‘Tis the season for bright lights, holiday tunes and snow flurries. Depending on what part of the country you live in, snow flurries could pose a threat to your roof if they accumulate too quickly and are slow to melt. Your roof is your home’s first line of defense from the cold weather, so it’s important to ensure you’re keen on the best ice and snow removal practices. Michigan-based Aspen General Manager Mike has a few pointers for keeping your roof at its best this winter.
“Too much snow could collapse your roof. It could start leaking through penetrations and flashings and cause ice damming along the eaves.” To remove snow from your roof, Mike recommends using a roof rake, a tool designed to get the job done without damaging your shingles. You can find roof rakes at your local hardware store. He advises against heavy duty tools like pressure washers and shovels, which could damage the roof by removing granules or entire shingles.
How do you know when snow pileup is too much for your roof to handle? When upper floor bedroom and closet doors begin sticking upon opening and closing, this can indicate that the weight on the roof is too heavy for the door frame. You may also see cracks in the drywall or plaster around the frame. To be safe, you may consider taking action at 6 or more inches of snow. If your home hasn’t had ice dam issues in the past, you may wait until it’s accumulated about a foot of snow.
Decided you’re ready to remove the snow? If you’ve got a one-story home with a roof pretty close to the ground, a long-handled snow rake should be just fine. Many stores carry roof rakes that extend over 20 feet for greater reach. When using a roof rake be careful not to latch onto a loose shingle or the edge of a piece of flashing. Mike recommends using models that have built-in wheels, which glide safely above shingles. Remember that the focus of snow-removal isn’t to remove all the snow, but to reduce its weight. If your roof’s snow-removal requires a ladder, it’s best to call a snow removal contractor.
Though snow and ice dam removal are important, Mike warns that they are merely a temporary solution if your home has poor ventilation and insulation. Hire a professional to inspect and repair your attic’s ventilation and you’re on the road to a smooth-sailing winter.