With the first snow of the season upon us, it’s important to take into account the safety and structural integrity of your home. The December nor’easter packed a punch in Delaware, delivering a mix of rain, sleet, and snow, plus strong winds that caused drifting. Much like removing leaves and debris from your roof in the fall, you also need to remove snow from your roof in the winter.
In this guide, we’ll cover when and how to safely remove snow from your roof to prevent unnecessary damage.
The Importance of Snow Removal
As light as a snowball may feel in your hand, large deposits of snow and ice can carry substantial weight. A collection of snow puts stress on your roof that can cause it to weaken or collapse. Snow not only compromises the strength of your roof’s structure but can also break down the various materials protecting it. For instance, damage to shingles can increase risk of water infiltration and water damage from melting snow and ice.
Determining When to Remove Snow from Your Roof
Not every snowfall or storm will require you to bundle up, head outside, and start the snow removal process from your roof. There are a few things to consider when determining whether snow removal is needed.
- Consider the pitch of your roof. If your roof is flatter, snow removal is extremely important. Pitched roofs help prevent extensive snow collection because the angle of the roof encourages the snow to fall off. When snow collects on flat or shallow roofs, it doesn’t have anywhere to go. That means it will continue to collect and eventually melt, leaving water to pool and freeze over on your roof.
- Pay attention to snow density. Inspect the snowfall layers. There’s often a heavy, wet first layer of snow that’s denser and will apply more weight to your roof.
- Address any snowdrifts. It’s uncommon for snow to distribute itself evenly on your roof during a storm. Snow drifts occur when wind pushes the light, freshly fallen snow to different areas. Lack of equal weight distribution can create weak spots in your roof’s structure.
Tip: To see if snow may be causing uneven extra weight on your roof, try opening your doors and windows. If you notice opening them is more difficult or they feel jammed, snow drifts might be putting stress on your roof’s structure.
Tips for Safe Snow Removal
Roof cleaning or repair always requires caution to prevent injury or further roof damage. Here are a few tips to help you avoid accidents and further roof damage during snow removal.
Use Proper Cleaning Tools
The materials of your home are strong, but not impervious to damage. When removing snow from your roof, try using plastic tools instead of metal to avoid damage during the removal process.
Start Cleaning from the Edge
When removing snow, you always want to start from the edge of the roof and work inward, for two reasons:
- Especially if your roof is pitched, the weight of the snow will bear down on your gutters. This means the edge of your roof is experiencing the majority of stress from snow weight.
- Logically, removing snow from the edge first will offer you a clearer path onto the roof to remove snow at the center.
Always Ask for Help
If you don’t feel comfortable removing snow on your own, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Contacting a roofing professional is a great alternative for safe snow removal. Professionals have the skills, expertise, and the right equipment for snow removal and roof access.
Here at Advance Inc., we are proud to offer quality services and reliable resources to our customers and communities. We understand the anxiety associated with protecting your home during the winter season and hope you find these tips helpful.