snowy winter

An Overview of Measuring the Roof of Snow Load

An overview of measuring the snow load on a roof will make the process less intimidating. This article will look at snow load calculations, measurement, detection, and reliability. Using these tools is crucial to ensure the roof system’s and building occupants’ safety. 


Getting a rough idea of the weight of the accumulated snow on the roof is easy. The snow load is calculated by dividing the snow’s unit weight by the roof’s area. For example, if the roof is flat, the snow could be a few inches thick but cover several feet of the flat roof. For this reason, you should calculate the snow load of a flat roof to be about twice as much as that of a pitched roof.

The maximum weight allowed by the roof depends on its composition and moisture content. For example, a three-pound coffee cup pushed into a snow-covered roof can support nearly 24 inches of wet, heavy snow. A smaller coffee cup filled with melted snow will have a lesser weight limit. For a more accurate measurement, you can multiply the snow’s depth by 5.2. Despite the snow load limit, you may not entirely blame the roof weight for a catastrophic collapse. Various factors may be responsible for the destruction of the roof and harm its sustainability and structural stability.


A proper calculation for determining the snow load on a roof can be tricky if you don’t know what type of roof you have. There are many factors to consider, including slope and roof material. Snowfall on a roof is typically measured in feet or inches, and the easiest way to determine the load on a flat roof is to use a yardstick. For example, 18 inches of snow equals 1.5 feet of snow if the roof is flat.

To calculate the weight of snow on a flat roof, you first need to know how much snow can be expected to fall on the roof. Snow weighs ten pounds per cubic foot, so a cubic foot of snow could weigh fifteen pounds. That would mean a 1,000-square-foot roof can hold 15,000 pounds of snow. In addition to the weight of the snow, the roof will also have to withstand the pressure from fresh snow.


Detecting the weight of a roof’s snow load is extremely important. The importance of 1′ of snow on a roof may vary from 3 to 21 pounds per square foot, and snow on a roof can accumulate against walls, increasing its weight. The best way to assess the importance of snow on a roof is by looking for warning signs that your roof may be in danger of failing. These signs include a visible buildup of snow or ice on the roof, sagging of the structural support system, and minor cracks that expand and contract.

Large buildings with high roofs are particularly susceptible to damage caused by snow loads. Snow huddles on the roof, often at levels exceeding the design snow load. This overload can result in severe damage to the structure. The first step in preventing structural failure is monitoring the roof’s snow load and knowing when to begin the snow removal process. This information allows managers to prioritize snow removal and avoid unnecessary spending and damage.


Two measurements determine the reliability of measuring the roof of snow load. One of these measurements is made using an inclinometer. The other one uses a calibrated gauge. Both measurements are equally accurate. However, there is one significant problem with the former. The accuracy of the calibrated meter is limited, and a calibration error can lead to an incorrect result. Therefore, the reliability of measuring the roof of snow load is a crucial aspect of snow and ice load design.

A reliable test method must be employed to improve the reliability of the measurement of roof snow load. One such technique is differential reliability. This technique compares two distributions of resistance to a reference one. The resulting statistical analysis reflects a difference in the failure probabilities between the two types. You can compare the data by analyzing the relative positions of the two distributions. The difference between the two distributions may have little or no significance. Instead, the comparison of the two methods can focus on their differences.

Ice buildup

Using a snow load calculator is a common way to determine the weight of a roof. The snow load calculator compares the total weight of snow and ice to the roof’s maximum allowable load. The roof’s permissible load is based on the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures, published in 1988. This standard has since been revised; the most current version is ASCE7-16.

To calculate the weight of snow, you must first determine the density of the snow. Generally, one cubic foot of snow weighs six to eight pounds, and a cubic foot of wet snow weighs around twenty pounds. Snow containing ice can weigh up to three times as much as snow. Then, you multiply the weight by the square footage of the roof to find the snow load. After measuring the weight, the next step is calculating the snow’s pressure on the roof.

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