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Portland’s Winter Weather Dilemma: The Impact of Snow Load on Roofs

Portland’s Winter Weather Dilemma: The Impact of Snow Load on Roofs

If you’ve been a resident of Portland for more than a couple of years, you likely don’t bother carrying an umbrella, and you can discern between rain, showers, passing showers, isolated showers, scattered showers, and drizzle. We take pride in our selection of rain jackets and adhere to the Scandinavian saying, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear.” However, our confidence in the face of rain tends to waver when the temperature drops and rain transforms into the rare occurrence of snow.

Panic ensues as the city, accustomed to the wet, becomes temporarily paralyzed by the white and fluffy. Driving becomes challenging, conversations revolve solely around the snow, and normal functioning takes a back seat. At the mere whisper of snow, store shelves clear out as if the snow will incapacitate the region for months, not just a few days. While we may not be perfectly equipped for snow, our roofs must be. Understanding snow load and ensuring your roof can handle it is crucial information to possess before the rain morphs into delicate snowflakes.

Snow Load on a Flat Roof

Snow load, a concept more familiar to those living in snowy and mountainous climates, involves calculating the structural capacity to bear the weight of accumulated snow on a roof. A flat roof is a platform for snow; the additional weight can strain the framing and overall structure. The framing of a building is integral, and if it’s compromised, the roof becomes vulnerable. Excessive snow load can lead to the risk of roof collapse, and even if collapse isn’t imminent, it’s wise to consider removing snow from a flat roof to eliminate potential risks.

Requirements and ratings for flat roofs differ across jurisdictions, varying from city to city. Understanding these requirements is paramount in Portland, where the occasional snowfall isn’t uncommon. If you have a flat roof and require a replacement, our team is well-versed in the specific requirements of the Portland area. Checking your local building department’s guidelines for framing a home with a flat roof design will ensure preparedness for the future. We specialize in TPO roofing, a material commonly used for flat roofs. Reach out today for a free estimate and to schedule your TPO roof replacement.

The Importance of Drainage

One of the critical factors in managing snow load on your roof is efficient drainage, a consideration that should be addressed long before the first snowflake falls. Regular gutter cleaning plays a pivotal role in ensuring optimal roof drainage. Homes surrounded by trees may necessitate multiple gutter cleanings each fall. If this task is too challenging or dangerous, various roof and gutter-cleaning services are available to take on the responsibility.

Clearing leaves, debris, and grime from gutters is essential during winter rain and snowy conditions. Effective drainage prevents potential issues regardless of whether your roof’s pitch is steep or flat. When the snow eventually melts, a well-maintained drainage system, from gutters to French drains, becomes vital to divert water from the roof and foundation. Conducting home maintenance during dry spells provides peace of mind when the weather turns inclement.

The Danger of Ice Dams

Ice dams result from poor drainage, substantial snowfall, and freezing temperatures. If gutters and downspouts are obstructed by debris or ice, melting snow has nowhere to go. Roofs are designed for water to flow downhill with shingles overlapping, preventing water from touching the roof’s underlayer. When drainage is compromised, and water backs up against the grain of the roof, ice dams can form.

Ice dams can be prevented by manually removing ice and, possibly, snow from the roof and gutters. LADA Exteriors installs the Owen Corning Total Protection Roofing System®, offering products to safeguard vulnerable roof areas. Despite these high-quality products, they can’t substitute for proper drainage, ice dam prevention, and regular roof maintenance.

We has consistently emphasized that water is a roof’s greatest enemy, and since ice is a form of water, this holds in snowy conditions. Water, in any form, including ice and snow, can wreak havoc on either old or poorly maintained roofs. As a boutique roofing company focusing on customer service, we prioritize making your roof replacement convenient and efficient.

If ice, snow, or rain is causing issues for your roof, contact us today for a free estimate. Our dedicated product managers will assess your roof, provide an estimate, and schedule the necessary repairs. While snow blankets the area with its magical touch, be prepared for potential challenges such as snow load, water damage, and roof issues. Don’t let the snow load hold you back; let LADA Exteriors be your trusted roofing company this winter.

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