Do I Need to Remove Snow from My Roof?

Published on | log homes |Leroy Walker

“Do I really need to remove snow from my roof?”, you might wonder. Usually, the answer is yes. Snow and ice removal from the roof is an essential part of log home maintenance. If you neglect it, you could find yourself dealing with ice dams that build up and damage your roof from their weight. However, not all snow needs to be removed. Here are some of the factors that determine whether you need to remove the snow or not.

The weight of the snow.

The depth of snow on your roof doesn’t matter nearly as much as the weight. Fresh, wet snow is heavier than dry, fluffy snow, even though the dryer snow may have more air and take up a higher volume. Just six inches of wet snow is equivalent to about thirty-eight inches of dry snow. If your cabin is built to code, it can probably withstand normal snowfall in your area. However, wet snow after a big winter storm may need to be removed.

The average amount of snowfall in your area.

If you live somewhere that only gets one or two instances of significant snowfall each year, it’s probably not a matter of concern. However, in areas with higher winter precipitation, snow and ice are more likely to accumulate and reach a critical mass. In these regions, it’s a good idea to make plans regarding snow removal.

The pitch of your roof.

Flatter roofs retain much more snow -- as well as rain and other precipitation -- than sloped roofs. The degree of slope that your cabin’s roof has will influence how likely snow is to build up and stay in place. On roofs with a steep pitch, snow falls off by itself.

Periods of warmer weather.

If the weather warms up a bit in between snowfalls, the snow on your roof can melt away before more snow builds up. This isn’t a good thing, because the melted snow will almost certainly refreeze into ice. That ice adds a huge amount of weight onto your roof, much more than snow.

How do I know if the snow is a problem?

You can tell if the snow load is becoming excessive if the doors on your interior walls start to stick, becoming suddenly difficult to push open. This means there’s so much weight pressing on the roof that it’s distorting the door frames. Check doors to bedrooms, hallways, attics, closets, and other interior rooms. They may also have visible cracks in the drywall if snow is pushing down on them. If the problem isn’t fixed, your roof could potentially cave in. The homes most susceptible to this are ones that aren’t built to code, often due to renovations that were done without a permit.

Should I remove the snow myself?

Many people enjoy doing their own log home maintenance, and you can remove the snow yourself. However, doing so can be dangerous. Many, many people each year die from falling off of ladders. Slippery ice and snow make falls even more likely. It’s sometimes wiser to hire professional snow and ice removal contractors instead, especially if your home is more than one story tall. Professionals use special gear like sturdy ladders and safety harnesses.

If you do decide to remove the snow yourself, you’ll need the right tools. Long-handled snow rakes work very well for freshly fallen snow, and are equipped with telescoping handles that help extend your reach. There are also models that work by releasing snow underneath, which let gravity do most of the snow removal work. These usually work best on light,fluffy snow.

Snow Removal Protects Your Log Home

You don’t always need to remove snow from your roof, but in many cases, it’s an important aspect of log home maintenance. Too much weight pressing downward on the roof can be a recipe for disaster, so when in doubt, just call a snow removal contractor.