I’m sure at one point or another you’ve pondered the thought of roof snow and how much is too much. Many people worry that a few feet or even inches of snow might compromise the structural integrity of their roof due to the weight.
By the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll be well-informed on the intricacies of roof snow and how to deal with any problems that might arise.
How much snow is too much for my roof to support?
The good news is that most roofs are built with very high standards. This means that they’ll be able to carry heavy weights — including snow — for long periods of time such as winter. You’ll most likely not need to worry about getting rid of the snow on your roof.
As a matter of fact, building codes require that all residential roofs need to be built with the ability to endure the heaviest possible snowfall in their area. If your roof was installed by a professional and built up to standard, you shouldn’t have any problems.
That said, there are some occasions where roofs can’t take the load. Perhaps your roof was old and built in accordance with older, more lax regulations. Of course, there’s also the chance that the snow was just at a volume so large that the weight managed to cause damage to the roof over time.
Roofs that have a more gentle pitch or are perhaps even flat will be more susceptible to the weight of snow. Steeper roofs won’t struggle as much due to the fact that most of the snow will just slide right off. You can find out whether or not the snow on your roof is too much — and whether or not it’s a threat — by inspecting your home from within.
Look at the doors that are nearest to the center of your home. Inspect from the top floor, ideally an attic if you have one. If you notice that doors on the top floor are beginning to stick or resist movement when you open them, that may be a sign that the weight is becoming too much for your roof to handle.
If this is the case, you should get the snow off your roof as soon as possible. You should also keep a lookout for cracks in the plaster near these doors. Your home is at greater risk if you’ve recently remodeled it.
For instance, you might’ve taken down a wall that was helping the roof carry its weight. If this is the case, the snow on your roof might be the final nudge that leads to a total collapse.
While a roof collapsing with snow might seem like a comical scene in your mind, it can actually be a very dangerous scenario. You could become trapped in your own bed under a pile of snow. Hypothermia won’t even be your main concern as you’ll suffocate within minutes.
How to safely remove roof snow
The safest way to get rid of the snow on your roof is by using a roof rake. You don’t even need to use a ladder. All you need to do is stand safely on the ground and use the rake with a pole extension so that it can rake all the snow off your roof.
Just ensure that the ground isn’t too slippery and also that you’re physically fit enough to handle the weight of the rake as you remove the snow. Roof rakes aren’t too costly. Most of them go for between $60 and $80.
If you want a higher-end model though, you could buy a premium roof rake that should retail for close to $200. Be sure to pick one that has small wheels near the blade of the rake.
The wheels will ensure that the blade of the rake doesn’t damage the coating on your shingles by scraping up on it. The coating on your shingles protects your roof from UV rays and fire, so the last thing you want to do is scrape it off with a rake.
Should I do it myself?
In nearly all cases that involve roof work during the winter, your best bet is to call a professional to handle it for you. Numerous people die annually by taking roof work into their own hands during the iciest time of the year.
Professional snow removers are trained in the art of removing frozen water safely. They have years of experience and all the right tools, so it’s only fitting that you let them handle the task instead of taking it on by yourself. Don’t put your life in jeopardy just to save a few extra bucks. Remember, hospital bills cost more than the snow removers do.