How to know when there is too much snow on your roof

March 08, 2019 10:33 PM

The heavy, wet snow that is in the forecast for Saturday could be too much for some roofs in Minnesota and western Wisconsin to handle.

With snow already piled high on many roofs, it's important to know how much snow is too much for your roof to support.


The state's building code requires homes in the southern half of Minnesota have roofs that can support 35 pounds per square foot. In northern Minnesota, the requirement increases to 42 pounds per square foot.


That means even with all the snow Minnesota has received your roof should be OK, especially steep, sloped rooves.  Flat rooves, however, can become stressed a lot easier.

According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, the following will all put approximately five pounds of weight per square foot on your roof: 10 to 12 inches of fresh, fluffy snow; 4 inches of packed or old snow; 3 inches of wet snow or one inch of ice. 

RELATED: Minnesota dairy farmers prep for snowstorm after barn roof collapses

Since the building code is 35 pounds per square foot, your roof should be able to support 7 feet of fresh snow; 2.5 feet of packed snow; 1.75 feet of wet, heavy snow and 7 inches of ice.

Anything above and beyond those totals will begin to stress your roof.  That is when you will want to call a snow removal company or get out your rake and begin removing the snow from your roof to prevent a possible collapse.

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Tim Vetscher & Jonathan Yuhas

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