A home can feel like an impenetrable fortress that protects you from the concerns of the outside world, but a home still has to obey the laws of physics and engineering. If you have noticed dips in your ceiling or your door frames, especially during intense weather, then your roof may be struggling to support the weight on it.
Effects of Roof Weight on Your Home
With any structure, the concept of structural load is vital in the engineering process to avoid cascading failures that put the people and contents inside of it at risk. The weight that normally sits on the structure of your roof is considered a dead, or static, load.
Live loads that dynamically change are the other type of structural weight, and it includes things like a person walking on the structure, snow from a heavy storm, or even the ash from a nearby volcano. If a live load is applied quickly enough, the resulting impact can create a moment of much higher force pushing down on the roof than the weight of the load itself. The calculations of roofing weight are so important that Utah, other states, and even cities will have regulations demanding minimum load values.
Identifying Your Roof's Weight Limit
The first step in determining if your roof is carrying a proper load is to identify your roofing structure and its maximum weight. Once the combined load is greater than the maximum, the support structure will collapse and drop everything above the failure to the level below it. Hopefully, your home came with this information, but even the maximum given by the contractors can change over time as the roof weighs down on the structure and the elements cause decay. Roofing design is more complicated than slapping a few boards together and covering them with decking and shingles, so it is recommended that you look for a full tutorial on roof design before estimating the weight that it can hold. A low estimate to work with is 25 pounds per square foot, but it is ultimately better if you have an accurate value.
Roofing Materials and Weight
Once you know the design of your roof structure, it's time to determine how much weight is on it. The majority of the weight will come from the roofing material, and it may be far more than you would expect. If you can't get the exact weight of the roofing material from the construction company that built it, you will need to estimate the weight based on the typical values for the type of material used. An estimator like this one from the Engineering Toolbox can quickly give you an area-based unit weight for the types of shingles and decking used for your roof.
Treat Your Roof to an Inspection from Vertex Roofing in Salt Lake City, Utah
While a bit of knowledge can help identify the more obvious weaknesses in a roofing structure, it takes a trained and experienced eye to accurately determine if a roof is in need of repairs or just a bit of maintenance. Salt Lake City residents can call on Vertex Roofing Contractors to perform a roof inspection that will identify any structural weaknesses, allowing you to perform the necessary maintenance before your roof collapses on your family, your possessions and your wallet. Our Vertex Roofing professionals have been installing, repairing, and replacing roofs in Utah for over 20 years. Give us a call at 801-639-0477 today!