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Why You Should Remove Snow From Your Roof, And How

It’s almost upon us again, time for a visit from Jack Frost! Along with all the beauty that snow can bring, hardships are always part of the equation.

For anyone who lives in the area of Sioux Falls or Rapid City, a few good roofing contractors are always a good thing to have handy. This is especially true for those long, cold winter months.

If you are looking for your personal Rapid City or Sioux Falls roofing contractor, there is none better than Paramount Exteriors. Check out our website. Request your free estimate today.

As we gear up for the heavy snows this coming winter, let’s take a minute to talk about snow. More specifically, let’s talk about snow on your roof. We all know that too much snow on your roof can be a problem.

Let’s talk about how much snow is too much. Beyond that, we will go over what to do when you’ve had enough. 

Snow drift on roof after two days of snowfalls

Dry or Wet Snow?

When dealing with a snow-covered roof, one of the first things you need to determine is whether the snow is dry or wet. It may seem like a small distinction, but this one small factor can significantly influence the problem and the solution.

Dry snow is much lighter than wet snow. Six inches off wet snow is equal to the weight of roughly 40 inches of dry snow. That’s quite a difference!  

Because of this difference, it’s not the amount of snow on your roof that you should necessarily worry about but the weight.

There is good news, though. Your contractor and builder have to adhere to your local building codes. Those codes take into account the typical snowfall and set building limits accordingly. Your roof should have been built to withstand the heaviest snowfalls you will receive in your area. 

Inspections are vital to ensure that your home was built with these codes in mind. It is critical to get a house and roof inspected before you purchase it.

You may be wondering, just now, “How do I tell if the snow on my roof is wet or dry?” Fortunately, the answer is simple. Grab a snow shovel and lift some. Your back will tell you the answer.

If the snow is wet, it will be very challenging to lift. If you are still unsure, check your local weather forecast. The weather advisors should have alerts posted if snow loads are potentially reaching critical mass.

Snow on the roof of the house .

Check Your Doors

We have one more way for you to tell if the load of snow on your roof is too heavy for your home to bear. Take a look at your doors.

More specifically, walk around to all of the doors in the center of your house. Gauge how hard they are to open. If they are beginning to stick, that is an indication that the snow on your roof too heavy. The extra weight may be starting to distort your frame. Not good!

Additionally, you should check the plaster or drywall around your door frames. If you notice any cracking, it might be time to get rid of that snow. 

It’s not a bad idea to call in a professional from Paramount at this point. They can determine the extent of the problem and lay out which steps you need to take to correct the issue.

Ice Dam On Roof. Shingle roof on home with icicles and ice dam starts a leak on the roof.

What About Ice Dams?

Ice dams form when snow begins to melt and fall off your roof. Before the slush can fall to the ground though, it re-freezes into ice at the edge of your roofline. Once this happens a couple of times, the dam that is formed from the re-frozen ice will trap any runoff on your roof. 

If an ice dam forms on your roof, it might not be too long until the load is too much for your roof to bear. Worse than that though, the water from melting snow will have nowhere to go. As a consequence, it can begin to back up under your shingles and seep into your home.

While most ice dams form on the edge of your roof, that is not the only place you may find them. The best way to get rid of them is to melt them with calcium chloride ice melt. For more detailed instructions on removing ice dams, check here.

Time to Clear Your Roof

If you have determined that now is the time to remove the build-up of snow from your roof, then make a plan.

We don’t recommend climbing on a ladder or on your roof in snowy or icy conditions. Falls happen all the time. The risk is much greater, though, when conditions are bad.

If you decide to risk it, proceed with extreme caution. If you have a flat roof then you, hopefully, you have access via a door. Shovel the snow, but be careful to avoid damaging your roofing materials. 

If you have a sloped roof that is relatively close to the ground, a roof rake may be a feasible option for you. A roof rake is a long-handled tool designed specifically to remove snow from your roof. 

We recommend raking your roof after a snowfall of six inches or more. This one simple practice can help to prevent ice dams. It can also combat the effects of too much weight on your roof.

If you do plan to utilize a roof rake, keep in mind that they work best on freshly fallen snow. Try to get to the raking as soon after the snowfall as possible. 

Snow Hanging Over Windows

Ask For Help

For most people, the best option for clearing that treacherous snow would be to hire a professional. Working on your roof can be dangerous in even the best conditions. With the added risk of snow and ice, it’s not worth the potential risk.

If you are experiencing a build-up of snow on your roof and you are looking for a Rapid City or Sioux Falls roofing contractor, look no farther. Contact Paramount Exteriors, and we will take care of all your winter woes. 

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