When you start to see that snow is building up and there’s more than 12 inches of it on your roof, you need to get rid of it.
If you want to remove snow from your roof instead of calling the professionals to do it, you will naturally want to know how to do so quickly and efficiently. Here’s how to remove snow off roof in under 10 minutes!
What Are The Dangers Of Snow On Your Roof?
While you might think it’s not a big deal to have snow accumulate on your roof as it will just melt, it can cause you many problems.
Here’s why it’s essential to remove snow from your roof promptly.
Snow adds weight to your roof. Thick snow puts strain on your roof and can cause it to develop problems, such as by damaging the roof shingles.
When snow melts, this forms ice which damages the roof shingles and gutters. By leaving the snow to melt, you’re putting pressure on these roof elements that will have to be repaired or replaced in future, costing you lots of money.
How Much Snow Is Safe To Leave On A Roof?
Most roofs can tolerate about 12 inches of accumulated snow.
If you don’t remove it when it reaches this quantity, it can cost you more to have it professionally removed. So, it’s in your best interest to get it removed as quickly as possible.
As an example, if you remove 12 inches of snow from a 2,500 square foot roof, this could cost you $250, but removing 24 inches could increase that cost to $500!
How To Remove Snow Off Roof From The Ground
One of the easiest, quickest ways to remove snow from your roof is to do so from the ground. As long as you have the right tools at your disposal, this method will save you from having to climb up onto the roof and risk injuries.
You will need a long-handled snow rake. This is ideal for working with snow that’s fresh. Make sure the snow rake has a built-in roller so that the blade will be used safely against the shingles instead of causing your roof damage.
When removing snow from your roof from the ground, make sure you anticipate where the snow will fall as you remove it so that you don’t get it onto yourself, your kids, or your pets.
While you might assume that you have to remove all the snow you can see, which might not always be possible, you don’t have to do that.
You just have to ensure that you remove a large amount of it so that there’s no heavy weight being placed on your roof as this can cause problems, such as sagging or other damage.
Extra tips for removing snow off the roof from the ground:
Before you start removing the snow with your rake, check the roof for any loose shingles. Avoid these with your rake so you don’t break them.
Check where the power lines above you are located so that you don’t accidentally touch or damage them with your rake.
Check the area around you as this is where you will be shoveling the snow to avoid getting it where you don’t want it.
Ensure that you have the right length of snow rake and there’s enough room for you to start from the edge of the roof and work your way towards the middle.
Carefully lift the snow rake up towards the ridge in the middle of the roof and pull it back. This will knock snow off the roof onto the ground.
If you have a pitched roof, make sure your snow rake is designed for this type of roof.
If you have a flat roof, shovel the snow over the side away from the building.
How To Remove Snow Off Roof From The Top
You can also climb a ladder and get closer to the roof so that you can remove snow from the roof from higher up.
You will need to be experienced with walking on your roof, however, as this can be dangerous and shouldn’t be attempted by someone who’s inexperienced.
To ensure you have extra safety, consider the use of a safety harness.
You will use a rake or shovel to remove the snow from the roof. Make sure that the tool you use is up for the job so you can complete it quickly. For example, if you’re using a shovel, make sure that it’s got a heavy-duty metal strip to scoop up snow and a D-shaped grip so that you can comfortably hold it.
Once you’ve got your tools, here are the steps to follow:
Set your ladder against one end of the roof and anchor it in place, such as with roof ladder hooks.
Climb up the ladder, holding the shovel in one hand.
When you reach the top, move about three feet away from the edge of the roof and focus on the snow above the snow that’s on the edge. This is because the bit of snow at the edge will prevent you from falling off the roof should you slip.
Shovel snow away from where you set up your ladder. This will make it easy for you to get down from the roof when you are finished with your task. It will also prevent you from having to walk across the roof when you’re done, which is risky as there won’t be anymore snow to break your fall.
How Much Does Snow Removal Cost?
Earlier, we mentioned how the more you allow snow to accumulate on your roof the more it will cost you to have it removed by a professional. But how much you can expect to pay for snow removal depends on the size of your roof.
The average roof is about 2,500 square feet in size. Snow removal will cost you about $50 to $100 per hour and it will take approximately five hours to complete.
You also have to consider the shape of your roof as this can bump up the cost of snow removal. For example, if the surface of your roof is sloped or otherwise difficult to access this can cost you approximately $100 or more per hour.
What About Ice Dams?
The situation of snow removal becomes trickier if you have ice dams. These are when snow on the roof melts and refreezes at the roof edge.
They’re dangerous because they cause water to accumulate underneath the shingles, which can cause them to become damaged or start to leak.
Ice dams are also dangerous because they cause icicles that fall to the ground and can land on people walking underneath the roof. To remove ice dams, you can expect to pay between $600 and $1,500.
To prevent ice dams, you have to do more than remove snow from your roof regularly. You have to ensure your house has the correct ventilation and insulation in the attic.
Should You Melt Snow On Your Roof?
There are some products that are said to be useful for melting snow that’s on your roof, but you should tread carefully because they can damage your roof.
For example, if the products contain calcium chloride, these will melt the ice but can damage your roof in various ways. They corrode roofing nails, causing loose shingles; they also corrode your gutters and aluminum siding. Their runoff kills grass and plants, so they should be avoided.
Another common ingredient praised for removing snow from roofs is rock salt, or sodium chloride. Since it has oxidizing ingredients in it, it can damage nails and shingles. Rock salt also stains the roof and walls, so you should avoid using it.
Can you walk on a snow-covered roof?
You should never attempt to walk on a roof that’s covered in snow. This can compact the snow and make it damage your roof. Always rake the snow off from the ground or climb up on a ladder without getting onto the snow-covered roof.
What roof materials are the most durable against snow?
Shingles like slate or asphalt tolerate the weight of snow well, but asphalt shingles are more affordable and can be replaced much easier if they become damaged.
If you’re worried about the weight of snow on your roof, you have to remove it.
Instead of purchasing products that could contain harsh ingredients that cause damage to the very thing you’re trying to protect, you should either consider removing the snow yourself with the use of a rake or shovel, or contacting a professional to help you.
James Weldon is a professional roofing contractor with many years of experience on the job. He does not only handle large projects and provide excellent services for his company’s many clients; James Weldon also dedicates his spare time to teaching others useful tricks of the trade. Using BuildCampus as an avenue to reach many roofers and aspiring roofing contractors, James Weldon continues to provide high-quality educational posts and buying recommendations for anyone who visits the website.