Assessing Your Barn Roof For Heavy Snow


snow on roof FREE PHOTOIf you live in an area which receives significant snowfall each winter, it’s important know how much snow weight that your barn roof can support. Barn collapses can be devastating, but they’re also usually avoidable. These tips can help you determine if  your barn is up to the challenge.

Do you Know Your Local Snow-Load Requirements?

Do your research and find out your local snow-load requirements. These requirements are based on the climate and past snowfall, and can better inform you about the conditions that your barn will need to be able to withstand. While it’s a good idea for your barn to meet these requirements, it’s an even better idea to make your barn stronger and able to withstand more rigorous requirements, just in case.

Did You Communicate With Your Barn Builder?

If you are just building your barn, make sure that you have a conversation with your barn builder about the importance of the barn being able to withstand heavy snow loads. Many local builders should be aware of this issue and should be able to advise you on building techniques to use.  They may also have advice on how to “beef up” your roof if your barn has already been completed. 

Did You Use A Metal Roof?

If you want to avoid snow sitting on your barn’s roof for long periods, then opt for a metal roof instead of a shingled roof. Snow melts off of metal roofs faster, reducing the amount of time that your barn will need to support the full weight of a snowstorm. Additionally, make sure that your roof is properly pitched to encourage the snow to slide off.

Did You Use Machine Stress-Rated Lumber?

If you want to ensure that your barn is strong, then use machine stress-rated lumber in its construction. Whereas most lumber is visually rated, machine stress-rated lumber is machine tested to identify its true strength. By using machine stress-rated lumber, you can avoid weak spots and will know the actual strength of the materials that you are using.

Did You Add Additional Bracing?

Adding extra bracing can further strengthen your barn so that it is able to withstand a major storm, or a series of storms. Consult with an engineer to determine what types of bracing would be most beneficial for your barn. 

Did You Incorporate Drainage Around Your Barn?gutter and downspout WALTERS BUILDINGS

Including proper drainage around your barn to help direct snow runoff away from the foundation is important to your barn’s overall strength. If runoff water is allowed to pool around your barn, it can actually affect the stability of your barn’s foundation.  Be sure to use gutters and drain pipes to move water away.

Whether you’re just planning your barn, have already started building or are using a previously built barn, there is still time to make sure your barn roof can withstand a heavy winter snow.

Photo Credit: Walters Buildings

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