How Much Weight Can a Home’s Roof Support? There are lots of situations in which you might have to figure out how much weight a roof can support. If you own an industrial-style apartment building, you might be curious about the weight of your crew, or whether it can hold up a brand new HVAC unit. If you own a home with a slate roof, you might wonder how much weight can a roof support? whether or not it can safely hold the weight of a full-sized family. In each of these cases it’s best to hire a professional roofer who has a few tricks up his sleeve, but you can learn a lot about how much weight a roof can withstand by asking simple questions. Here are some common questions about roof strength and weight that a qualified roofer can answer.
Commercial Roofs: Commercial roofs aren’t as flexible as residential roofs, so they need to take into consideration many factors. The first thing to consider is the actual load that the roof is required to hold, as well as how much weight the different components of the roof are expected to support. For example, the rafters of commercial roofs must be able to handle the sheer force of tons of debris kicked up during windstorms. For this reason, commercial roofs aren’t made with a lot of wood or tile; they’re made out mostly of steel and aluminum. If your roof needs to support something heavier, such as an entire chimney, you’ll need to talk to a contractor about the specific weight requirements for the particular roof you need to install. When it comes to how much weight can a roof support, there are some rather basic facts that can help you figure it out:
The most weight-sensitive components on a roof are the rafters, the insulation, and the gutter system. If any one of these items is compromised, your whole roof can be in trouble. If your roof has flashing installed over the open space underneath your eaves, you need to figure out just how much weight can a roof support, because you don’t want any flash to be jeopardized. If your attic space is wet, which it often is during heavy downpours, you also have a problem.
For this reason, the weight your roof supports doesn’t necessarily have to equal the weight it should. A roof may have all the features it needs to resist the elements, but it may be poorly insulated and the right materials used. A roof may resist damage from snow and rain, but not withstand a full weight load, so you may end up with repairs. If you’re concerned about this issue, take a look at your current roof and see if it’s rated for the amount of weight it should hold.
Another important consideration is how much water pressure on your roof should have under normal circumstances. For roofs over two stories in length, the building code requires that they have continuous protection against water coming from higher elevations. However, many shorter buildings don’t meet this requirement, so check with your local building code agency. If your roof is less than 40 feet in length, your building code may require continuous protection against water coming from a single story or from the adjacent story if supported by tiebacks or other such devices.
Finally, what is your insulation? Your roof may have good R-values, but not have good thermal performance, so calculate the R-value of your roof and compare it to the estimated temperatures you expect. If you’re having trouble with the thermostat in your home, your roof may have issues. Check with your building code enforcement officials to find out how much weight can a roof support, as well as how much your home is required to have in order to support that weight.
All roofs have pros and cons. Some are easier to install and maintain, and some have more thermal value and more structural support. However, no matter what type of roof support you use, always consider how much weight can a roof support, since you never want to overload it and cause it to collapse. You also don’t want to reduce the load unnecessarily just because you’re doing a better job with your insulation and with the rest of the elements.
Regardless of how much weight can a roof support, there are several options available. Some roofs are made from materials that allow them to be more supportive than others. If your roof is more than forty feet in length, you’re going to need continuous support throughout the length of it, as well as from adjacent stories. However, longer roofs typically have less support overall, so there may be times when a shorter roof may be preferable to a longer one. Even when you have a longer roof, however, you should still ensure that it’s supported well enough that a heavy object doesn’t completely crush it, such as when you’re on top of a ladder.