The Ultimate Roof Snow Removal Guide For Winter
February 5, 2024

Winter can transform your surroundings into a picturesque wonderland, but it also brings a set of challenges, one of which is the accumulation of snow on your roof.

While a snow-covered roof might look enchanting, it can pose serious dangers to your home if not managed properly. We’re here today to discuss roof snow removal, and whether or not you should do it yourself! In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss:

Let’s embark on a journey to ensure your home’s safety and longevity during the winter season.

The Dangers of Snow on Your Roof

ice dam

Snow piling up on your roof might not seem like anything to worry about, but it can actually cause a lot of harm to your home. Here are just a few of the dangers:

  • Structural Damage: The weight of accumulated snow can exert immense pressure on your roof structure. Over time, this can lead to cracks, leaks, and even structural damage. Roofs are designed to handle a certain amount of weight, but excessive snow accumulation can exceed their capacity.
  • Ice Dams: Snow on your roof can melt due to heat escaping from your home’s interior or from sunlight. When the melted snow flows down to the roof’s edge, it can refreeze, forming ice dams. Ice dams block proper drainage and can cause water to seep under your shingles, potentially damaging your roof and causing leaks inside your home.
  • Gutter Damage: The weight of snow and ice in your gutters can lead to them becoming detached from the roofline or even cause them to break. This can result in water not properly draining away from your home, which may lead to foundation problems or flooding in your basement.
  • Injury Risk: Attempting to remove snow from your roof without the proper precautions can be extremely dangerous. Slips and falls from ladders or roofs are common accidents during winter. Additionally, falling snow and ice can pose a risk to anyone passing by or standing underneath.

How to Safely Remove Snow from Your Roof: 6 Tips

Regularly removing snow from your roof can save you time and money down the road. Here is how to do it safely:

1) Assess the Situation:

Before you begin removing snow from your roof, assess the situation carefully. Determine the amount of snow, the type of roof you have, and the presence of ice dams. If you’re unsure about the condition of your roof, it’s wise to consult a professional.

2) Use the Right Tools:

When it comes to roof snow removal, using the right tools is crucial for safety and efficiency. Consider using a roof rake with an extended handle to remove snow from the ground or a sturdy ladder to access your roof safely. Avoid using metal tools, as they can damage your roof’s shingles.

3) Work from the Ground:

Whenever possible, remove snow from your roof while standing on the ground or a ladder. Roof rakes with telescoping handles can help you reach the higher areas without climbing onto the roof itself. This reduces the risk of accidents.

4) Clear Gutters and Downspouts:

Keep your gutters and downspouts clear of snow and ice to ensure proper drainage. This can help prevent ice dams from forming and minimize the risk of water damage.

5) Avoid Ice Melt Products:

While it might be tempting to use ice melt products on your roof to expedite snow removal, these can cause more harm than good. They can damage your roofing materials and lead to further issues down the line.

6) Consult a Professional:

If you are uncomfortable with the idea of removing snow from your roof or if the snow accumulation is extensive, it’s best to consult a professional roofing contractor. They have the necessary experience and equipment to safely handle the job.

Preventing Ice Dams

Ice dams form due to poor insulation and build up of snow. They can create horrible water damage on your roof. Here are some ways to prevent them from happening:

  • Improve Insulation: Proper insulation in your attic can prevent heat from escaping, reducing the likelihood of snow on your roof melting and forming ice dams. Ensure that your attic is adequately insulated and ventilated.
  • Seal Air Leaks: Seal any gaps, cracks, or air leaks in your attic to prevent warm air from escaping. This will help maintain a consistent temperature on your roof.
  • Keep Your Roof Cold: Install roof vents or heat cables to keep your roof’s temperature consistent, preventing snow from melting and refreezing at the edges.
  • Clear Snow Regularly: After each snowfall, use a roof rake to clear excess snow from your roof. This will reduce the chances of ice dams forming in the first place.

When to Call a Professional for Help

removing roof snow

While many homeowners can safely manage small amounts of snow on their roofs, there are situations where it’s best to call a professional:

  • Excessive Snow Accumulation: If your roof has a significant amount of snow, it’s safer to call a professional who has the necessary equipment and expertise to handle the removal.
  • Ice Dam Emergencies: If you notice signs of ice dams, such as water leaks inside your home, it’s crucial to contact a professional immediately to prevent further damage.
  • Steep or Hazardous Roofs: If your roof is steep, has a complex design, or is too dangerous to access, do not attempt to remove snow on your own. Hire a professional with the right training and equipment.
  • Uncertain Roof Condition: If you are unsure about the condition of your roof or its load-bearing capacity, it’s better to err on the side of caution and consult a professional before attempting snow removal.

Professional Rooftop Snow Removal

Snow on your roof may create a winter wonderland, but it also poses significant dangers to your home. Understanding these risks and knowing how to safely remove snow, prevent ice dams, and when to call a professional for assistance is essential for safeguarding your home during the winter season. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy a cozy, safe, and damage-free winter inside your home.

Remember: safety comes first! If you are not feeling confident in your ability to remove snow, don’t hesitate to reach out to a roofing professional for assistance. Questions?Contact McCormick Roofing today to get all the answers you need!


1917 McCague St, Pittsburgh, PA 15218


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