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What To Do When Your Roof Collapses

Seal Out Drafts This Season

Roof safety following collapse due to snow, ice

It doesn’t matter if it is spring, summer, fall, or winterif your home is not sealed correctly or your windows are letting the outsidetemperatures in, your electric bill are going to take a hit.Find out how you can help keep costs under control with a few easy steps and alittle help from Scott Exteriors!

Add WindowTreatments.Adding in window treatments such as blinds, shades, andcurtains can help keep out drafts and cold. Open these window treatments duringthe day to let sunlight stream in and close them at night to keep cold air out.

Don’t Forget to Add aDraft Stopper. You can find door draft stoppers online or even make oneyourself. Lay the door draft stopper in front of your exterior door to blockcold air from coming underneath.

Add Some Insulation.Have you noticed a significant spike in heating or cooling costs? If so, yourproblem may be in your attic. Consider adding extra insulation to keep yourhome more efficient.

Check Your Windows.Are your windows very old? If so, you may find that storm windows can help addan additional layer of protection against the outside elements during thewinter. Also, we recommend that you check the caulking around your windows tomake sure you don’t have cracks that allow cold winter air to enter your home.Replaced dried or damaged caulk if you see it. While you’re at it, check yourdoors, too!

Cracks In Exterior Masonry Or Walls

While not always indicative of roof damage, if you inspect the cracks and notice discoloration or mold spotting, these cracks could be caused by leaks in the roof.

Along with the implications of structural damage that could be occurring, they could be pointing to roof issues that could become a much larger issue later on.

Can A Roof Collapse From Snow

Snow can certainly cause a roof to collapse under its weight, especially if repeated snow events prevent it from fully melting in between. If snow is followed by rain, the snow might absorb the rainwater, making it even heavier and harder to remove.

Most roofs can withstand up to 20 pounds per square foot of snow before becoming distressed assuming theyre in good condition before it snows. But a poorly maintained roof can support much less than that, so its best to keep your roof well-maintained in order to avoid significant damage.

Read Also: How To Repair Roof Trusses

Whats The Breaking Point

Snow varies in density, so knowing just how much weight 2-ft of snow is putting on your roof isnt an exact science. However, we suggest property owners assume that every 1-ft of snow is putting about 15lbs per square foot of pressure on their roofs. The amount of pressure can vary significantly, anywhere from as low as 5lbs to 50lbs of weight. It all depends on the density of the snow.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration presently puts the current weight of snow on the ground at 33lbs per square foot. As a reference, most new buildings in Portsmouth have a design roof snow load of around 40-psf .

Causes And Warning Signs Of Spontaneous Ceiling Collapse

Employees at Triton Technologies escape before roof of ...

The Building Commission has become aware of a number of ceiling collapses, particularly in homes completed between the years 2005 and 2009, which prompted an investigation into what caused the ceilings to fail.

The Building Commission has inspected seven homes where ceiling failures had been reported. The homes inspected were completed during the past 10 or so years.

The Building Commissions Compliance Report Investigation into gypsum plasterboard ceiling collapsesfound the positioning and amount of adhesive applied to the timber ceiling joists to be problematic at five of the seven sites inspected.

The Building Commission has developed a fact sheet for residents who have safety concerns about their plasterboard ceilings to help them notice and understand the warning signs of a ceiling under stress or failing.

Ceiling collapse can cause damage to the contents of the room and serious injury, Building Commissioner Peter Gow said.

Causes of ceiling collapse may include incorrect access and use of the roof space the use of inappropriate materials or poor workmanship.

Mr Gow said there are generally warning signs that a ceiling is under stress or failing and it is at this time owners need to be proactive and arrange inspection and repair of the affected areas.

A number of home inspections have revealed that residents noticed warning signs of the ceiling being under stress prior to the collapse, he said.

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Pursuing Accountability For New Jersey Roof And Ceiling Collapses

Property owners have a responsibility to keep their property reasonably safe for others who are entitled to be there. They are also required to repair unsafe conditions that they are aware of within a reasonable amount of time. If the hazardous condition is not cured and someone is injured as a result, the property owner can be financially responsible for injuries caused by their negligence this is known as premises liability.

At Krivitzky, Springer & Feldman, we frequently handle roof collapse and ceiling collapse cases that involve apartment buildings, single family homes that are being rented, hotels, and other rental units. Our Jersey City ceiling fall attorneys thoroughly investigate negligence that may have contributed to the vulnerability of the structure and ultimately, to your injuries.

Immediate Steps To Take If Your Chimney Collapses

  • The first thing you need to do is instantly put down your chimney fire. The masonry and bricks can fall inside the chimney opening thereby pushing the wood and the fire inside the house which can lead to fire and damage inside the house as well. If the fire catches furniture or cloth then it may spread very fast and cause the house to burn down.
  • In some instances, the collapse of the chimney may cause the masonry to block the top of the chimney opening. This may lead to carbon monoxide to enter the house and can become absorbed in all the porous materials of the house.
  • Instantly a person from your house should go out and remove any things which could become damaged due to exterior fall of the chimney bricks and masonry. Any person should also be informed to run to safety.
  • Do not try to check the cause of the chimney damage or the extent of the collapse by going on the roof to check the chimney or going outside to see the collapse.
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    How Serious Is A Roof Leak

    The initial dangers of a roof leak are damage to the attic area and items stored there. If there is no attic, or the size of the leak is big, it will damage the interior ceiling. Affected ceiling paint will darken and ceiling plaster may bubble and expand. You can also expect damage on ceiling-mounted lights and fans.

    How To Prevent Roof Collapse

    Severe storm causes petrol station roof to collapse on 3 vehicles in Sharpeville

    The best way to prevent roof collapse from snow is to maintain it all year round, especially in the months leading up to winter. To minimize the impact of severe weather conditions on your roof, you should:

    • Clean your gutters. Keep your gutters free of leaves and debris so melting snow can travel through the downspout and into the ground.

    • Prevent ice dams. If possible, remove snow from your roof in between storms to prevent it from piling up.

    • Trim overhanging branches. Cut any branches that are hanging over your roof. This will prevent snow capped branches from melting on your roof, but it will also keep pests like squirrels and rodents at bay .

    • Insulate your attic. Proper attic insulation can keep heat circulating throughout your highest floor, causing most of the snow above it to slough away.

    • Look out for the signs of damage. Warning signs associated with potential roof collapse include sagging or deformed steel, a cracked or split ceiling, and bowed utility pipes, according to property and casualty experts.

    • Hire a snow removal contractor. If you want to keep your roof clear of snow without getting your hands dirty , you can hire a snow removal contractor to remove the snow for you. This will also ensure that the job is done as thoroughly as possible, so you dont accidentally miss any spots.

    Ready to shop home insurance?

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    Homeowners Or Renters Insurance

    When severe weather strikes your home or business, the roof is one of the most vulnerable areas in danger of collapse. To help protect you from these devastating damages, it is always helpful to get a Homeowners or Renters Insurance.

    Home insurance policies help protect you and your family against the devastation of a roof collapse claim. Your homeowners policy will typically cover damages related to roof collapse. However, if you do not have homeowners insurance, or if your policy doesnt cover roof collapse claims, you may need to take out an additional policy.

    Roof collapse claims are one of the most common areas of insurance claims that we see. If you have a roof, it will inevitably need to be repaired, replaced or completely rebuilt at some point in its life. A roof is subjected to extreme weather, making it vulnerable to damage and exposure from things like hail storms, high winds, flooding and other types of storm damage.

    Roof collapse claims are on the rise because of increasingly severe weather conditions in many parts of the country. With the increased frequency of severe weather events, homeowners must be more aware of their responsibilities for maintaining the safety of their property. This is where Roof Collapse Claim comes in.

    Be Aware Of Common Wintertime Roof Collapses

    The most common ways rooftops collapse in wintertime are:

    • Sloped roofs causing refreezing on eaves, leading to ice dams or backup under shingles
    • Poor planning or improper construction
    • An aged building or outdated building codes
    • Allowing snow load to exceed the capacity of the roof
    • Snow drift conditions caused by wind
    • Rain on top of snow, which then freezes
    • Clogged gutters

    Read Also: How To Extend A Metal Roof Overhang

    Roof Collapse: Signs And Prevention

    Having a roof collapse is no small problem. The damage it does to the rest of the building is significant, the injuries it can cause are devastating, and the cost of repairing the roof and the damage caused are potentially impossible to cover. With luck, no one will be hurt and the building will be salvageable, but there are no guarantees.

    Because the risk here is so great, you need to know how to spot the signs of a potential roof collapse and what you should be doing to prevent one from ever occurring. Since you are likely not a roofer by trade, it can be difficult to spot the signs. To make it easier for you, here are the main signs you should look for that point to a future roof collapse.

    If You Live In A Snow Prone Area Roof Collapse Is Something You May Deal With Here Are 9 Key Tips You Should Follow That Can Help You Prevent Roof Collapse

    Roof collapses on building under renovation in Chicago

    Taking care of your roof through the seasons helps keep it safe and secure for the long haul.

    Most roofs last a very long time. A good slate roof should last at least 20 years with normal wear-and-tear. Other roofing materials can last even longer.

    But when the elements get involved, tough weather, heavy debris, or snow can damage your roof.

    One of the most dangerous situations for your roof is sagging. When the snow piles on during the winter, it adds weight to your roof. In warmer climates, debris from fallen limbs and leaves can put too much strain on your roof.

    What can you do about it? Here are nine key tips to follow to help prevent roof collapse.

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    Signs That Show Your Roof Is About To Collapse

    It is imperative to inspect your roof deck regularly and respond accordingly to any structural damage that might cause roof failure. Extreme weather conditions are the most common cause of roof collapses. It is, therefore, very crucial for homeowners to identify and act on signs that a roof is in danger of collapse. It is better to hire a home remodeling contractor to work on your roof property so that you get value for your investment. Below are points you need to be careful of when it comes to proper roof management.

    Does Insurance Cover Roof Damage From Snow

    Yes,homeowners insurance covers roof damage from snow, including roof collapse and related ceiling damage.Ice dams, which can cause your roof to cave in, are also covered.

    Below is how youd be covered by a standard homeowners policy.

    • Dwelling coverage: Pays for the roof repairs and other necessary repairs to the structure of your home.

    • Personal property coverage: Pays for your belongings if theyre damaged by the snow like if your roof collapses and the snow results in water damage to your stuff stored in the attic.

    • Loss of use coverage: Pays for you to temporarily live elsewhere, like a hotel, if the snow damage to your roof is severe like the entire thing collapses and its unsafe for you to live there while its being repaired.

    Unless specificallyexcluded from your policy, homeowners insurance may also cover related weather conditions like:

    • Wind and hail damage from a blizzard

    • Water damage from aroof leak if a snowstorm creates an opening in your roof

    • Frozen or busted pipes as long as the pipes were properly maintained prior to the damage

    Ready to shop home insurance?

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    Dont Want To Sell Update Instead

    Time to Paint.Add Shutters.Get a New Garage Door. Step Up Siding.Invest in Windows.

    These upgrades will make your home feel new again, and if you do decide to sell, after all, your new-and-improved curb appeal will attract buyers!Learn more about how Scott Exteriors can help you update your home today by calling 214-503-7663.

    Use Caution When Removing Snow Or Debris

    Clear your roof to prevent collapse

    Be careful what you use to remove snow or debris.

    Weve already mentioned how important it is to remove heavy snow from your roof. Be sure you only use tools that wont cause damage to your roof.

    Heavy snowblowers can do more harm than good. You could add weight on top of the weight of the snow while trying to clear your roof.

    Sharp objects could damage your roof shingles or tiles while you chip and scoop snow away.

    Take it slow and use tools with dull edges that wont cause damage as you remove snow.

    Also Check: Roofing Cost Los Angeles

    Sprinkler Heads Pushing Downward

    Another sign of impending roof collapse is when the building sprinkler heads begin to push down and out of their housings. Such a development indicates the presence of tremendous pressure from the roof above and risk of the deckâs collapse. If the roof is fixed before collapsing, the sprinkler heads may need attention as well. The reason for that is the pressure and the warping often block sprinklers from deploying and functioning properly in the event of a fire.

    How Much Does It Cost To Repair A Collapsed Ceiling

    While the total cost of repairs depends on the composition and damage extent, the average price tag is as follows :

    • Fix a sagging ceiling: $250 to $1,000
    • Stop leaks or water damage: $500 to $2,500
    • Replace a ceiling: $400 to $1,000
    • Address structural damage: $2,000-$8,000

    Its possible that your landlord may be reluctant to fix cosmetic issues such as small water stains or water accumulation on the floor because of the cost. However, this kind of problem is usually indicative of more serious issues including black mold that could form due to roof leaks. These types of issues should always be addressed. An inspection should be conducted to determine the cause of the leaks with a report generated on how to repair the issues for your health and safety.

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    Visual Warning Signs Of A Potential Roof Collapse

    When inspecting your roof, start with what you can see. Sagging structural support and ceilings are often clearly visible. If you stand outside, your roof should be straight, and all the shingles should be in good condition.

    Check for bacterial or mold growth on the shingles and make sure that there is no accumulation of water in gutters or on the roofing material if you have a flat roof. After an electrical or windy storm, have your roof thoroughly inspected for wind or lightning damage.

    The lines across your ceiling should be straight. Once a month, take a level and place it at key points against the ceiling. If the level bubble is not in the middle, it is an indication that the roof is sagging.

    Smoke alarms and fire sprinklers that stick out and protrude towards the floor can also be an indication that the roof structure is no longer in the best possible condition. If you can, check for visible signs of damage in the attic.

    Other visual clues that you may be dealing with a problematic roof include cracks in the interior and exterior walls, leaks, and bending door frames. A warped door frame is a clear indication that the supporting structure is no longer doing its job and that the roof is now depending on non-supporting structures to stay up.

    What Steps Should You Take After A Ceiling Failure

    Porch roof collapses at South Bethlehem home (PHOTOS ...

    If you suffer a personal injury in a ceiling collapse, seek medical attention immediately. Be prepared to keep records of your treatment. Afterward, take the following steps:

  • Notify your landlord as soon as possible, both verbally and in writing.
  • Take pictures of the ceiling, debris and your damaged property.
  • Document your injuries and make a list of any damaged or destroyed belongings.
  • Contact an attorney with experience in New York ceiling collapses.
  • The Law Office of Nicholas E. Tzaneteas , among its numerous practice areas, specializes in collapsed ceiling cases. For example, we represented a nursing student who sustained a back injury and required surgery after being struck by a bathroom ceiling that fell on her. The case went to court and the jury found the landlord negligent for failing to repair the ceiling after it had leaked several times. The jury awarded the nurse $6,894,132 in compensation.

    In another case, Mr. Tzaneteas represented a client who was injured after being struck by parts of the apartment ceiling while taking a shower. The client suffered a back injury and required spinal surgery. The jury awarded the client $2,250,000 as compensation for the injuries.

    New York tenants have rights that protect their safety. If a falling ceiling caused property damage, serious injury or a fatality, contact us so that we can help. We are available to provide you with advice.

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