Warning signs of a weak roof

HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- First responders are worried more roofs will collapse in the days ahead from heavy snow and ice. WZZM 13 is looking into the warning signs residents should look for to reduce the risk.

Think about it like survival of the fittest for roofs, says Cindy Osman, a Holland city inspector.

"That's what it's doing picking off the weak one," says Osman with Holland Community and Neighborhood Services.

Heavy snow and ice are preying on weak roofs.

"It could be dangerous if you're underneath all that falling debris," says Osman.

Osman says a couple of rhyming words may help residents pay more attention to the warning signs.

"The biggest thing you would probably notice if there is an imminent collapse is leaking and creaking," says Osman. "Leaking is when water is coming to the inside of your building, creaking would be odd sounds you haven't heard before coming from your attic."

WZZM 13 also looked into how someone can prevent a roof from collapsing, once they see the warning signs. Osman says a lot of it depends on what kind of roof it is. For a flat roof, it's important to make sure the drain on top is clear.

"It serves the purpose to drain away the water but it can't drain if its covered up with ice or snow," says Osman.

However, Osman says most homes have sloping roofs. She says for those the biggest threat are ice jams.

"When you get water built up behind an ice dam it can get pretty heavy pretty fast," says Osman.

Osman says water weights about 8 pounds per gallon.

"Get rid of those roof dams and if you can't get rid of them make a channel for the water to go out," says Osman.

Osman says most roofs in good shape won't collapse from just snow or ice, but she doesn't recommend putting them to the test.

Osman also urges people to keep an eye on roof porches and decks. Often they build up a lot of snow or ice because they are away from the heated part of the house.


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