How much snow can your roof hold?

How much snow can your roof hold?

How much snow can your roof hold?


With the large amount of snowfall this winter in Iowa and its surround states, one question we have had asked is “How much snow can a roof hold until it caves?”.  Not too pleasant to think about on top of our thoughts of battling the cold, shoveling driveways, slick roads and school delays.

Seeing a foot of snow on our homes can be pretty and pretty daunting. Rest assured though (depending on the age and structure of your home), the snow fall we have accumulated is not going to cause permanent damage. While the amount of weight a roof can bear depends on several variables, most can support 20 pounds per square inch of weight before becoming stressed.

The weight of the snow on your roof can be estimated by keeping the following guidelines in mind:

  • 10-12 inches of new snow is equal to one inch of water (on average), or about five pounds per square inch. So, a roof could support 40-48 inches of new snow before becoming stressed. That is a lot of snow. And we really don’t want that much snow anyway!


  • With packed snow, 3-5 inches of snow is about five pounds per square inch. With this in mind, approximately 20 inches of snow would be the maximum amount of snow that your roof could handle. Think about the hard, compact snow that no one wants to shovel at the end of their driveway – that type of snow.


  • Ice, Ice Baby… one inch of ice equals one foot of fresh snow. 4 inches of SOLID ice on your roof would start to stress your roof out, as would anyone or anything covered with 4 inches of solid cold ice!


It is always best to have your roof properly maintained to check for vulnerable spots and seal damaged areas before the winter, and Roof Iowa is always here to help!  We are voted Ankeny’s Best Roofer many years in a row as well as a Des Moines Metro Best Roofer.  We have been awarded as a Master Elite and Certified Green Contractor as well as an Angie’s List Super Service award winner. We thank you for your trust!

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