Heavy snow buildup on a roof can be a cause for concern, especially if you live in an area that doesn't often get heavy snowfalls. This is simply because your roof may not be engineered for the additional weight of the snow. Heavy snow can also cause ice dams to form, which lead to leaks in the attic. Other concerns include shingle damage as the snow thaws and refreezes as well as injury and damage below when the snow eventually begins to slide off. The following are a few methods that you can utilize to address the snow buildup.
Option #1: Invest in a snow rake
A snow rake is a specially designed tool that has a long telescoping handle. This allows you to reach the roof from the ground, which is both safer for you and for the roof. Roof rakes have a large flat head and small bumpers or rollers along the bottom edge, which prevents the rakes from damaging the shingles.
When using the rake, angle the pole so that you are not pulling the snow straight off the roof and onto your head. Only pull the rake down, as pushing up can lift and break your shingles. Clear the snow off regularly so that it doesn't build up. Roof rakes work best on freshly fallen snow that hasn't begun to freeze.
Option #2: Install heat cables
Heat cables can make short work of snow and ice on the roof. They are often installed above doorways or walkways, since they will automatically melt the snow so there are no mini-avalanches coming down on those below.
The best cable system is one that is turned on manually – you don't want a system that is constantly running as this is a waste of electricity. Even so, cables can be expensive to run if you live in an area with lots of snowfall. In many cases it is best to only install them on problem spots, such as above a doorway or in an area where snow doesn't slide off easily.
Option #3: Upgrade your roof
If you are in the market for a new roof, consider investing in one that isn't prone to snow buildup. The most obvious change is to increase the slope of your roof so that the snow slides off more readily. Of course, this will involve a structural change so it may not be very cost effective.
Another option is to invest in a metal or tile roof. The slick surface of these materials means that the snow will slide off readily with very little effort, whether you use a roof rake or simply depend on the heat of the sun.
Talk to a roofing contractor, such as those found at Bosworth Roofing, for more help in dealing with winter roofing issues.