Is your home safe from a snow related roof collapse? - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Is your home safe from a snow related roof collapse?

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Roof experts say the main risk is ice dams that build up along the edge of rooftops. Roof experts say the main risk is ice dams that build up along the edge of rooftops.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

When a gas station port in Post Falls, ID collapsed early Thursday morning, the thought on a lot of peoples minds: How did it happen?

The answer could be a number of things: Is the structure just really old? Was it built to code standard? Or was there just too much snow? The latter is unlikely, but without measuring the weight of the snow on top of the port it’s impossible to know for sure.

Could the same fate of that 76 gas station port happen to your roof? Most likely not. According to roofing experts, residential and commercial structures are built to withstand 30 pounds per square foot of snow in Washington, and 40 pounds per square foot of snow in Idaho.

What that looks like depends on the water content of the snow. To give an example, imagine at least three feet of heavy, wet snow across your rooftop. Expert’s say even that likely won’t cause your roof to cave in.

The last time the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene area saw serious snow-related damage was during the 2008-2009 winter. According to a study published after the storm, the majority of the failures occurred in structures over 20 years old. Nearly half were over 40 years old.

Roof experts say the main risk is ice dams that build up along the edge of rooftops. They can block water from running off the roof or into the gutter. Water can then potentially build up and create stress on structures. But unless there is leaking, experts say not to worry about it. They say if there is leaking the best thing to do is carefully chip away at the ice dam with a blunt object.

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