During those cold blustery winter nights, you are probably grateful that you have a nice roof over your head. A common question that comes up a lot is ‘How do you know when the snow on top of your roof is too much?’

Ask yourself some questions.

What type of roof do I have?

Excess Ice and snow tend to accumulate on lower slopes of roofs and flat roofs because snow cannot slide off as easily as on top of steep roofs. Another feature to pay close attention to is if you have cross hip roofs and mansard roof styles where you may have a steep roof that slopes onto a lower roof. The snow slides from the higher slopes and lands on the lower roof of the house causing more snow to build up than usual. This is where you want to pay close attention to because some areas of your roof will have no snow but other areas are holding all of it.

What type of snow is on my roof?

The weight of snow varies depending on what type of snow you have. It varies because of location and how long the snow has been present for. There are different types of snow including; new fluffy snow, old packed down snow, and our least favorite–ice. Depending on what type of snow and how old the snow is can depict how heavy it is.

Some measurements to keep in mind:

  • Approximately 10-12 inches of NEW snow = 3-5 inches of OLD/packed snow = 1 inch of ICE.
  • 10-12 inches of NEW snow = 1 inch of water = 5 lbs. per square foot of roof
  • 3-5 inches of OLD snow = 1 inch of water = 5 lbs. per square foot of roof
  • 2 feet of NEW snow + 2 feet of OLD snow = OVER 60 lbs. per square foot of roof

In other words:

New fluffy snow can weigh about 7 pounds per cubic foot and old/packed snow can weigh 20 pounds or more. Snow and ice can add up quickly and become extremely heavy and cause a problem if it is not taken care of properly or if your roof is not is old and damaged.


Most newer residential roofs can support about 20 lbs of snow per square foot of roof.

You want to make sure your roof is durable for the winter weather West Michigan experiences.  Don’t hesitate to call Werner Roofing at 616-844-5382 for further details about equipping your home with a sturdy new roof or to schedule a thorough roof inspection by a professional.

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