If you’ve ever found yourself snowed in for days, then you know the utter despair that comes with trying to shovel your roof when it’s frozen solid. It can take a whole day just to clear a few inches of snow off the roof. It takes a lot of time and energy, but thankfully there are some unique ways that will not only make life easier but also faster, depending on how stubbornly persistent your storm is.
How to Remove Snow from a Roof
1. Ice Scraper Method:
This method is the easiest but also the slowest. Break up ice from around your downspouts and gutters, then use a standard ice scraper to cut a path along your roof.
2. Ice Pick Method.
The same as above, but you remove your downspouts and gutters instead of breaking them apart, then use a large ice pick or another long ice chipper to create a path on your roof. You can fit much more ice in these than with smaller scrapers and there aren’t as many chances for you to slip and fall off the edge of the roof (though it happens all the time).
3. Fire Extinguisher Method.
The easiest method, but it requires you to have a water source readily available. Fill up a bucket with water and run it onto the roof, then use the fire extinguisher to cover the ice. This will cause water to freeze into ice on contact, breaking off chunks of ice that easier shoveling will break apart.
4. Cable Method
Use long lengths of rope, one for each side of your roof, and tie it around the edges of your downspouts and gutters (which you should already have loosened), then use them like cables at the edge of your roof with handles on top to protect yourself while working. You can also try using a rope with hooks on it to hang snow off of the roof.
5. Snow Tool Method.
This method is best done when it’s still snowing heavily or if there is a large buildup of snow already on the roof, but you’ll need a shovel, weed eater, and ice-melting compound. First, use the weed eater around downspouts and gutters to clear away any excess ice. Make sure not to break apart any of your gutters or downspouts because you may need them later for a water source. Once they are free of ice, use a shovel and place it in one hand while using an ice pick in your other hand to break up chunks of ice around the roof edge. Then, use the shovel again to push the ice into the bucket.
6. Salt method
This method is much easier when it’s lightly snowing, but you’ll need to have a water source ready. Use the salt in the bucket to break up ice, then use a long spout and funnel to direct the ice into another container because you just made yourself a bucket full of salt water.
7. Heating Cable:
This is a step up from the cable method and is for when it’s getting really cold and you’re still snowed in. You’ll need to have an extension cord and heating cables already set up. Plug the extension cord into an outlet and plug the heating cables into that and into the extension cord and then use those to melt snow and ice.
8. Zipper Method:
This method is only good when there’s just a thin coat of snow on your roof. Start by using a pry bar or screwdriver to loosen ice around downspouts and gutters, then slick the roof with an ice-melting compound. Make sure you give yourself enough room to move your body, otherwise you will definitely fall off the roof. Finally, zip across the roof with your ice pick or shovel to break off chunks of ice that are easy to clear away.
9. Using De-Icer:
A store-bought de-icer can be used to help melt-up snow. It should only be used when the snow has built up enough so that the snow will pack together entirely to make a flat surface. Take a broom and sweep snow off from around your downspouts and gutters so you have room to place the bucket under your roof edge, then pour the store-bought ice-melting product into the bucket. Get a large spray bottle and fill it with water, then mix a 1:9 ratio of water to ice-melting solution in order to lessen the chance of your roof being damaged by falling icicles. Spray that mix onto your roof while sprinkling store-bought ice-melting solution on top of it.
Remember some safety tips
- Take care when removing ice and snow from roofs. Wear rubber-soled shoes, non-slip gloves, and goggles to avoid eye injury. While working on a roof during cold weather, wear warm clothing and a hat to protect against cold weather injuries. Use ropes to protect yourself from falls while shoveling snow or ice.
- The risk of falls can be countered by using a helper below or by using a harness mounted on the roof’s peak. When the helper dumps the ice bucket to break up ice, he should be protected by a safety harness. Use at least 10 feet of rope for each person working on the roof edge. A safety harness should include a foot loop, waist loop, and a 6-foot leash.
- Safety nets are also available at most hardware stores. If you’ve removed your gutters, use the netting to collect ice around the downspouts. The shade of trees can offer protection from sunburn while working on the roof during summer months. Wear appropriate clothing for hot or cold weather when shoveling snow off your roof. Try to avoid direct sunlight while doing this work.
- If you don’t use de-icer and the snow is too heavy, it can be difficult to remove all of the snow from your roof. Use a rake and broom to keep the snow from building up on the roof.
Everyone has different experiences and knowledge about snow removal. Traditional methods outlined here will most likely not work for everyone. Only you know if they will work for you. The key to effective snow removal is a shovel, a bucket, and an ice-melting compound or salt.
Use the tools that are most available to you and then use them as best as possible to remove snow from your roof. Remember that effective snow removal depends on the weather conditions and the kind of roof you have. If you want an expert opinion on how to remove snow from your roof, contact a professional roofing company in your area today!