Year after year, from small barns to huge stadiums, roofs collapse under the immense weight of snow buildup. It’s a real threat, especially for folks in the Northeastern US, but the solution isn’t always very clear. With most insurance companies only covering damage caused by snow and ice and not barn maintenance, several options are available for property owners to clear winter roof accumulation, ranging from expensive and safe to cheap and dangerous.
Hire a roofing company
Typically, roofing companies will clear off snow from a building roof for around $400-$500 dollars, depending on the size of the structure and the level of access. While this is the safest option, it can be somewhat pricey and your roof may require a few treatments throughout the course of a winter.
Buy a roof rake, or two
When possible, use a roof rake – which is just a rake with an extremely long handle available at home improvement and hardware stores. Obviously, this only works well with single level homes and most times two rakes need to be attached together to reach all the snow/ice buildup.
Climb up there – but be careful
First of all, if you have a slanted roof don’t even attempt this before you have the proper fall prevention systems, such as covers, screens, railings or guardrails, in place. Roofs always pose a fall hazard; add in snow and ice and the danger of falling increases exponentially. In addition, if the weight of the snow weakens supports, your additional body weight could be enough where a collapse could occur that was potentially avoidable.
No matter the route you choose, it’s a good idea to keep the following advice in mind:
- Never spray water on the roof to try to clear the snow—it’ll just freeze and make a bad situation worse. Instead, use a deicing chemical.
- If you must work on a roof, wear fall protection (a full-body harness, lanyard, connectors and appropriate anchorage points) and slip-resistant footwear.
- Never sit on, lean against or step on a skylight lens or any covering placed over a hole in a roof
- Heat loss from buildings helps melt some of the snow on roofs, so unheated buildings or portions of buildings are more at risk of snow buildup.