Building for Snow

For over 30 years, Robert S. Ralston & Associates has been designing buildings in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, which averages over 300 inches of snow annually. We have pioneered designs for roof systems that withstand the heavy snow and winter conditions that are common in the mountains of northwest Colorado. Below are some examples of roofs that are designed to deal well with large quantities of snow and also some examples of poorly functioning roofs. Click on thumbnails to read more.


Ventilated Cold Roof & Cold Attic

A properly functioning ventilated cold roof system will allow snow to remain on the roof and only melt when the outside temperature rises above freezing. This prevents ice buildup, as in this photo of home a designed by our firm.



Low Slope Roof
These low slope membrane roofs are designed to carry the snow load. An interior drain warmed by heat from the building carries water from melting snow off of the roof, and the snow on the roof provides additional insulation to the building.



Metal Roof
This is a warm metal roof that will shed snow on warm days. Care must be taken in planning the roof so that shedding snow does not fall where it might harm people or damage property.



Problem Roofs
These are some examples of roofs that do not function well in a snowy environment.