Roofing Upgrades And Heavier Loads: Calculating Loads And Doing Structural Improvements

If you need to replace your roof, you may be considering upgrading the shingles with more durable or efficient materials. The only problem is that a lot of these options weigh a lot more than conventional asphalt shingles, and conventional balloon framing is not usually designed to support these types of roof loads. This does not mean that you cannot replace asphalt shingles with clay or slate tiles and other materials; it just means that some improvements to the structure will be needed.

Consulting with a Structural Engineer to Inspect the Roof Structure and Calculate What Needs to Be Done to Support Loads

The first thing that you will want to do if you are planning on upgrading your asphalt shingles with heavier materials is to consult a structural engineer. There are many different things that need to be done to prepare your roof structures for the extra weight. A structural engineer will inspect the existing structure and recommend the correct improvements to support the weight of the new materials. They will also be able to give you ideas for different options, so you will be able to choose the most cost-effective solution to update the roof structure.

Reinforcing the Rafters with Larger Lumber and Engineered Wood Products to Support the Load of New Roofing

One of the improvements that may have been recommended by the structural engineer is reinforcing the existing rafters. This may be done with materials that are wider, as well as lumber species that are stronger, such as using yellow pine materials to reinforce softer spruce and Douglas fir lumber that is commonly used for the rafters of conventional balloon-framed wood structures like homes. Today, there are also engineered lumber products that can be used to add extra support for roof loads when upgrading your home with heavier roofing.

Carrying the Structural Loads Down from the Roof to Structural Footing Beams of Your Foundation

One common problem when heavier loads are added to the roof is that they are not properly carried down to the foundation. Therefore, you want to make sure that the roof bracing is carried by a structural post. Loads of the roof should be supported from the roof bracing all the way down to foundation footings. Anywhere there is a void in the wall and the joists of wood framing, you want to fill the space with the correct support to ensure that the roof is being supported by foundation beams that are the footings of the structure. If there are not structural foundation beams in some areas to support the loads, they may need to be added to ensure that the foundation can also support the extra loads of heavier roofing and the structural improvements that support it.

Contacting a Structural Engineer to Inspect the Structural Improvements to Ensure the New Roofing Has the Support It Needs

Lastly, you will want to have the structural improvements inspected before you have the new materials installed. The structural engineer will inspect the framing to ensure all the structural improvements that are needed have been done and will advise you on any work that has been overlooked or additional improvements that may be needed.

While this may be a costly solution when installing new roofing materials on your home, materials like concrete, clay, and slate tiles will outlast conventional shingles. If you are ready to start preparing your home and upgrade your old shingles with more durable materials, contact a roofing contractor and talk to them about options for new roofing and helping with the structural improvements that need to be done before the new roofing is installed.

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