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Shoveling our driveways and sidewalks is part of winter in the Midwest. But what about our roofs? Should we be roof raking?

Is it good for our roof? Can it damage it? What should we do?

People have different opinions about roof raking, and as professional roofers, here are our thoughts about it.

If your roof is flat or has a low slope, roof raking is definitely a must once the snow gets to be about 6 inches or more. If your roof has a higher pitch, it’s still something to consider, especially if the snow is wet and heavy and it is building up.

Fun fact: One cubic foot of dry snow weighs about seven pounds. One cubic foot of wet snow can weigh 12 – 18 pounds.

Roof Raking Minimizes Ice Dams

Snow build up can also cause ice dams, which are really bad for roofs.

What are ice dams?

Dams prevent water from flowing. An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow and water from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause a lot of damage. Besides, roof repairs are a lot harder to do in the winter than any other season.

roof raking. Image of an ice dam on a red house with lots of heavy icicles.

Tips for Proper Roof Raking

Below are our recommendations for proper roof raking. However, Weather Vane also offers snow removal on roofs throughout the winter if you prefer to have a professional tackle this wintery task. Call us today to set up the service and we will come out whenever it is necessary.

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Sloped Roofs

roof raking on a ladder. Bad idea.
  • Always use a proper snow rake. You can find them at most local hardware stores. They are typically made out of metal, so be very careful not to touch them to powerlines.
  • Start from the edge of the roof and work your way into the roof.
  • Your goal is to reduce the depth of the snow to about 2-3 inches. You are not trying to scrape the shingles clean. You may damage them.
  • Roof rakes have extension poles so you can reach the roof. Don’t use a ladder. They are really unsafe in the winter and it is easy to slip off of them if ice builds up on the rungs or your boots.
  • Do not climb up onto a sloped roof in the winter. Even a low sloped roof.
  • Your gutters and drains should be clear of snow and ice, but be careful to not rip them off the roof with the roof rake.
  • Clear the area around downspouts at ground level.
roof raking be careful of gutters

Flat Roofs

For flat roofs it is easiest to get up on the roof and shovel it like you would a driveway. Be sure to throw the snow over the side of the roof and away from the building.

Be careful. Don’t fall. And don’ use a snowblower up there, no matter how tempted you may be. You don’t want to add any more weight to your roof.

DON’T use a hair dryer, heat gun or any other electrical device to remove snow and ice.

DON’T use open-flame devices to remove snow and ice. Even if your cousin Jimmy has a flame thrower he is just dying to use.

Good Luck and Be Careful.

We are only a phone call away if you need help!

About Weather Vane Roofing

We provide roofing, siding, insulation, windows and gutters. Making your house beautiful and efficient is our main goal. We use the latest in technology and products to provide eco-friendly and cost effective solutions for your home and business. With locations in Lansing, Owosso, and Brighton/Howell we are Mid-Michigan’s roofing experts. Let us transform your house into a home.

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