Is it snowing in Branford? If you can remember way back in 2011, snow made roofs of buildings collapse. The good thing was that nobody got hurt. Homeowners in areas that receive snow should realize the value of keeping their roofs snow-free. With that, it’s important to know how to remove snow from roof.

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How to do that? We’ll discuss three ways in this guide. But first, let’s explore the consequences of snow piling up on the roof:

  • The weight of the snow – According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, roofs can only support up to 20 lb per square foot of snow. When it reaches that point, your roof becomes stressed.
  • Formation of ice dams – You not only deal with weight problems but also the potential for ice damming. After a heavy snowfall, a poorly ventilated roof (warm attic) causes the snow to melt. Water runs down the edges of the roof and refreezes. Excess water pools on the roof and may enter your home.
sharp icicles below roof edges

Ice dams form at the edges of the roof when snow melts and refreezes. They put strain on the roof. Not to mention water that seeps into your home and possible accidents these ice dams cause.

  • Leaks inside the house – Leaks are the consequence of ice damming. Water the penetrates the roof and drips from the ceiling. Prevent leaks from taking place by planning a roof snow removal with a roofing contractor.

How to Remove Snow from Roof

If you’re dealing with excess snow, never go up the roof to remove it yourself! People die every year because of working at heights, and contractors are no exception. Without the skill and experience, roofing jobs present more risk. Also, DIY jobs don’t just harm homeowners but further damage the roof material.

The steps below are meant to inform you of the process of snow removal from roof.

1. Know when to start the roof snow removal process.

Roofs that are flat should be clear from snow sooner than steep roofs. Flat or low slope roofing systems are more likely to collapse (recall the 2011 news). This is because flat roofs collect snow than drain it. 12 inches of snow can be too much. Start clearing the roof before the snow reaches 12 inches.

Pay attention to the appearance of snow. Is it light, powdery, or fluffy? Or does it look wet and heavy? If it’s the former, then you know that snow hasn’t put stress on the roof yet.

2. Prepare all the right tools for the job.

Using the right tools makes a world of difference in the quality and safety of the job. When figuring out how to remove snow from roof, a homeowner may ask, “Is a shovel or rake the best tool?” Whether you use a shovel or rake depends on the size of your roof and height of your house.

how to remove snow from roof

A common tool for removing snow on the roof is a shovel or rake. Rakes are for snow on smaller roofs with one story. A shovel is used on two-story houses with bigger roofs.

Contractors use a rake for small homes with one story. A rake can also remove light and powdery snow with ease. If you have a two-story house, a contractor will only use a rake to clear the overhangs. This prevents ice dams from forming. A rake with rollers minimizes contact with the roof material. On the other hand, a shovel effectively removes heavy snow that has hardened on a tall house.

Your roofing contractor may use a snow pusher for a flat roof, instead of a shovel or rake. People can use a snow pusher without difficulty on an even surface. Basically, licensed roofing contractors know the best snow removal equipment to use.

3. Leave 2 inches of snow on the roof.

One rule on how to remove snow from roof is to leave the last layer of ice. You are to remove only the upper layers of snow – not the final layer. Trying to get rid of everything can result in the damage of your roofing shingles.

The goal is to remove the excess weight caused by snow – not everything.

Some Do’s and Don’ts When Removing Snow from the Roof

Here are some more tips to keep in mind:

1. Make sure that the area around your house is clear.

A safe and easy way to remove snow from roof is to create a clear perimeter. You want to accomplish the job on a stable ground and avoid accidents.

2. Do not use rock salt on roof shingles.

Previously, we wrote up a guide on deciding which color to pick for your roof. Now, what does roof color have to do with snow removal?

Well, some homeowners think that because rock salt can be used on driveways, it’s applicable on rooftops. Rock salt creates discolored roof shingles and degrades the material. Avoid this solution.

3. Start the job while the snow is still 6 inches thick.

three houses with snow on their roofs

If you’ve got 6 inches of snow on your roof, have it removed. Don’t wait for the snow to further accumulate and put it at risk for collapsing.

Snow removal becomes more dangerous when the snow piles up. Begin the task while you see a thin layer or if the thickness is at 6 inches.

4. Wear appropriate clothing.

Given the freezing temperatures in winter and the danger of going up the roof, it’s important to wear the right clothing. Layers of warm clothing are the best. Also, workers should warm up their bodies first before they proceed.

5. Hire a roofing contractor.

As we mentioned previously, gaining knowledge on how to remove snow from roof is necessary. The work is best left to the professionals. Experts possess the knowledge, skills, and tools to do the job correctly on the first attempt.

Did You Learn Today? Get in Touch with Us!

Thank you for reading this guide on how to remove snow from roof. Amity Home Maintenance Solutions is a licensed and insured roofing company in Branford CT. If you need more advice on roofing during winter, leave a comment below or call us at (203) 678-9890..