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By: KO Roofing 5 minutes read

Winter brings picturesque scenes of snow-covered landscapes, but it also comes with the responsibility of protecting your home from the potential dangers of heavy snow buildup on your roof.

Snow accumulation can significantly threaten your roof’s integrity and, if not properly managed, can lead to costly repairs or even structural damage. In this blog, we’ll discuss:

  • How snow can damage your roof
  • Signs of damage to watch out for
  • The proper methods for roof snow removal
  • When it’s essential to contact a professional for assistance
lots of snow on the roof

How Snow Can Damage Your Roof

Snow might seem like fun and games, until you find yourself a homeowner. Heavy snow loads can cause huge problems for your home’s exterior, particularly your roof. Here’s why:

  • Excessive Weight: One of the most immediate concerns when it comes to snow accumulation on your roof is the added weight. Snow is deceptively heavy, and its weight can increase significantly as it melts and refreezes. Roofs are designed to withstand a certain amount of weight, but when the snow exceeds this limit, it can lead to structural issues, including roof collapse.
  • Ice Dams: Snow on your roof can melt due to the heat escaping from your home, causing water to run down the roof’s surface. As this water reaches the colder eaves and gutters, it can freeze again, creating ice dams. Ice dams can damage shingles, gutters, and the roof’s underlayment, potentially leading to leaks and water damage inside your home.
  • Compromised Ventilation: Snow accumulation can block attic vents and exhaust systems, hindering proper ventilation. When the attic can’t ventilate correctly, it can result in moisture buildup, leading to mold growth, rot, and the deterioration of roof materials.

Signs of Roof Damage Caused by Snow

Identifying potential roof damage early is crucial to prevent more extensive problems down the road. Here are some signs to watch out for:

  • Sagging Rooflines: If you notice your roofline sagging, it’s a clear indication of excessive snow accumulation. This should be addressed immediately, as it may lead to a structural failure.
  • Leaks and Water Stains: Water stains or leaks in your attic or ceiling are red flags that your roof may be compromised. These can be caused by ice dams or snowmelt seeping into your home.
  • Cracked or Damaged Shingles: Check for any visible damage to your shingles, such as cracks, curling, or missing pieces. Snow and ice can cause shingles to become brittle, making them more susceptible to damage.
  • Gutter Issues: Ice dams can damage your gutters by causing them to pull away from the roofline or become clogged. Pay attention to any signs of gutter damage or ice accumulation in the gutters.

6 Proper Snow Removal Techniques

shoveling roof off the snow

Now that you understand the potential dangers of snow on your roof and how to spot signs of damage, it’s crucial to learn the right way to remove snow safely. Here are the steps to follow:

1) Safety First:

Before attempting any snow removal, prioritize safety. Make sure you have the right equipment, such as a sturdy ladder and a roof rake, and wear appropriate clothing and footwear to prevent slips and falls.

2) Use a Roof Rake:

A roof rake is a long-handled tool designed to remove snow from your roof while standing safely on the ground. Gently push the snow down the roof’s surface, being careful not to damage the shingles or roof structure. Work from the edge of the roof towards the center.

3) Leave Some Snow:

Avoid clearing the roof completely; leave a thin layer of snow (approximately 2 inches) to act as insulation. Removing all the snow can cause your roof to cool rapidly, potentially leading to ice dam formation.

4) Clear Gutters and Downspouts:

Ensure that gutters and downspouts are free of snow and ice to prevent ice dams and water backup.

5) Avoid Using Heat Sources:

Never use heat sources, such as blow torches or hot water, to melt snow on your roof. This can lead to further damage and is extremely dangerous.

6) Hire Professionals for High Roofs:

If your roof is steep or difficult to access, or if you’re uncomfortable with the process, it’s wise to hire a professional roofing contractor experienced in snow removal.

When to Contact a Professional

While many homeowners can safely remove snow from their roofs, there are situations where professional help is essential:

  • High Roofs: If your roof is exceptionally high or has a steep pitch, it’s best to leave the snow removal to professionals who have the necessary equipment and experience.
  • Uncertain About Damage: If you’re unsure about the condition of your roof or suspect damage, it’s safer to have a professional assess the situation before attempting snow removal.
  • Ice Dams: Dealing with ice dams can be tricky and potentially dangerous. A roofing professional can safely and effectively address the issue without causing further harm to your roof.
  • Electrical Hazards: If you have electrical components on your roof, such as solar panels or antennas, it’s safer to hire a professional who understands how to work around them without compromising safety.

Learn More About Removing Snow

Properly managing snow on your roof is essential for maintaining its integrity and preventing costly damage. Understanding the potential dangers of snow accumulation, recognizing signs of damage, and using the correct snow removal techniques are crucial steps in safeguarding your home. While many homeowners can safely remove snow, it’s essential to know when it’s best to seek professional help to ensure both your safety and the protection of your roof. With the right precautions and knowledge, you can enjoy a cozy and worry-free winter season.Worried that snow has damaged your roof? KO Roofing can help. Contact us today to schedule your roof inspection!

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