Whenever we get a good snowfall, customers call and ask us about shoveling snow off of their roofs. They wonder; why should I do it, when do I need to do it, and can I do it myself? So here are some answers to those questions.

The Why and When

The most prevalent problem caused by snow build-up on your roof, is the formation of ice dams. An ice dam happens when the bottom layer of snow (closest to your home) melts because of the heat from your home; that water runs and refreezes at the edges and valleys of your roof. The next time this happens, the melted water pools up behind that frozen dam – and starts to cause problems. The trapped water will eventually work its way into the shingles, and down into your home. When this occurs, the result is interior damage. So, if you notice that the snow has been sitting for a while and not melting off the edges of you roof, you may need to remove some of the snow (or ice). Another reason to remove snow is the weight on your roof – roof codes vary depending on typical weather in a given area, so a “normal” amount of snowfall should be fine – but anytime you have excessive amounts of snow, without a warm day in sight, you may want to have it taken off, to avoid structural damage ranging from cracks in the drywall to roofs caving in.

Me or a Professional

The short answer is “hire a professional.” Here’s why – ladders are dangerous (especially when mixed with snow and ice), and roofing materials aren’t indestructible. If you have a one-story home, and you can reach most of your roof from the ground, you are certainly in a safer situation than someone who has to climb a ladder to reach their roof. But it is still a problem to do it by yourself, because you could damage your shingles and end up shortening the life of your roof, which is definitely a pricey problem. Even when a professional cleans your roof, you should not expect it to be completely cleared of snow; you should still see a thin layer left when they are finished, because that means they protected your shingles by not scraping shovels or rakes against your roof. Because it is so easy to get injured or damage a roof when cleaning it off, you should also be conscientious when hiring a “professional”; make sure they are fully insured and reputable – you don’t want someone up there damaging your roof or getting injured and suing you.

If we end up with any snow this year, and you feel you may need your roof shoveled, call us! We’ll help you figure out if you need it and take care of it if you do.