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How Much Weight Can a Roof Hold? Expert Safety Tips

A roof with durable materials can hold a certain amount of weight before the structure collapses or develops other damage. Many in Georgia assume that while their roofs are sturdy enough to handle the weight of rain or snow, the structures might not handle people walking over them. So, how much weight can a roof hold exactly?

As Marietta's best roof repair experts, Georgia Roof Advisors understands that some roofs can handle excess weight better than others. However, knowing how much a roof can hold isn't always straightforward. In the comprehensive guide below, their professionals explain what you need to know about weight and how it affects different types of roofs. 

How Much Weight Residential Roofs Can Hold

No matter the type of roof your home or business has, the design allows it to hold some weight. This weight could be due to snow accumulation, contractors working on the building, HVAC equipment, or other circumstances. 

The best way to know how much weight your roofing system can support is to look up local building codes. Roof installations must adhere to building code regulations. 

Calculating your roof's load-bearing capacity is complex. It involves several factors, such as materials and roof slope. You also have to know about the structure's dead load, which is the weight of sturdy materials and permanent roof attachments, and its live load, which refers to temporary weight like snow and roof workers.

A stable roof can handle both load types. Residential roofs typically support about 20 pounds of live load per square foot. Yet, the load-bearing capacity can increase to 27 pounds per square foot for sturdy materials like metal roofs. 

Different Roofing Types and Their Ability To Hold Weight

When answering "How much weight can a roof hold?" it helps to look at common roofing styles and their ability to withstand different load-bearing capacities. 

Hip Roofs

Many Marietta residential properties have a hip roof. This roof type features slopes that extend toward exterior walls from a central ridge. While the slopes for hip roofs aren't as steep as those of gable roofs, they don't have much horizontal space.

The roof's pitch and slope ensure that some rain and snow will fall off the building. However, accumulations can still form, so slope and snow loads are used to calculate hip roof load-bearing capacity.

Flat Roofs

The weight-bearing capacity of a flat roof depends on roofing materials, roof size, and other factors. Flat roofs usually hold a minimum of 20 pounds per square foot, but they can handle more snow, debris, and rainwater. 

Gable Roofs

With its two steep sides, a gable roof has little space for snow to accumulate. Unfortunately, the slope of these roofs makes it harder to calculate their weight-bearing capacity.

The problem with the calculation is that load limits work under the assumption that weight applies uniform pressure on a roof's flat, horizontal surfaces, which gable roofs don't have. Still, gable roofs tend to have a higher dead load.

Concrete Roofs

Concrete is a strong, durable roofing material, ideal for commercial buildings. Most commercial roofs can accommodate around 1,200 per square foot. Yet, for residential properties, the capacity can drop depending on the concrete's thickness, roof age, and the type and quality of roofing reinforcements.

What Can Influence Roof Weight?

Commercial roofing typically holds more weight than residential roofing. The difference in weight-load bearing capacity is usually due to commercial flat roofs needing more support for live loads in small areas. Sloped residential roofing doesn't need as much support since most heavy live loads will fall off the building. 

Another factor to consider when calculating roofing weight loads is exterior appliances. Unlike most residential properties, commercial buildings often have heavy equipment like water tanks and heating and cooling units on the roof. Thus, commercial roofs must be strong enough to support the weight of additional appliances and the workers who routinely work on them and the roofing system.

Finally, roofing material is a key factor when answering the question, "How much weight can a roof hold?" For instance, asphalt shingle roofs are strong, but slate roofs are stronger. On the other hand, heavy building materials can weigh down a building's foundation if installers don't calculate the right measurements and reinforce the roofing system properly.

How To Tell If Your Roof Is Too Heavy

Depending on your roof's age, quality of installation, and material type, your roof might struggle to accommodate additional weight. Your roof is likely suffering under heavy weight if you experience these problems:

  • Roof sagging: When gutters, drip edges, or roof centers sag, it's because they're under too much or unevenly distributed weight. 
  • Roof leaks: A roof leak signifies significant damage that can compromise its structural integrity and load-bearing capacity.
  • Strange sounds: If you hear strange noises from your roof or walls, like creaking or cracking, the weight on the roof is probably creating a foundational shift. Contact a roofing company immediately to alleviate the excess weight. 

You must take prompt action to avoid additional damage to your residential or commercial roofing system. The last thing you want to deal with at your Marietta home or business is a massive roof leak or a sunken roof. If you notice one or more of these signs, it's likely time to start exploring home repair programs and scheduling consultations with a respected roofing company. 

Call Georgia Roof Advisors for Help With Your Roofing System

How much weight can a roof hold? The answer depends on many factors, including the kind of roof your Marietta, GA, home or business has. Thankfully, the professionals at Georgia Roof Advisors are available to give all types of roofs the care and attention they need. 

As a top-rated roofing company and GAF Master Elite contractor, their team has the expertise, tools, and training to perform several roofing services using top-tier materials. From residential and commercial roof replacement and repair, their crew does it all with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Contact Georgia Roof Advisors today for your free estimate. 

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