Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

By Todd Fratzel on Roofing

Today it’s snowing again! We’ve already had 3 major snow events here in New Hampshire and it’s not even Christmas yet! Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to see it white here for Christmas for my little guy. But the snow is wreaking havoc on all of my construction projects at work. We are currently putting up two large custom homes and one 9,000 sf commercial project. Needless to say the snow is really slowing things down.

I thought I’d take the time to remind everyone that deep snow on roofs can cause problems. A little snow maintenance on the roof will help prevent structural over-loading and potential ice dams. The easiest and safest way to remove snow from the roof eaves is to use a roof snow rake. Typically the roof rake is made out of a light weight aluminum pole with either an aluminum or plastic “scoop” on the end. Roof rakes range in length from 20 feet to almost 40 feet so two story homes are not a problem.

By removing several feet of snow at the roofs edge (eave) you can help prevent an ice dam from forming. Ice dams are bad for a couple or reasons. One they allow melting snow water to build up behind them and cause water to leak back up under the shingles. The dammed up water can also build up and cause over-loading of the roof. By removing the snow at the roof eave you also allow the sun to hit the dark roof surface and help melt away the snow. Even new roofs can benefit from just removing a few feet of snow after each storm. Remember that a little preventive maintenance can really save you some expensive fixes down the road.

You can buy the same roof rake that I use from Amazon by following this link: Ames True Temper 1634500 Roof Snow Rake.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I’m full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I’m also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I’m also the author of Tool Box Buzz and Today’s Green Construction. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you’d like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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3 Comments

  1. Paul Vallee says:

    Good post Todd, thank you. I wonder if removing six feet or so closest to the eave is also good enough when loading is the concern. We’re expecting rain tomorrow here in Ottawa, after a record-breaking snow accumulation in December, and I’m a bit concerned.

  2. Fratzels says:

    Paul,

    There is no right answer when it comes to snow loading. It really depends on many things, most importantly the structural design of your roof system. By removing the 6 feet of snow you’re going to help things out by removing the area that typically causes a damn. The dam doesn’t allow the rain or melting snow water to escape. Water is very heavy and the damed up water level can cause very heavy loading. Clearly the more you remove the better things will be. Best of luck! BE CAREFUL IF YOU GET ON THE ROOF!

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