Winter has arrived in New England with plunging temperatures and snow showers. For most homeowners, removing snow from their roof during the winter is unnecessary but if the season brings heavy snowfall – especially if it’s followed by rain – removing snow is a necessity to avoid damage to the roof, leaks, roof collapse or heavy snow falling from the roof and injuring people.
Some residential homes and many commercial buildings have flat roofs that are designed to withstand the weight load brought on by heavy snow. But when winter throws more snow at a building than it was designed for it will need to be removed.
A flat roof may be shoveled but it is important to identify the material that covers the roof before doing so or you will risk damaging your building. If you do not know what materials were used to build your flat roof, consult a roofing professional. If you decide to go it alone wear appropriate footwear, use safety equipment and take care to avoid working near the edge of the roof. The combination of ice and carelessness can be deadly if you are a few stories up.
Homeowners with sloped roofs can remove snow with a “roof rake” designed to remove snow without damaging the surface. Gently slide the rake over the roof so the snow falls to the ground. Do not pound on the roof with the rake, a shovel or any other tool in an attempt to loosen the snow. It will likely damage shingles. Also, do not scrape the roof using an excessive amount of force as this will also damage the surface and lead to unsecured shingles and possible water damage.
Don’t forget to check your roof for ice dams. They are caused by snow that has melted (often due to warm attic temperatures) and then has refrozen while running off the roof. This ice then forms a wall that blocks additional water from passing. The water is then pushed back under the shingles and into the roof which leads to leaks, water damage in the home and significantly reduces a roof’s lifespan.
Should you need assistance with snow removal this winter or repairs due to snow damage, call a local roofing professional.