The Truth about Snow on Your roof
Icicles May be pretty, but they’re hiding a destructive problem.
Can your roof support the weight?
Will my insurance cover a problem?
By Cheryl Rotole, www.Roofrake.com 734-560-7153
You may think those icicles hanging from your roof are pretty but they are actually a symptom of a potentially damaging problem for your home. As snow melts from you roof either by the sun or heat escaping from the home it tends to refreeze at the edges and other juncture points of your roof. The refreezing of water has a damming effect creating an even bigger ice dam behind it. Continuous feeding of the ice dam by melting and refreezing snow melt can cause significant damage to the roof and well as interior of the home. As the water seeps under shingles it refreezes expanding and creating an even bigger gap for future drainage to fill and further the cycle. This in the very least is raising your shingles. As the cycle continues the water will look for and create cracks in the wood and walls each time expanding to create more damage ‘til you see leakage and cracks in the ceiling and walls of the home.
Weight of Snow
A square foot of compacted snow can way close to 50 pounds. Many roofs, especially, older, flat and special structures such as carports, garages, and sheds are not always rated to support this kind of weight. It is important to remove as much of it as you safely can from the ground. We encounter people daily that did not know a tool was even available for this. Many inventions have been around since the 1800s to lighten the snow load on barns.
What can you do if you already have ice dams?
You need to remove the source of the water that is creating this problem. This can be safely done from the ground with a product called a roof rake. A roof rake is not a rake as in what you’d use in fall but rake refers to the pulling or raking process involved in pulling the snow off the roof, versus a shovel which you push. If the ice dams are already there try to remove as much snow as possible from the area of the roof behind the ice dam, at least 4-6 feet. Do not try to pull at the ice dam. You’ll damage your roofrake and the roof. Many people have pulled down shingles from their roof tugging at them with a roofrake. Remember there’s frozen water above and below the shingles. Once the snow is no longer there to feed the ice dam it will start to diminish in size. Many homeowners use ladies nylons filled with calcium chlorite or ice melter tablets – hockey puck like tablets that can be tossed on a roof.
If you’ve had ice damming in the past or signs of leakage it’s important to remove the snow from the front 4-6 feet of your roof after every snow fall. Just as you’d go out there to shovel the snow from the driveway or sidewalks, you need to get out and remove the snow from the roof. Get your roofrake out and pull the snow off that first 4-6 feet and any other trouble areas you’re aware of.
How do I know how long of a roofrake to get?
When using a roofrake you typically stand as far back on the ground so you can see where you’re working. For example on a typical one story I stand about 6 feet back but on a second story you’ll need to stand 18’ or so back. Terrain has a lot to do with it to a house up on a hill you’ll need more length. For a 21’ roofrake it can reach halfway up a single story and just to the gutter on a second story. On a 2 story house you’ll need two 5 foot extensions.
Will it damage my roof?
There are different types of roofrakes available. Roofrake.com carries different roofrakes for various roof surfaces as well as solar panels. The roofrakes available feature special treatments or features that prevent the blades from shearing the asphalt from shingles such as wheels or rollers. For metal roofs the goal is avoiding the metal blade coming in contact with the treated metal and clearing the seams that can be as high as an inch and a half.
Will my insurance cover a problem?
It is essential that review your insurance policy and check with your agent before you have a problem. Basic form insurance policies do not cover collapse of a structure due to the weight of ice or snow. With people trying to save costs wherever possible it may be something to look in to. Most insurance companies improve the language from basic form, but look into it before you have no options.
Roofrake.com was started in 2000 in Plymouth, Michigan when the owners viewed a man on top of his steep roof with a snow shovel. Thinking there has to be a better way they found a few firms with long handled snow shovels called roofrakes. The company now offers over a half dozen American Made tools to remove safely remove snow from a roof. Due to economic stimulus programs offered solar panels can now be commonly found on roofs. Roofrake.com offers the only soft headed roofrake to keep your solar panels clear of snow so they can continue to work year round.
Cheryl Rotole has been with Roofrake.com for 8 years. Roofrake.com offers same day shipping as well as a knowledgeable staff that can match the best roofrake to your specific situation, be it deep snow, metal roof or solar panels. Please call 734.560.7153 or visit www.roofrake.com for more information or to order.