How to Prevent Collapse of Chicago Roofing

chicago roofing collapse

Collapse of Chicago roofing is a serious structural failure that can affect other parts of a house. Since roof frames connect to the walls, there is a good reason to believe that the walls would also be affected if the frames are compromised.

The danger involved in a roof collapse makes it imperative that homeowners fully understand the way roofs work, particularly their load-bearing capacity.

Load Capacity. A residential roof can normally support up to 20 pounds per square foot of snow unless the roof structure is damaged or weakened. In mountainous and snow-prone areas in the United States the load capacity of roofs is much higher to enable them to withstand greater snow weight. You can check with your local building official to know if your house had higher loads at the time it was constructed.

Risk Evaluation. Snow tends to run off a roof that has a steeped slope, especially those with slopes greater than 3 inches per 12 inches of horizontal distance. In the northern areas, houses are generally built with steeper slopes or roof pitch. Snow accumulates more on low-sloped or flat roofs. Porches generally have low-pitched roofs. Furthermore, expect snow build up on sections of the home that are adjacent to higher parts of the house since snow blown by strong winds from taller places would fall there.

Estimating Snow Weight. Four feet of fresh snow on the roof weighs around 20 pounds. Two feet of packed snow weighs around 20 pounds. For ice, 1 inch of it is equivalent to around 1 foot of fresh snow.

Removing Snow. When the amount of snow that falls on your roof exceeds 20-25 pounds per square foot of roof space, consider the situation as serious or in the danger zone. You should consider removing the snow from the roof. For a safe removal of snow, you can use an extendible snow rake that is widely available at your local supply store to remove snow without going up the roof or leaving the safety of the ground. You can engage the services of a professional contractor to remove the snow too.

Preventing Snow. Aside from using a snow rake, other alternatives for preventing or removing snow and ice on the roof are available such as heat cables installed on the roof and calcium chloride placed inside nylon stockings and positioned strategically on the problem areas on the roof. Roof tablets may be used as well, which are simply thrown into the roof.

Eleven Most Common Chicago Roofing Problems

seattle roofing

A minor roof issue could become a major problem later if left unattended. The key to prolonging the lifespan of your Chicago roofing is regular maintenance. Catching roof problems early on and repairing them could save you thousands of dollars in roof repair or replacement.

These are the most common roof problems encountered in Chicago:

1. Ice and Snow

Harsh weather exacts a toll on the roof. Water could run under the shingles and flashing and subsequently refreeze, which could damage the shingles and flashings.

2. Flashing

A constant source of water damage, peeled or misaligned flashing allows water to seep into the house itself. Sealants around flashing could dry out with time or exposure to harsh weather, leaving gaps and cracks on the flashing through which rainwater could get in.

3. Gutters

Keeping the gutter clean and dirt-free is one of the required maintenance tasks you have to observe to keep your roof in tiptop shape. A clogged gutter allows water to flow down the eaves causing water damage. Always check for cracked seams and broken brackets to make sure gutters stay in place and do not leak.

4. Water ponding

This is a very common problem with flat roofs. Water ponding could eventually lead to leakage on the roof with the water penetrating and damaging the interior of the house.

5. Attic

Ventilation is important in keeping the roof strong and healthy. Poor ventilation in the attic, which lies just underneath the roof, causes the roof to deteriorate ahead of time.

6. Wind

It does not require a storm to damage your roof. Even strong winds on otherwise normal days can lift the shingles from a roof’s surface or blow them totally off the roof.

7. UV Light

Ultraviolet rays from the sun are one of the causes that roof materials deteriorate. Shingles could crack, dry, come loose or fall from the surface. Once the shingles are out, there is very little protection for the roof, which are now exposed to the elements.

8. Skylights

Leaking may result from snow or ice-covered skylights because of internal condensation when water is unable to evaporate. You may need professional help in working with skylights to avoid damaging them.

9. Trees

Abrasion on the surface of the roof may be caused by overhanging trees. Constant contact between the tree limbs and shingles could wear away the protective layer of the material. Falling branches may also damage the roof. Gutter clogging could occur from falling leaves that accumulated through time.

10. Wildlife

The roof attracts all kinds of critters. Birds peck on the eaves while looking for insects. Raccoons pull up shingles looking for passage to the attic. The holes left by birds and animals expose your roof to moisture and its unwanted consequences.

11. Insects

Termites, ants and other insects are serious problems when left unattended. They gnaw through woods and other soft parts of the roof such as the eaves and fascia boards. Insects also attract animals on the roof looking for them as food.

Kinds of Glass for Chicago Roofing Skylights


Skylights serve a variety of functions. In terms of savings, studies have shown that commercial buildings with optimally-designed skylights can reduce their energy costs by up to one-third. Most commercial warehouses nowadays incorporate skylights in their design to save on energy and power bills.

Other studies show that daylight significantly improves the psychological and physiological wellbeing of an individual. It also revealed that classrooms that optimize daylights produce students with higher test scores. The established benefits of daylight on people, made possible through skylights installed on buildings and houses, are beyond question.

If you are planning to install skylights on your Chicago roofing, or incorporate them in the design of your building to be constructed, you have to take into account several factors including the type of skylights to use (some are fixed while others are retractable) and materials for the selected skylights.

The most common materials used on skylights are glass and plastic. Most glass skylights today are composed of either tempered safety glass or laminated glass, or a combination of both.

Tempered Glass

Tempered glass is chemically-toughened glass that was subjected to extreme heating and rapid cooling to produce a tougher glass material compared to ordinary glass. Among its unique characteristics are:

  1. It is stronger than conventional glass by up to five times.
  2. When tempered glass shatters, it breaks into small oval-shaped pieces unlike ordinary glass that shatters into shards.
  3. Its ability to withstand heat is up to 1.5 to 2 times that of standard glass.

Laminated Glass

Laminated glass is a type of safety glass that sticks together when shattered. Because of this safety feature, laminated glass is most often installed as windshield for automobiles. Two sheets of glass are bonded together by an inner plastic layer called polyvinyl butyral or PVB. The inner layer softens and helps absorb the impact on the glass, which are prevented from separating.

This type of safety glass is not only widely-used as automobile windshields. They are also used in jewelry stores, hospitals, prisons and other places where security and safety are the primary considerations. An added advantage in using laminated glass is its resistance to Ultraviolet light.

Low-E Glass

Low-E glass blocks heat entry into the building as well as heat loss through a skylight. It allows entry of daylight without darkening the interiors that comes from the use of laminated glass. Both tempered glass and laminated glass may incorporate low-e features in their design. A darker but more thermal-efficient version is found in Low-E 2 glass.