With the warm weather New Hampshire has been experiencing this fall, it’s hard to believe that winter is just around the corner. And while it may be a bit before we see any significant snowfall, history tells us that there WILL be snow. It’s not too early to think about taking care of your property when it hits.

Winter Roof Problems

There are several winter roof problems that can occur when snow builds up on your roof. First and foremost is weight. While the actual “ground” snow load requirements vary by town in NH, the requirement for new construction in Manchester is 70 pounds per square foot. The requirement for homes built before 2000 was 40 psf, but many earlier homes don’t even hold 20 psf. What does that mean? Well, according to the Insurance Institute on Business and Home Safety:

  • New snow: 10 to 12 inches of new snow is equal to one inch of water, or about 5 pounds per square foot of roof space, so you could have up to 4 feet of new snow before an older roof will become stressed.
  • Packed snow: 3 to 5 inches of old snow is equal to one inch of water, or about 5 pounds per square foot of roof space, so anything more than 2 feet of old snow could be too much for your roof to handle.
  • Ice: one inch of ice equals one foot of fresh snow or 5 pounds per square foot.

As an example, two feet of old snow and two feet of new snow could weigh as much as 60 pounds per square foot of roof space. Anything beyond that could be a threat to even new construction. That’s why keeping your roof clear is important for many homes, especially during winters that see a lot of snow – and according to the Farmer’s Almanac, the northeast can expect a “snowier-than-normal” winter this year.

When removing snow from a roof, consider a professional from Urban Tree Service. Height plus ice equals danger, so it’s a job best not to take on alone. Not only can you hurt yourself, you can hurt someone else with falling snow and ice. At the very least, mishandling a long, unwieldy snow rake can cause damage to the roof.

Some other winter roof problems to be aware of:

Attic Condensation

Winter snow build-up can cause excessive condensation in your attic ceiling, which can lead to mold and/or wood rot. Providing proper attic ventilation is the best way to fight condensation, but keeping the roof clear of snow works, too.

Ice Dams

Warm air rises. When it rises from inside your home, it warms the shingles – and the snow that has accumulated. The snow then melts, runs to the edges of the roof, where it’s colder, and then refreezes. If that ice grows thick enough, it will cause a snow-melt backup and the water will flow under the shingles – and into your home. Again ventilation – and insulation – goes a long way toward prevention, but keeping those roof edges free of snow will also help.


Icicles are pretty, but they’re formed by the same processes that lead to ice dams. They can damage your roof and your gutters, and can be a hazard to people below: Keep in mind that a cubic foot of ice weighs around 60 pounds.

We Do Snowplowing

Did you know Urban Tree Service Provides plowing services, too? We’ve got the staff and equipment to keep your commercial or residential area clear of snow for your convenience and safety. So, if you’re looking for a dedicated, experienced team to help you get through a New England winter, contact us before the snow becomes a problem for you!