If there’s one thing that’s inevitably true about Minnesota winters, it’s that they are cold and wet! Depending on where you live in this great state, you’ll get an average of 36–70 inches of snow each year. That’s a lot of cold precipitation to contend with. And your home’s roof is probably feeling the weight of that snow and ice right about now.
So, what can Minnesota homeowners do about all that winter precipitation that accumulates on their roof? And why does it matter? Here are some tips and facts to help you protect your roof and your home from the snow and ice of a typical Minnesota winter.
How Much Snow on Your Roof Is Too Much?
A recent heavy hail or snow storm may have dropped several inches on the ground—and on the top of your home too. You may be wondering if your roofing can handle the pressure. Or you may be wondering if the latest snow will impact the safety of your home.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind:
It’s not the amount of snow in inches that determines a roofing problem or safety issue is imminent. It’s the weight of the snow that matters.
Put simply, wet snow is a lot heavier than dry, fluffy snow. A mere 6 inches of wet snow, for example, will weigh roughly as much as 38 inches of dry snow. So, if you have a lot of wet snow atop your home, the safety of your roofing may be an issue, and you should address it promptly.
Signs that the Snow and Ice on Your Roof Is Affecting Your Home
You may simply want to get the snow and ice off your roof for your own peace of mind. But in addition to a recent, heavy, wet snowfall, there are a few other signs you can look out for that will signal your home may actually be better off if you get the snow and ice off the roof—such as:
- Interior doors that are suddenly sticking when they don’t normally do so—especially doors in the center of your home. This can mean the snow and ice are heavy enough to affect door frames.
- Sudden cracks in drywall or plaster around the frames of interior doors. This is another sign your home isn’t handling the weight of the precipitation on your roof properly.
- Ice dams forming on the edge of your roof. An ice dam is a ridge of ice that builds up along your roof edge and/or gutters, blocking snow from melting off your roof. This means you could end up with a roof leak.
So, How Do You Remove that Snow and Ice from Roofing?
There are several approaches you can take to deal with snow and ice that you don’t want on your roof. Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:
- Don’t try to do it all yourself. Climbing up on your roof always has its risks, especially if you are not a professional roofer with proper safety equipment. Snow and ice only compound the danger, since the slick, wet surface makes it even harder to stay safe.
- Don’t try to remove every last bit of snow and ice. It’s only necessary to remove the amounts that are causing excess weight damage. And if you try to remove the very bottom layer of winter precipitation, you’re more likely to damage your roofing, leading to leaks and other roof problems.
- Don’t use salt on your roofing. Salt products can damage roof shingles and end up falling on plants and grass, killing them.
- Don’t invest in heat cables without due consideration. Heat cables often get touted as a way to melt ice dams easily. Some people swear by them. But they are pricey, and some experts question their effectiveness. Before investing in them, do some research to decide if they are right for your home.
- Do evaluate your situation wisely. If your home is more than one story, or if areas of the roof are hard to reach, it may be safer to recruit professional snow and ice removers to do the job.
- Do use the proper tools. If you can reach your roof entirely (or almost entirely) from the safety of the ground, DIY snow removal may be possible. If you go this route, use the right tool for snow removal—a sturdy, long-handled snow rake designed not to damage your roofing.
- Do know where the snow and ice will fall, and direct it safely away from people and property. You don’t want it to fall on you or bury something important, like utilities meters.
- Do include your gutters in the cleanup. A roof rake can be used to help clear gutters of snow and ice, allowing for proper drainage that protects the safety of both your roofing and your foundation.
- Do avoid overhead power lines. If you’re doing DIY work such as raking the roof or gutters, be careful to avoid hitting any electrical lines. Not only do you not want to disrupt your home’s power, but with the wet weather and a metal tool in hand, you could be setting yourself up to get electrocuted if you don’t use proper care.
- Do turn to professionals for help. Snow and ice removal is not for the inexperienced or untrained. Professionals have proper safety equipment, know how to avoid dangerous problems, and tend to work in teams to help the job get done right, and safely.
Set Your Own Appointment for Snow and Ice Removal Today
Whether you want snow or ice removed from your roof, or whether you just want to consult with roofing professionals who can help you determine how well your roofing is holding up under the wintery Minnesota weather, the friendly, experienced staff at Iron River Construction can assist you. Call us at 952-442-1762 or use our convenient online form to set your own appointment for a free roofing inspection and consultation.