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Roofing, painting, siding and window tips and tricks from Rocky Mountain Roofing & Exteriors
No Mo’ Snow: Roof Snow Removal Options

No Mo’ Snow: Roof Snow Removal Options

If you live in Denver, Colorado, you know how important it is to prepare yourself and your home for winter weather. Denver averages 60 inches of snowfall per year, which is more than double the United States average of 28 inches per year. Such heavy snowfall can cause serious damage to your home, and your roof in particular, so it’s important to take precautions and stay on top of your roof maintenance. Roof snow removal and removing excessive ice from your roof is one such task that you should be prepared to tackle during the winter season.

That being said, removing snow from your roof is not a simple or straightforward project; on the contrary, it can be dangerous and make existing roof damage worse if you don’t know what you’re doing. Keep reading to explore your options so that you can make a safe and informed decision about roof snow removal.

An Introduction to Roof Snow Removal in Denver

If you can, it’s best to plan ahead and contact a Denver roof repair company in advance of the winter season to do a full roof inspection and take care of any existing issues. They should also be able to make more specific recommendations about snow removal based on your specific type of roof and it’s condition. Any roof problems left unaddressed will only lead to bigger problems once winter weather hits, so please don’t procrastinate on this!

Do You Have to Clear Snow off Your Roof?

Generally speaking, clearing snow off of your roof can be important for several key reasons:

  1. It can help prevent ice dams from forming;
  2. It can help prevent dangerous roof avalanches of ice or snow;
  3. It can help prevent bent roof vents and wire damage;
  4. It can help prevent roof leaks and moisture damage; and
  5. It can help prevent a damaged or weak roof from collapsing or caving in.

The first step in the process is determining whether or not it is necessary to remove snow from your roof at all. One of the determining factors is the weight of the snow that is built up on your roof. The weight is more important to consider than the depth — for example, three feet of wet, densely-packed snow will weigh much more and put a greater strain on your roof than three feet of dry, fluffy powder. In fact, the weight of six inches of wet snow is equal to that of about 38 inches of dry snow!

In many cases, it may not be necessary to clear snow off of your roof at all. For example, if you have a structurally sound, properly insulated roof and you’ve had a professional roof inspection recently, your roof will likely be prepared to withstand some heavy snowfall. Building codes require roofs to be designed and constructed to withstand a significant amount of weight from snow, so it is unlikely that an average snowfall will cause a properly installed and well-maintained roof to collapse. Again, if you have any doubts about the condition of your roof though, it’s a good idea to contact professionals for a roof inspection.

In severe cases, there may be some clues that you need to remove the snow from your roof. If your doors inside start to stick, this may be a sign that excess weight from snow buildup is causing your door frames to distort. You can also examine door frames for any visible cracks or distortion.

If you determine that you do need to remove snow from your roof, whether or not it’s a good idea to actually clear it yourself or leave it to experienced professionals is another important consideration. If the snow is fresh and lightly packed and your roof is in good condition, you may be able to tackle the task on your own. However, if the snow is icy, densely packed, or your roof has existing problems, you probably want to rely on experienced professionals to make sure the job gets done right.

How to Remove Snow From Roof

There are several ways to go about removing snow and ice from a roof. The most common DIY route is to use a snow roof rake. However, in more dangerous conditions or when attempting to remove heavily-packed snow, contracting professionals to clear the snow and ice may be necessary. It is important to note that you should under no circumstances attempt to go on top of your roof and shovel snow — this can be dangerous and adding extra weight to your roof will only increase the risk of a roof collapse.

Additionally, there are several methods of preventing rooftop snow buildup from happening in the first place. These include but are not limited to installing roof snow guards and/or applying Snow Seal Roof Coating. Some preventative methods are safer and more highly recommended than others, so be sure to do your research carefully. We will explore all these removal and prevention options in more detail in the sections below.

Using a Snow Roof Rake

A snow roof rake is essentially a 20ft or so long hoe that homeowners can use to lighten the structural load on their roof and help minimize the formation of an ice dam. This tool allows you to remove some snow from your roof without having to climb up onto the roof, which is unsafe and can worsen structural issues. Snow roof rakes work best on freshly-fallen, lightly-packed snow.

Snow rakes are useful tools in some cases, but they can be dangerous and damaging to your roof if used improperly or recklessly. Below are some important snow roof rake safety considerations to keep in mind:

  • Has your roof been inspected recently? Using a snow rake can worsen existing roof damage, such as cracked shingles or loose gutters. Therefore, it’s not a good idea to use a snow rake if you suspect any roof damage or if you haven’t had your roof inspected for a long time.
  • Watch out for power lines! Pay close attention to how/where power lines enter your home and steer clear of them when using a snow roof rake.
  • How steep is your roof? The steeper the roof, the more quickly the snow will fall off, which can be dangerous. This is especially important if this is your first time using a snow roof rake.
  • Look out for icicles! People have died from falling roof ice and icicles, so look out for these while you’re raking, especially if a large ice dam has formed.
  • How confident are you? All in all, if you have any doubts about your ability to safely and correctly use a snow roof rake, leave it to the professionals.

With a snow roof rake, the goal isn’t to remove all the snow from your roof, but rather to relieve an excessive weight of snow.

What are Roof Snow Guards?

Roof snow guards are rooftop devices designed to prevent snow and ice from building up and avalanching by allowing snow and ice to drop off in small amounts or melt completely before falling to the ground. Snow guards should be professionally installed because the pattern and quantity of the guards are based on the specific shape, size, and pitch of your roof. There are many snow guard materials and options available that are both practical and aesthetically pleasing.

Snow Seal Roof Coating

Snow Seal Roof Coating is another preventative measure to consider. It’s a premium grade, acrylic, elastomeric roof coating that helps seal and protect your roof from the elements. It forms a 400% elastic membrane that helps prevent leaks, cracking, peeling, and expansion/contraction that can pull your roof apart over time, drastically extending the lifespan of your roof. Snow Seal is also up to 85% reflective, which helps reduce your roof temperature.

Your Roofing Experts in Denver and Beyond

All in all, the best-case scenario is that you won’t need to remove snow from your roof because your roof is in peak condition! To make sure your roof is prepared to withstand the winter weather, be sure to get a professional roof inspection done before the season begins. If you do find yourself in a situation where you need to remove snow or ice from your roof, remember to proceed with caution and follow all product instructions carefully.

If you’re looking for Denver, Colorado roofing services, including inspections, snow removal, maintenance, repairs, and more, our experienced team is here to help. If you’re in the area and have any doubts or hesitations about roof snow removal, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for guidance. We care deeply about our community and will do our best to help keep your home and family safe this winter. Contact us today to request a free roofing estimate!