause more problems than snow on the ground

"Many things are out of sight and out of mind when on a roof. The piece of mind of eliminating added weight and protecting what’s on your roof and in your building can prevent a catastrophe and unknown equipment and roof damage.”
John Pallo, Service Director - Northern Group


Protect your company from unsafe, uninsured snow removal services

"Protecting the employees in the facilities as well as on the roof requires thorough under deck inspections (sometimes with structural engineers) and a full proof safety plan. It is not unusual for rooftop equipment, gas lines, skylights and electrical conduit to be covered with snow. It is very easy for inexperienced workers to severely damage these things as well as the roof itself. CentiMark takes this process seriously with safety the number one priority, We pride ourselves in working closely with our clients to assure the best possible results given the dangerous circumstances.”
Bob Rudzik, Executive Vice President & Northern Group Director




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