Roof Snow Removal 101: The Ultimate Guide to Clearing Your Roof

Snow may look pretty and delicate while it’s falling, but it can be just as destructive as high winds or flood waters. Allowing snow to accumulate on your roof endangers both your property and your family. The smart homeowner takes the necessary steps to keep his roof clean throughout the winter months.

Why Clearing Snow From the Roof Is Important

According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, freshly fallen snow can weigh as much as 5 pounds per square foot. An accumulation of 2 feet of fresh snow along with 2 feet of packed snow underneath can weigh up to 60 pounds per square foot.

Clearing snow and ice is important because your roof was never designed to handle the excess weight of significant accumulation. Moreover, accumulated snow can lead to ice dams that could eventually pull down your gutters. Melted snow can even make its way underneath shingles to damage the underlying structure and foundation.

Know When It’s Time to Remove Snow

Your best bet for protecting your roof is to learn to recognize when it’s time to remove the snow. It starts with simple observation. When it appears as though your roof has more than a few inches of snow accumulation, you need to begin thinking about roof snow removal.

Find a way to safely access your roof, then cut away a 1 square-foot section of snow and ice. Make sure your sample goes all the way down to the shingles. Put the sample in a garbage bag and weigh it. If it weighs 25 pounds or more, your roof is already in the danger zone. If it weighs upwards of 60 pounds, clearing your roof is an immediate priority.

Roof Snow Removal Warning Signs

There are signs you can look for that suggest the snow load on your roof is too high:

  • Water spots on your ceilings
  • Cracks in your drywall
  • Sticking or jamming doors

In a perfect world, you would not wait for such signs to appear. But things happen. If you notice any of these signs in conjunction with heavy snow accumulation on your roof, it may be time to remove the snow.

The Proper Way to Remove Snow From the Roof

The proper way to remove snow from the roof depends on the style of your roof. For pitched roofs, use a plastic snow rake specifically designed for the job. Start at the edge of the roof and work in, being careful not to deliberately scrape clear down to the shingles. On a flat roof, use a plastic snow shovel to throw the snow clear away from the roof.

Salt-free deicing chemicals and electrical deicing cables are another option for roof snow removal. Both can remove snow and ice without the same risk of damage presented by snow rakes and shovels. Whatever you do, never attempt to clear your roof with a heat gun, open flame, or any heavy equipment that could damage shingles or tiles.

Roof Snow Removal Tips

Industry experts offer the following tips:

  • Never attempt to clear your roof from snow alone. Enlist the assistance of at least one family member or friend capable of acting as an extra set of eyes and a safety monitor.
  • If you can access your roof without a ladder – with a long pole, for instance – do so. Otherwise, be very careful about snow and ice buildup on ladder rungs.
  • When clearing the roof, be sure to not allow snow and ice to accumulate in the gutters.
  • Never throw ice chunks off the roof without knowing what is below.

Professional Roof Snow Removal Services

The absolute best way to clear your roof is to hire a professional snow removal service. Professional services have the right tools and equipment to do the job safely. They also know how to effectively clear a roof of snow and ice without damaging shingles, vents, or the roof structure itself.

Be sure that the roofing service you choose is experienced and insured. Don’t be afraid to ask for references either. The more you can do to protect yourself, the better off you will be.

The Cost of Roof Snow Removal

The cost of roof snow removal varies by geographic region. Prices are influenced by roof size, roof style (pitched or flat), structural height, the amount of snow and ice to be removed, and demand for services at any given time.

According to the CostOwl consumer website, the current cost of roof snow removal is between $100 and $300 for 2,500 square feet of roof space. That’s not a bad price when you consider how much it could cost to repair your roof in the event of significant damage.

Snow accumulation on your roof is nothing to play around with. If your roof has more than an inch or two of accumulation, you should seriously consider clearing it. Don’t wait until your roof is in danger of collapse to do something about it.

Roof Snow Removal in New York and New Jersey

A & J Reliable, Inc. offers professional roof snow removal services all throughout the tri-state area, including New York, New Jersey, and Fairfield, Connecticut. For more information on our commercial and residential snow removal services, please contact us today! For emergency roof repair, please call the number that is closest to your county.