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Ag Eddy 02-08-2009 07:58 PM

Roof pitch and type

We are about to start building a modular home in upstate New York in an area that gets 76" of average snowfall per year (Buffalo, New York, by comparison gets 82" of average snowfall per year). A 6:12 pitch shingle roof comes standard with the house. While driving around the area this weekend, I couldn't help but notice that many of the houses we saw had ice dams on their roofs, icicles hanging over the edges and broken gutters in some cases. I hear about people using ladders to climb up on the roof to break up ice or shovel snow. I also hear about people using snow rakes to clear off the edges of their roofs. What pitch roof should you install and what material should it be made of so you can stay in during the winter without the roof leaking, collapsing, etc. ? How do you find out what the codes/rules/ordinances/regulations are for your town/county ? Thanks for your help and advice in advance.


jdougn 02-09-2009 09:23 AM

Hello Eddy and welcome to the forum.

The local city or county goverment will have an office of building codes. You will want to consult with them first to determine what permits are needed for your project. The phone book here has "blue pages" with all government listings.

A shingled roof will have more friction. The 6/12 slope is not too flat but can still be walked on when dry. A 12/12 roof slope is a 45% angle and you can't walk on that at all. A steep metal roof willl let snow & ice slide off quickly. But you would also want to use "snow dams". They are usually metal brackets that attach to the roof at regular intervals and stick up perpendicular to the roof a few inches. They are designed to break up large sheets of ice and snow when they slide off the roof to prevent damage to the house and surroundings. I have seen sheets of ice & snow slide off a roof and literally smash cars.

Ice dams are caused by various factors. Just the function of weather causes many ice dams. A warm sun melts snow which runs down the roof to an aluminum gutter that is below freezing so ice forms. Ice dams also form due to a lack of proper insulation and ventilation in the attic. In New York, local codes probably require R30 or more of insulation in the attic. Any attic space also needs plenty of ventilation to keep warm air from building up in the attic.

Well hope this helps and let us know how the modular home project moves along!

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