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How to Safely Remove Snow From Your Roof

Having large mounds of snow on the roof might give a building a cozy, cottage-like appearance, but these accumulations can actually be detrimental to both the roof itself and the building structure. When snow piles are especially dense and heavy, they can exceed the weight-bearing capacity of the roof. Excess snow and ice can cause significant damage to the roofing substrate, the flashing, and the downspouts, gutters, and other roof elements. In some instances, snow piles can also result in water damage to the interior of the building. As such, it’s important for homeowners to know how to safely get these accumulations off.

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Removing snow from your roof is yet another wintertime task that you’ll have to stay on top of. If snowfall is regular and heavy in your area, and if your roof pitch or roof slope is shallow or flat, this is something that you can do while cleaning and salting your walkways, driveways, decks, and other frequently used surfaces. Keep in mind that if local temperatures are constantly fluctuating, wet snow and slush can easily refreeze into heavy layers of ice or ice dams along the ridgeline. Ice dams can prevent natural snowmelt and runoff, and they may damage or destroy your downspouts and gutters. Not only is ice more difficult to remove than snow, but it’s also got greater weight. Thus, routine cleanings will minimize the danger of clearing your roof off and prevent more serious problems from developing. 

Determining if and When Rooftop Snow Removal Is Right for Your Home

There are several factors that you should consider when deciding if snow removal is an essential chore for your home. In addition to the roof pitch, think about the amount of sun that the roof gets throughout the day. If your property is surrounded by towering trees or other building structures that dwarf it, natural light and heat may not be sufficient for melting accumulated snow. It’s additionally wise to consider the materials that were used to build your roof. Metal roofing has an innate ability to shed snow on its own and rarely requires additional efforts from homeowners. Conversely, shingled roofs have a tendency to hold snow and will need to be cleared regularly.

The amount of snow on your roof is less important than its weight. This means that snow piles don’t have to be visually impressive in order to cause serious interior damages like rotting ceilings and mold. Compact mounds of snow will consistently apply excess pressure and weight. A coating of light, powdery snow might not be a big deal, but even a thin coating of heavy, ice and snow combined could be a huge concern. Thawing and refreezing tends to make snow coatings heaviest.

If your home is a one-story bungalow or rambler with a roof that can be easily reached from the ground, this is a job you may be able to handle on your own. Choosing the right tools is essential for avoiding damages. Never use a standard yard rake, hammer, or shovel to scoop snow off the roof. If you do, you run the risk of breaking or dislodging shingles and causing other harm. A plastic roof rake that has a bumper and small wheels is perfect for this work.

Always have a second person acting as a spotter when clearing your roof. Try to anticipate where the snow will fall when you start agitating it and calculate where you’ll throw it. The goal is to avoid pulling down a heavy load of snow and ice on top of you or on top of anyone helping you. You also want to avoid causing impact-related damages to any nearby structures. Stand a safe distance away from the roof and use your rake to remove collected snow in small increments, starting at the overhang and gradually moving your way back.

Safe snow removal can only be accomplished by homeowners when roofs are relatively low to the ground and easy to access. Don’t try to set up your ladder on any slick, slippery surfaces to access roof areas that are hard to reach. This is unsafe and always ill-advised. If you need help clearing off your snow-covered roof, we can help. Call us today at 913-850-6556.