Snowblower Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
225 Posts
Same idea as the rake posted earlier. The sheet metal slices thru the snow nicely. Looks like maybe a foot is about the max depth that is designed for.. If the snow is much deeper, the 'column' might not break off as cleanly. If you are making one yourself, you could design it to whatever depth you want.. maybe adding an upright 'knife' to the leading edge, sticking up like an antenna, could allow it to still be effective in 18", maybe more.

Also, as I am reading a little about clearing roofs, roof raking sounds like a somewhat common practice. As I am reading, I am wondering if the leading edge of the rake can catch on the bottom of the shingle and do some damage. Trying to clear the snow right down to the shingles probably increases the odds of catching a shingle, as opposed to leaving a little snow on the roof.

I don't have the huge snow here like some others, but my gutters look like they are taking a beating this winter. As the snow thaws and refreezes, it migrates south like a glacier and the ice is really pushing on the gutters in a few spots. Really wish I had some way of clearing from a second story roof (bottom edge about 25' off the deck, on small lots with tight spacing between houses) without having to get up on a ladder.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
141 Posts
Just built my version, actually on the second after a few tweaks, Really does work way better than a regular roof rake.

Slice and slide...ver 1.


Slice and slide...Ver. 2. Lighter, stronger and uses a standard roof rake handle.



Video of Ver. 1.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
792 Posts
The ladder part is scary. I'll stick to my conventional rake and what I can reach. MH
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
407 Posts
I like the rollers on side.. can adjust just enough not to catch the shingle edge. Looks like a great idea. I can tell you with someone who has a bad back as mine- reaching up and pulling hurts far more than pushing. I always am conscious of pulling too much or I'm down for several days.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,855 Posts
Same idea as the rake posted earlier. The sheet metal slices thru the snow nicely. Looks like maybe a foot is about the max depth that is designed for..
But here is something I dont understand..
there is absolutely no need to remove one foot of snow from a roof! ever!
so I dont get it..

but that leads me to an interesting question..
Here in Western NY, Rochester area, no one rakes snow from the roof..ever..in my 46 years on the planet, living in this area, I have never once seen, or even heard of, anyone removing snow from a roof..it just doesn't happen. and we very often get 3-feet or more at a time..parts of my roof probably have 3 feet of snow on it at this very moment..I am not the least bit concerned about it.

Do different parts of the country have different building codes based on annual snowfall amounts? it seems they must..because raking the roof is simply a non-issue around here, no one does it, ever.

and I just cant imagine that anyone would ever need to need to be worried about a foot of snow..to me, 12" is no different than 1".

I might start to worry about the roof at 4 feet of snow..
but less than that, nope..simply not a concern.

Is there a "building standards" issue going on here?
Scot
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Roof raking became common in my area after 2010-2011. We had a lot of snow with high water content that year and roofs were collapsing throughout the state.
Barn roofs, warehouse roofs, supermarkets, schools, and even some single family ranch houses. It was pretty scary, and lots of people still remember that winter.
Another reason is to prevent ice dams that can cause leaks. Currently I have several friends this year that are having that problem.
Even eight inches of heavy wet now can cause ice dams that create roof leaks if the owner did not have an ice barrier put on the roof or does not have a well insulated attic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
I live in Buffalo in Western New York and I use a roof rake. It's used on a low slope garage roof and a rear one story addition to the house that the snow likes to collect on. My main hose is 1 1/2 story with a healthy 7/12 pitch. They showed on a segment on TV where you may have one foot of snow on the roof but in time it gets saturated with moisture and becomes much more heavy.

Had a neighbor 2 car garage collapse during our recent 4-6 foot snow storm in November. Also had a one story house roof collapse in Alden, NY during the storm. The people cleaned their driveway BEFORE working on the roof.

People will re-shingle their roof and not strip off the old layer. You can do up to three layers by code. The problem is the weight. One layer is 3600 lbs and add additional layers, etc. Then add the snow weight.

Got a Garant roof rake , from ACE hardware. A poly blade and no harm to my roof in 5 years of use.

Removing the snow help in preventing ice dams, where the water backs up under the shingles and goes into the house causing water damage.

It's fairly rare but I have seen (smart) people using roof rakes in my travels in the area.

My 2 cents.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
225 Posts
But here is something I dont understand..
there is absolutely no need to remove one foot of snow from a roof! ever!
so I dont get it...

...Do different parts of the country have different building codes based on annual snowfall amounts? it seems they must..because raking the roof is simply a non-issue around here, no one does it, ever.

...Is there a "building standards" issue going on here?
Scot
That would be my guess, that things like zoning and building codes are largely based on local, rather than national standards. By the same logic, I would imagine that buildings art required to have greater earthquake safeguards built in in Calif than in Fla

I think people who use such tools tend to clean the roof as it accumulates, and not let it get to 4' before clearing it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
261 Posts
It's mostly older houses and with crummy insulation leads to large ice dams...this leads to leaks. That's why they start to do it more
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,855 Posts
Had a neighbor 2 car garage collapse during our recent 4-6 foot snow storm in November. Also had a one story house roof collapse in Alden, NY during the storm. The people cleaned their driveway BEFORE working on the roof.


It's fairly rare but I have seen (smart) people using roof rakes in my travels in the area.

My 2 cents.
6 feet of snow is certainty an exception! ;) no doubt about that..
but "(smart) people" is debatable..

If you rake the snow off your roof, and it would have collapsed if you had not done it, then it was obviously a smart decision.

But if you climb up on your roof to shovel off snow, and its not really necessary, that could be considered a "not smart" risk to take. The potential benefit perhaps does not outweigh the potential risk of falling off the roof..

obviously its a judgment call.
For myself in Rochester, it would definitely *not* be smart for anything less than three feet..trying to remove less than three feet would be a foolish unnecessary risk..its far safer to just leave it alone..three feet on the roof is "business as usual"..four feet or more would be my threshold to begin debating the smart/not smart equation.

(and doing it from the ground is obviously much different from actually walking on the roof..two different topics really..I could not clear any snow from my roof from the ground, it would have to be actually standing up on the roof)

For other parts of the country, that threshold is clearly different.
One foot of wet snow might be the decision point for smart/not smart for other regions..

Scot
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Snow is fine. The reason I try to keep the roof clear is because in NE it might rain and rain and snow equals trouble. I have no doubt most roofs can handle large amounts of snow, but when you add rain to the equation it gets worrisome. id rather not have to scramble before we get a few inches of rain on top of the multiple feet of snow we have already gotten.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
374 Posts
That would be my guess, that things like zoning and building codes are largely based on local, rather than national standards. By the same logic, I would imagine that buildings art required to have greater earthquake safeguards built in in Calif than in Fla

I think people who use such tools tend to clean the roof as it accumulates, and not let it get to 4' before clearing it.
this would apply to me....about 4' is all I allow on my awning roof. the house at 16" on center roof rafters can take much more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
374 Posts
It's mostly older houses and with crummy insulation leads to large ice dams...this leads to leaks. That's why they start to do it more
You are so right...if only people insulated their heated space they could prevent ice buildup.....the answer is to prevent heat from reaching your roof and snow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
725 Posts
Is there a "building standards" issue going on here?
Scot
I agree that in general there is no need to mess with a foot of snow. After some Googling around the absolute high end seems to be 4 feet of typical snow. However at that point you begin to be in a stress condition and could fail from sustained stress. Also, with that much dry snow on a roof a heavy rain could become catastrophic. If the intent is to stay ahead of a problem then it begins to make sense.

Other contributors:
Many roof lines especially if the ridge is perpendicular to the prevailing wind can act as snow fences with significant drifts on the downwind side. In addition to the added snow weight on the downwind side this sets up an unbalanced condition in the tension & compression forces in play.

All of this assumes modern Snowbelt construction to code. Plenty of places are not built to code whatsoever so all bets are off.

If insulation is not up to snuff snow may be removed to limit ice formation and subsequent ice dam damage. There are plenty of roofs still out there that do not have snow and ice shield. Early roofs had a single band though in many case it runs twice as far up the roof and in low pitch situations may be full coverage.

Some roof designs are snow magnets and create a perfect storm of risks. A friend has a farmers porch with a low pitch roof sweeping up into the main house roof. The transition area accumulates snow making for weight and ice dam risks,

Sometimes snow on the roof is a perilous situation. You may want it down before someone gets hurt. I know when the snow sheds from our steel 6/12 pitch roof 2 story home it is ground shaking and I would not want to be under it. It's doubly so when it falls to the porch side of the house, lands on that roof and then proceeds down and out to the ground. As it falls it gains velocity and can fly 15-20 feet laterally. We just don't park there when there is a now load but when we pass it is at risk. Were this an essential entrance or a commercial location we would have to deal with it.

Locally in the past day a warehouse came down due to snow load. This failure was described as the walls bowing out under the snow load. A barn also came down, so far no details.

For some I'm sure it is a slippery slope (no pun intended) If you have a risk, when do you take action? A little snow can get a crust of ice and then be hard to move. This can get a dumping of dry snow that subsequently gets soaked in a rain storm and so it goes. Weather has a way of progressing in unfavorable ways.

Just to make the post legitimate and on topic, I own a Gilson snow blower that spent its life on a factory roof where it was used to remove the snow load. In the day I sold a number of machines for this use.

All things considered I guesses we can find plenty or reasons to rake roofs.

Pete
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
To add to the reasons for a roof rake is for exercise. You will exercise muscles you didn't realize you had. Also you benefit from Vitamin D from the sun, :)which people in the NE lack in winter months due to being home bound.

Also like the puzzled/perplexed looks by neighbors and passer bye. :D

I read that snow rakes are impossible (sold out) to get in the Boston area, with the massive snow amounts they got lately. They didn't need them until this year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
I read that snow rakes are impossible (sold out) to get in the Boston area, with the massive snow amounts they got lately. They didn't need them until this year.
That's how it was here in CT a couple years ago. I had never even heard of a roof rake before then. As the poster from Canton, CT mentioned, when roofs start collapsing people take notice. Lucky for me most I'd my neighbors are awesome; one of them actually has two roof rakes so I get to borrow his when needed.

But back to the original post; that method looks much easier to use than the traditional roof rake. I would make one of those if I had some down time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Can you indeed damage your roof by shoveling it??

Just thought I'd pose the question ... I happen to be one of those fortunate (not) homeowners in Southern MA with a rather large ranch and a decidedly poorly pitched roof. After our 1st (of many) storms the snow was over 3' on the back roof; then ice dams began to form ... some are 6-8" tall plus on the back side of the house! I've literally been up there with a shovel (starting from the peak downward) clearing the snow and then yesterday, another 20"!!

As far as roof rakes ... seriously?? Have one, a wide long, long one but frankly my shoulders can't take it. Shoveling seems the only way out even if it is a bit hairy up there yet I've recently been told that due to the extreme cold you should not walk on the shingles ... you can break/crack them since they are extremely fragile due to temps. Does anyone know if this is true??

I'm at a loss at this point but certainly considering (re) installing the heat cables that ex removed a few years ago!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
273 Posts
My roof has a shallow pitch, I never rake it...but i may start.
Here are some problems that happen when the roof isn't cleared:

1.Ice dams in the gutters that get progressively worse during incomplete freeze/thaw cycles.
2. broken gutter screws or popped nails...or complete gutter collapse.
3. Water breaching around chimney and vent flashings.
4. Ice breaching the gutter flashing, working it's way up under shingles and then forming on the sealed upper side of the aluminum soffits. From there, during thaw, it travels from the edge of the roof (by the gutter) about three feet, and exits in slow but persistent drips right up against the exterior of the house. Even worse, it drips into sliding patio door tracks and corrodes everything.
5. Dangerous large icicles form if the snow is not removed.

All these add up to pretty good reasons to start removing snow from the roof. (if it can be done safely)
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top