How to calculate carport roof loads

Written by gregory jenkins
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How to calculate carport roof loads
Calculate a carport roof load using measurements and guidance from local building codes. (calculator image by L. Shat from

Roof loads are used to determine the size of beams, joists and columns that support a roof. Calculate the carport roof load using a combination of the dead-load and live-load measurements. The dead load consists of the actual weight of materials that comprise the roof, plus any fixed equipment that the roof supports. The live load is determined by applicable building codes and usually consists of components for snow load, and the estimated weight of persons and equipment required to maintain the roof. Both dead load and live load are expressed in pounds per square foot.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Calculator
  • Local building code
  • American Society of Civil Engineers Publication 7-05

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  1. 1

    Measure the length and width of the carport to determine the area of the roof in square feet. Multiply the length by the width to get the measurement for the area.

    How to calculate carport roof loads
    Measure the Roof (tape measure image by Alison Bowden from
  2. 2

    Determine dead load by identifying the amount of each construction material used in the roof. Identify the weight of each, using the American Society of Civil Engineers Publication 7-05 as a the nationally accepted source for weights of construction materials. Add the weight of equipment, if any, mounted on the roof. Divide the total roof weight by the area of the carport to express dead load in pounds per square foot.

  3. 3

    Determine the live load. Consult the building code for your municipality or region for specific weights and requirements.

  4. 4

    Add the dead load and the live load to obtain the total load, in pounds per square foot, of a carport roof.

Tips and warnings

  • Make a list containing each construction material and its weight, to stay organised.
  • Underestimating a carport roof load could lead to the roof's collapse. Double-check your work.

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