You know you should be regularly removing the snow from your roof, but do you know exactly why it’s so important? From the danger of roof collapse to the risk of leaks, here’s why proper winter maintenance of your roof is crucial to ensuring the structural stability of your home and the safety and security of your family.
Owning a home comes with its share of responsibilities, and making sure it’s ready for winter is one of the biggest! From getting the patio furniture in storage to planning your snow clearing services, there are a few chores to take care of before winter hits.
You trust a team of professionals to clear your driveway, but what about your roof? Whether you decide to take care of it yourself, or hire a specialized company, clearing snow from your roof should be at the top of your winter do-to list.
How snow accumulation and climate change can put your roof at risk
A heavy accumulation of snow on your roof can cause a whole host of problems and risk damaging the structure of your house. While they are designed to stand up to the vagaries of weather, our roofs still require careful maintenance in order to stay sturdy and strong winter after winter.
With our changing climate, it’s not unusual to see a few thaws throughout the season. Rain and precipitation weigh down the snow, putting more pressure on the roof, which can lead to sinking or collapse. We recommend clearing the roof once the snow reaches 60 cm (24 in.).
While the weight of the snow is the top factor to consider, water damage is also quite common. Temperatures above normal can melt the accumulated snow and cause leaks. Once the temperatures drop again, these leaks can then refreeze, pulling up the shingles and seriously damaging the roof.
Heat rising to the roof from inside in combination with rain may also create “ice dams,” which can allow water to pool and wreak havoc on your roof. To mitigate these risks, be sure to take the necessary precautions.
In the fall:
- Inspect your roof for loose shingles
- Make sure your roof is properly insulated and that your attic is well-ventilated
- Seal any gaps that could potentially vent warm air from the house to the attic
- Clean your gutters before the first snowfall
Throughout the winter:
- Keep an eye on icicles on the underside of your roof—if you find water building up behind them, an ice dam may be forming
- Inspect your attic and the exterior walls of your home for signs of leaks or interior seepage, which may mean an ice dam has formed on your roof
A few tips for effectively clearing your roof
Watch for these signs that it’s time to clear your roof:
- Cracks on the walls or ceiling
- Doors scraping
- Unusual cracking sounds;
- Warped ceiling
Avoid using sharp or pointed tools to clear snow
Ice picks, scrapers, shovels and metal rakes should be avoided. Instead opt for tools specially designed for roof clearing like the SnowPeeler.
Don’t remove all the snow
Always keep a layer of about 5 cm (1 in.) of snow on your roof to protect the waterproofing membrane and avoid damaging the shingles.
Make grooves in the bottom layer
This will allow water to drain properly and prevent pooling.