Tips for Removing Snow From Your Roof

May can be an unpredictable month in Utah. One day, Mother Nature will trick you into thinking summer is here to stay, and then the next, it will feel like winter again. After a long winter, most are crossing their fingers for blue skies and sunshine. We are ready for the nostalgic smell of coconut sunscreen and funny tan lines, prepared to say goodbye to snow boots and ice scrapers.

We are ready to eliminate any trace of snow and welcome the sunshine with open arms. Unfortunately, we don’t get to vote on the weather. We get what we get. Let’s talk about the best ways to remove snow from your roof, and hopefully, it will be a one-and-done process until next winter.

Why Remove Snow From Your Roof

Snow accumulation on your roof is heavy and can be dangerous or damaging to your home. Removing snow from your roof is vital if you live in a snowy climate, especially if your home is old or has a flat roof.

When to Remove the Snow

Different roofs may require different maintenance and upkeep.

Sloped Roofs

If you have a sloped roof built to code, you’re in good shape and probably don’t need to remove the snow. Homes with sloped roofs built to code can withstand 20 to 35 pounds per square foot of snow, depending on your local code regulations. On average, snow weighs seven to 20 pounds per cubic foot, so your sloped roof that is up to code does its job with little maintenance.

However, the same doesn’t apply to older roof structures that are not built to today’s codes. Older roofs may sink or collapse when under heavy snow piles. If you fall into that category, remove snow from your roof when it’s about 12 inches or deeper.

Flat Roofs

Unfortunately, a flat roof is more prone to structural damage because its low pitch allows significantly more ice and snow accumulation. Flat roofs can accumulate thousands of pounds of snow, increasing the risk of collapse. Can you imagine your roof caving in during the dead of winter?

Flat roofs require action. Don’t wait until thousands of pounds of snow accumulate to remove it. Try to keep the snow pile under 12 inches in depth. It’s wise to monitor the weather forecast and remove your current 10 inches of snow buildup if you have six more inches projected to come. Don’t get lax and neglect the upkeep of your flat roof. A little work now will save you money and headaches later.

Other Signs

No matter what type of roof you have, FEMA recommends keeping an eye out for these signs to determine if the weight of ice and snow is too heavy for your roof:

  • Ceiling boards sagging or falling out of your ceiling grid
  • Popping, creaking, or cracking sounds
  • Roof members that are sagging
  • Bowing truss bottom chords or web members
  • Windows and doors that you cannot open or close
  • Cracks in masonry or walls
  • Serious leaks in the roof

Removing Snow from Your Roof

1. Use a Roof Rake

Raking is a great way for homeowners to remove snow from their roofs. Before you begin, create a snow-free path around your home make. The path will make moving around much safer. This step is optional, but we recommend it because sometimes snow is much more slippery than anticipated.

Then, place your roof rake at your roof’s edge and pull downward to remove all that snow from your roof, leaving about an inch of snow on your roof. This avoids damaging your roof covering with the rake. If you don’t have a roof rake, use a household item like a rope. This is a safe way to remove snow, but it usually requires two people to pull the heavy-packed snow and ice off your roof with a rope.

2. Install a Heating Cable Before a Big Snow Storm

If you are prepping for a severe storm, installing a heating cable can help melt snow. Once the cable is installed, turn it on and let the magic happen.

3. Purchase De-icer Salt

It works on your driveway, sidewalks, and stairs, and it will also work on your roof. Climbing up to your roof to scrape can be scary and dangerous in the winter. De-icing can be a safer way to remove snow. All you have to do is toss some of the salt on your roof and let it melt the snow and ice into your gutters and run off into your yard.

4. Use a Handheld Snowblower

Do you want to have some fun while removing ice from your roof? Use a handheld snowblower or even a leaf blower. This method doesn’t always work for hard-packed snow, but it’s a fast way to blow off the top layer of snow.

As spring ends, we hope a farewell to winter weather is in order. But until the flakes stop flying, don’t neglect to take care of your roof and remove snow when necessary. It can save your roof from extreme damage. If you learned these lessons the hard way and need a trusted roof repair company, we’d be happy to connect with you.

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