How to Safely Remove Snow from Your Roof

Snow rake removal

Everyone who lives in an area that receives snowfall is aware of the damages that snow can present especially when snow falls in large, heavy amounts. Shoveling snow can be time consuming and heavy work. In order to prevent snow damage to your roof, it is recommended to safely remove the snow to prevent structural damage.

What to Consider when Removing Snow

In order to prevent collapsing of your roof which often results in extensive interior water damage including rotting ceilings and warping roofs.

Consider the snow load, the exposure the roof has to the sun and the slope of the roof.
Take into consideration the roofing material used – metal roofs tend to shed snow and ice better, where shingled roofs tend to hold the snow.

Weight of the snow matters more than how much snow has accumulated on your roof. If you have a small, one-story bungalow where the roof is just off the ground, taking matters into one’s own hands may be safe.  Remove whatever snow you can reach with your roof rake while standing on the ground, and focus on the overhangs to prevent ice dams from forming.

Use plastic roof rakes made with small wheels and a bumper to keep from damaging the surface or shingles of your rooftop. Metal rakes often may add to the damage of your home’s roof.

How to Remove Snow From Your Roof Safely

There are a few things to consider before you remove snow from your roof. Be aware of all potential dangers including the structure of the roof and personal damage such as sliding off the roof or ladder, overexertion or injury from falling snow. The goal of removing snow is to relieve the excessive load of weight on your roof, not to remove all of the snow.

Never clear snow from your roof alone. Be sure to include a spotter to see where you will be throwing snow. Be aware that hard clumps of snow or ice being thrown from the roof could cause damage to people and objects below. You’ll need to anticipate where the snow and ice will fall as you pull it off your roof — you won’t want to pull a load of heavy, wet snow down on top of yourself or any helpers.

Work from the overhangs and up, removing small amounts of snow at a time. Do not remove too much snow at once the snow may increase in weight making it difficult to clear. Take your roof rake, which you can make yourself and while standing at a safe distance, begin pulling the snow from your roof slowly.

Leaving a thin coat of snow on your roof can help reduce further damage done to the roof of your home. If your home has shingles, this will reduce the need to replacing many of them come the spring.

Rake your roof after every 6 inches or so of snowfall. Raking often reduces the risk of ice dams forming. What is an ice dam? An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, and insulation.

Don’t forget to check your downspouts and gutters. Break apart the chunks that may have formed to help the melting snow drain easily from your roof. Prevent ice in your gutters by making sure your gutters face downward. Clean your gutters in the fall. Stay away from ice picks, blow torches and axes which can prove to be dangerous to yourself and your roof.

Be sure to use non-salt chemical de-icer to remove ice from the edge of your. Stay clear of shovels, hatches, hammers or other heavy equipment. Chopping and cutting could cause more harm and damage to the roof.

Need Help? Call a Professional

Do not attempt to take matters into your own hands by climbing up onto your roof. Keep your ladder in the garage. Test the snow on your roof prior to removing any snow. If the snow is too heavy to move while raking, be sure to call a professional at Columbine Roofing, to remove the snow safely minimalizing damage to your roof.