Avoid A Roof Collapse From Heavy Snow – Here’s How To Remove Snow From Your Home’s Roof

Every winter somewhere in this country an unusually heavy snowfall will result with some buildings collapsing under the extreme weight of snow accumulating on the roof.

Though the nightly news may only converge on large industrial or commercial buildings that buckle under the stress, this is indeed a concern that every homeowner needs to take seriously.

removing-snow-from-roof-by-Cory-Blundon.jpg

 

Living in Duluth, Minnesota we are very familiar with heavy snowfall.

Surprisingly, even here — where we expect extreme accumulations of snow — occasionally a structure will fail and collapse.

After the first foot of snow has fallen, I start monitoring my roof as I don’t want to let it build up beyond about that 12-inch mark. Often with sunny weather, the snow will melt away.  But every couple years or so, it will stick around until I’m forced to head on up on the roof with my snow shovel and clear it away.

 

How To Remove Snow From A Sloped Roof

many-feet-of-snow-removal-by-Simonds.jpg

Removing snow should be done very cautiously. Not only is snow shoveling a very strenuous activity, there is also great danger of damaging the roof surface itself and creating more problems than what the snow itself presents.

The majority of sloped roofs are shingled with asphalt shingles and if treated too aggressively, they will either break away, or their lifespan will be shortened. Not only must you use care with your snow removal methods, it’s also wise to choose your snow removal tools wisely.

Metal tools are more likely to catch and damage shingles, especially if they have ragged edges. I use an aluminum scoop shovel like this one to clear my roof. But to make sure I don’t damage shingles, I try to remove snow down to the point there is still an inch or so left on the roof. By not scraping the roof clean, the gravel surface of the shingles won’t be scraped away and the roof will live out its expected lifespan intact. That last bit of snow will melt away the first sunny day that comes along, as the dark surface of the shingles will absorb the heat of the sun.

Plastic tools like these plastic snow shovels are much less likely to catch on shingles and do damage. However, stay away from the curved sidewalk type of shovel that’s designed to be pushed across a surface to move the snow away. This type will damage your roof’s shingles.

Snow rakes are often used to remove snow from roofs as well. A snow rake has a blade, or cutter, that is attached to a long pole allowing you to remain on the ground as you pull sections of snow from a sloped roof surface. This works great on a garage or single floor ranch style home.

 

Here’s a video of 2 different roof rakes being compared side by side:

 

 

How To Remove Snow From A Flat Roof

Flat roofs are just a lot of work to keep clean, period. Finding some young strong physically fit men to do the job is well worth the expense.

This video clearly shows that shoveling is hard work:

 

 

Snow Usually Slides Right Off Metal Roofs

Of course if you’re very lucky, you may have a metal roof, so when the heat of the sun hits it, the snow just slides right off.

This video of a self-cleaning roof shows how Mother Nature does the work for you:

 

 

The Dangers Of Rooftop Snow & Ice Removal

When clearing snow from the roof of a multi-story home, it may be best to hire professionals. The danger of serious injury (or death) is always present when working at heights, and when dealing with snow it’s even more dangerous. One wrong move and you could slip and go over the side before you have a chance to do anything about it.

dangerous-icicles-by-Mikey-G-Ottawa.jpg Also, watch out for ice hanging off the edge of your roof. Weighing hundreds of pounds, a large icicle can easily kill anyone unfortunate enough to be struck should it break loose and fall to the ground.

How ever you decide to remove the snow on your roof, please use care and always remember safety first. Have someone outside with you. That way, in case of an accident, someone will be there to get help.

Check out these tips for dealing with dangerous icicles.

 

 

Curtis Carper

I’ve been involved in RVing for over 40 yrs -- including camping, building, repairing, and even selling RVs. I’ve owned, used, and repaired almost every class and style of RV ever made. I do all of my own repair work. My other interests include cooking at home, living with an aging dog, and dealing with diabetic issues. If you can combine a grease monkey with a computer geek, throw in a touch of information nut and organization freak, combined with a little bit of storyteller, you've got a good idea of who I am.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Google Plus

Fun From Around the Web

  • OMG its Snowing

    Have you noticed alll the snow in Washington … guess its from that Globally Warming thingy Al Gores warning us about… We need to learn how to get snow off the roof if this Global Warming weather keeps going.

  • OMG its Snowing

    Have you noticed alll the snow in Washington … guess its from that Globally Warming thingy Al Gores warning us about… We need to learn how to get snow off the roof if this Global Warming weather keeps going.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jason.fischer.5496 Jason Fischer

      I love it when people use the “I can’t believe scientists say it’s warming when we’re getting snow!” “argument” – it really effectively reveals the commenter’s utter ignorance in as little time as possible.

      First, learn the difference between weather and climate. After you’re done with that, learn what climate change scientists actually predict. Then get back to us.

      Here’s a hint for your studies: No climate change scientist has predicted that “global warming” means the end of all snowfall.

      • JT

        Of course not, because as it stands now, ‘scientists’ can claim they are correct and attribute everything to global warming regardless of what happens. It doesn’t snow — evidence of global warming. It does snow – again, evidence of global warming. Nice gig if you can get it.. I’d like to be in the Heads I Win, Tails You Lose business too..

  • Adam

    Thank you for the advice!! This is our first year in Esko, MN and our first house where roof snow removal is an issue. I was up there today breaking it up, but I’ll stop taking it down to the shingles per your warnings. I was wondering though, should I avoid plastic shovels because they will scrape against the shingles? Thanks again!

  • Adam

    Thank you for the advice!! This is our first year in Esko, MN and our first house where roof snow removal is an issue. I was up there today breaking it up, but I’ll stop taking it down to the shingles per your warnings. I was wondering though, should I avoid plastic shovels because they will scrape against the shingles? Thanks again!

  • RSETTEMBRE

    try using a Roof Blaster. Go to http://www.waycoolproduct.com to see a video on this amazing roof snow removal tool. ALWAYS WEAR OSHA APPROVED ROOF SAFETY HARNESS AND SAFETY LINE. HAVE A FALL PREVENTION PLAN AND A RESCUE PLAN. DO NOT TAKE CHANCES WITH YOUR SAFETY.

  • jay

    Snow Solution is licensed and insured also they are some of the best people to have on your roof. they did mine!!! 203-491-9222

  • http://www.HomeTipsandTools.com tinagleisner

    Thanks for explaining to everyone how to shovel a roof safely as there are way too many homeowners using a regular, metal shovel and causing more damage.

  • greggreene

    You have done a nice job of explaining how to safely remove snow. My company provides this service to homeowners in the greater Boston area, but we also recommend a roof ice melt system that prevents ice dams from forming, described here … http://icemeltne.com/ice-dam-prevention-technology/