Whether you are deciding on a roof design for your new home or simply considering a full roof replacement on your existing home, there are special considerations to keep in mind if you live in snow country. Heavy snow loads can be disastrous on a poorly designed roof. Fortunately, you can balance practicality and safety with aesthetics by considering some of the following when designing a roof for snowy climates.
The Pitch Matters
The last thing you want is a flat roof in a snowy climate. The snow will accumulate and fail to run off, which will result in a heavy snow load and a possible roof collapse. A steeply pitched roof, such as a 3:12 pitch or greater, ensures the snow slides off easily. It's also a good idea to avoid complicated roof shapes, such as those with multiple dormers, gables, and valleys. Snow is more likely to get stuck on these roofs, which adds to the snow load. In some cases water may also pool and freeze, which can lead to a leak when it begins to melt.
Metal Is a Great Choice
One of the best roofing material choices in snowy areas is metal. You can opt for panels or shingles, as both tend to shed snow easily. This is in part because metal is slicker, so ice doesn't freeze to it easily. This allows the snow to simply slide off. Further, metal heats up in sunny weather, becoming even slicker. If you prefer another material, then asphalt shingles are a strong second choice. Opt for a variety that is rated for snowy weather. Tile should be your last choice, as extreme temperatures can easily damage many tile varieties.
Consider Integrated Heat Tapes
Deep eaves are often recommended in snowy areas because they prevent the snow from falling off right against the wall of the house. Unfortunately, cold air circulates beneath deeper eaves, which means the snow around the edge of the roof may not melt as quickly. This results in ice dams, which can damage your house or lead to leaks. You can solve this issue by having the roof constructed with integrated heat tapes. These tapes heat up just enough to melt the snow at the eaves. They are equipped with a temperature sensor, so they only operate when needed.
With the right materials and design, you won't have to worry about your roof when the snow starts to fall. Contact a roofing service today for a free roof estimate.