As a fictitious noble once said, winter is coming. To prevent common cold-weather disasters, know the warning signs of heavy snow damage. Keep your roof structurally sound and your home safe from harm with these important safety tips for snow removal.

Signs of Too Much Weight on the Roof

Having snow on your roof is not necessarily the end of the world. Up-to-code, properly constructed homes are built to handle the weather of the local region. That being said, roofs do have their limits. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Compromised roof strength. As noted by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, the average roof can support 20 pounds per square foot. If your house has ever undergone renovations or repairs without the proper permits or inspections, however, the strength of your roof could be lower than it was when the house was originally built.
    Your roof’s design also affects its overall ability to withstand wintery precipitation. Slanted roofs typically have less trouble shaking off unwanted snowfall, while flat roofs are more prone to high levels of snow accumulation.
  • Sticking interior doors. The amount of snow on your roof can be deceiving. Fluffy, dry snow is less dense and therefore less heavy. Damp, icy snow, on the other hand, is thick and hefty. Wet snow may look like less in terms of accumulation, but it is the real culprit to pay attention to.
    Interior doors that begin to resist opening and closing can be a symptom of a roof overstressed by dense snowfall. Keep an eye out for cracks in the drywall around interior door frames, too.

Ice and Snow Removal Safety

snowy roof being raked awaySometimes the best safety measure is the proactive one. If you wish to take care of your roof personally, do so in advance of any major ice or snow issues to ensure that your safety, as well as your home’s, is not compromised.

  • Use a rake. If you fear that you may be facing heavy snowfall in the coming months, use a snow rake to remove light snowfall from your roof. The trick here is that you need to stick to working from the ground. Climbing ladders and walking on roofs during the icy season is best left to professionals.
    If your home is a tad too tall for scraping snow off your roof, an extender for your snow rake may make the difference. Roof raking is a job for the pros if the accumulation levels are too high or if you are unable to reach the roof while standing on the ground.
  • Keep the gutters clean. Your gutters can quickly become a hassle during the snowy season. Maintain your gutters by removing any debris or icy nuisances within them. Again, keep your personal safety in mind; any hard-to-reach areas should be left to experienced gutter contractors.  

When to Hire a Professional

icicles dangle over house guttersIf your roof is in dire need of rescue, hire a professional. Slippery ice, unstable snow, and slanted roofs can equal swift trips to the emergency room. Don’t let a few bucks keep you from getting the job done right and done safely. Here are two reasons to call the pros:

  • You can’t reach your roof without a ladder. Snow and ice exponentially increase the hazards of working with roofs and gutters. Stay away from ladders and avoid walking on shingles when maintaining your roof. If that is not possible, it’s time to call a roofer.
  • You’ve noticed a problem with the roof. If your roof is already showing signs of significant damage from snow accumulation, like cracking, creaking, or sagging, go straight to a professional. While snow rakes can help as a proactive measure, they are not quite up to the task of handling the damage of a full-on snowstorm.

Snowy weather can cause your home to creak and moan from overbearing loads, so keep our suggestions in mind to ensure your house makes it through the winter unscathed.