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Step by Step Guide: Removing Snow from your Roof in Saskatchewan Winters

Updated: Apr 19, 2021


Using an extending long-pole shovel to get snow off a persons roof during the winter.

A large part of making sure you protect protect the investment you’ve made in your home comes from taking care of your roof. Once winter comes around, it’s a good idea for home owners to consider how they will remove snow from their roofs. It’s important to note, though, the risks that are associated with roof snow removal.

At what point should you remove snow from your roof and how do you do it in the safest way possible?


When to remove the snow from your roof


A lot of people believe that snow should never be allowed to build up on a roof and that it should be removed quickly. The risk in this approach is that it can be dangerous or cause damage to your shingles. It’s best to keep this in mind and remove snow only when it’s absolutely necessary.


Firstly, consider the amount of snow that’s on your roof along with your roofs weight-bearing capacity. Most newer builds are able to support loads of 40 pounds per square foot while some older builds are no longer up to this standard. You should do something if your roof is carrying four feet of dry snow. If you don’t take action, you are risking structural damage.

Next, consider the pitch of your roof. A steep-pitched roof will more easily shed snow and snow melt-off. A flat roof will be far more likely to require manual snow removal.

Lastly - consider the weather forecast. If the weather is supposed to warm up then this could cause the snow to melt a bit and an ice dam could develop at the edge of your roof.


How to get rid of snow from your roof


First off - unless you are a pro - don’t go on your roof with a shovel and try to remove the snow yourself. The risk of you falling and injuring yourself and also damaging your roof is simply too great.

The best and safest way to go about snow removal from your roof is to get yourself a snow rake. This is a long, adjustable pole with a rake head that allows you access to those hard-to-reach places. They are also fantastic methods for preventing ice dam build ups around the edges of your roof.


Tips for homeowners when hiring a professional


When you outsource your roof snow removal - here are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind as a home owner when discussing with the professionals. You’ll want to make sure that they follow these expert safety and roof maintenance practices:

  • DO NOT allow the use of metal shovels, these can cause roof damage. Plastic shovels will do better in protecting the surface of your roof.

  • DO NOT allow snow to be loaded up on any particular area of the roof throughout the removal process. Even temporarily.

  • DO NOT allow snow to be dropped in front of or around a houses entry points.

  • DO begin removing snow starting from the ridge and working your way down to the eaves.

  • DO leave at least a couple inches of snow (instead of scraping the roof clean) to minimize the risk of roof damage.

  • DO allow yourself to focus on removing rooftop snow drifts first.

  • DO use roof safety equipment such as fall harnesses and all other specified OSHA required equipment.

  • DO require a worker on the ground at all times to make sure people are kept strictly to safe walking areas.

In the end - the safest path is to remove snow from your roof only when you feel it is absolutely necessary to do so. If you feel it’s come to this point - it’s often best to look to hiring a professional to do the removal. If you must clear the eaves yourself then use a snow rake. Most importantly - you should always prioritize your safety and the safety of others.

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