Five Often-Overlooked Signs Of Impending Roof Collapse

Posted on: 16 August 2017

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When you think of the worst things that could happen to your roof, what comes to mind? Most people will say a leak or having a branch blow onto it during a storm. But in fact, the worst thing that could happen to your roof would probably be for it to collapse. If you're in the home when it happens, there is a good chance you won't survive. Even if you're not in the home, you'll have thousands upon thousands of dollars in repairs to make -- and it may not even be worth salvaging what's left.

Roof collapse is not overly common, but it is a real threat. A roof that collapsed at a restaurant in Atlanta injured six people in July 2017, and in winter of 2014-2015, 160 roofs collapsed in Massachusetts alone after a heavy snowfall. It's up to you to ensure your roof does not suffer the same fate. So, if you notice any of these signs of impending roof collapse, leave your home immediately and call a roof contractor to come investigate.

Sagging Roof

If you look across the roof and it seems like some sections are starting to sag or droop in, this is a sign that collapse is around the corner. Sagging means that the wooden underlayment, and likely the wooden supports that hold the roof, have begun to decay. They could snap at any point, especially if put under the weight of snowfall or some fallen leaves.

Bends in the Roof Supports

Venture into the attic every once in a while and take a peak at your roof supports. If they appear to be bending or cracking, this is a very bad sign. When the supports snap completely, the roof will likely collapse. 

Sagging Doorways

If you go to close your exterior door, or even an interior door, and you notice that it hits against the top of the door frame rather than closing nicely, then this could mean that your roof is in danger of caving in. The stress that is supposed to be supported by the roofing beams may be being transferred to your walls, causing the doorways to sag. The walls are not made to support this amount of weight, so they may collapse at any point and the roof may come down with them.

Growing Leaks

You don't need to be concerned about roof collapse at the first sign of a little leak. But if a leak keeps growing larger and larger, generating rotting wood and shingles around it until it looks more like a pit in the roof, this can be a real hazard. Hopefully, you catch and repair a leak before it reaches this point, but sometimes homeowners who travel often come home to a leak that's been perpetuating for a while.

Windows That Won't Close or Open

Similar to doors not closing, windows that won't open or close may be a sign of impending roof collapse. However, this one can be tricky because there are many reasons why windows may stop closing. Before you flee the home and call your roofing company, look over the windows and make sure that problems with the pulley system or rough edges on the sashes are not causing the problems. 

In addition to keeping an eye out for the signs above, make sure you minimize the amount of snow that accumulates on your roof in order to ward off roof collapse. In most cases, your roof can support up to 12 inches of fresh snow or 3 - 5 inches of packed snow. Any more than this, and you should work on clearing the roof off.