If you’re Googling this, then you might be in a bit of a pickle.
Winter is one of the harshest seasons on your roof, which is why it is essential that you take the steps to maximize its lifetime during the winter months.
One of the events you have to keep an eye out for is snow. If too much of it piles onto your roof, there can be costly consequences.
Rescue My Roof has spent over a decade working through the nasty Wisconsin Winters helping people just like you. We have educated them on the best methods for keeping their roof in top-notch shape all winter, and today we are extending that opportunity to you.
In this article, you’ll learn the four things that could go awry if you allow too much snow to build up on your roof. And by the end, you’ll know exactly why you should continue roof maintenance during the winter.
What Can Happen When You Have Too Much Snow On Your Roof?
If you’re here, you’ve probably taken a look at your roof and thought, “there may be a little too much snow on my roof.”
But your roof has lasted through countless winters. What could possibly go wrong this time?
Here are a few things you should be aware of before allowing too much snow to build up:
1. Roofs Leaks
Once that snow on your roof begins to melt, there will be water – a lot of it. And with water and moisture on your roof comes leaks.
You may see leaks occurring where there’s flashing, penetrations in the roof like nails, or around your chimney and gutters.
Once the water finds its way into your home, it can do even more damage. It can lead to mold growth in the attic space and drywall damage. Both of these can be costly to repair, so it’s best to avoid snow build-up altogether.
2. Ice Dams
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: ice dams are the main culprit of winter roofing issues.
When all of that snow begins to melt on your roof from the sun and heat loss from your attic, but the temperature is still cold, the melted snow will refreeze towards your gutters. Over time, this build-up of ice will creep up your roof and underneath shingles, prying them up and making your roof susceptible to leaks.
Other issues come with ice dams, like damaged gutters, and shingles and the potential water build-up around your home’s foundation.
Again, this can be costly to repair. Additionally, ice dam remediation can run upwards of $200 per hour, with many contractors asking for a minimum of two hours.
3. Roof Sagging
If you saw your roof sagging, the first reaction would probably be fear. Roofs aren’t supposed to do that, right?
The answer is no; they’re not. Roof sagging means that the integrity of your roof is compromised and that it may be at risk for collapse.
If your roof has begun to sag, there are two options: bracing the rafters in your roof to provide more structure or alleviating the weight off of your roof using tools like a roof rake.
There is one thing that is certain – you need to call a professional. Once it gets to this point, you don’t want to risk your home’s safety. Call a roofing contractor to get an inspection and professional opinion.
4. Broken Rafters
If there is too much weight on your roof, the wooden supports in your roof (the rafters) can snap under the weight.
Depending on the age of your home, you may be more at risk for broken rafters. The construction standards have changed in recent years. Newer homes now require rafters that are closer together and can bear more weight.
Older homes are at a higher risk because the wood is older, and the rafters are more likely to be farther apart. This decreases the amount of weight your roof can handle.
That is why it is essential to invest in tools like a roof rake or call a professional to shovel off your roof if it is inaccessible. If snow build-up leads to broken rafters, it will be challenging and costly to repair.
If one to two rafters are broken, it will cost anywhere between $2,000 to $2,500. However, this is a preventable repair.
By using maintenance tools like a roof rake or even heating cables, you are saving yourself thousands in repair costs.
How To Avoid Roof Issues Caused by Snow Build Up
Does everything on this list look like something you want to avoid? Here are three things you can try to avoid these stress-inducing issues.
1. Invest in a Roof Rake.
A roof rake is a rake that is attached to a long pole to allow you to reach your roof to scrape off the snow.
One of the biggest benefits a roof rake provides is that you can use it from the safety of the ground, meaning you don’t have to make the treacherous climb onto your roof.
If you want to invest in a roof rake, we recommend finding one with wheels. The wheels allow the rake to remove snow from your roof without scraping and damaging the shingles.
You can purchase a roof rake with wheels here.
2. Call A Roofing Contractor
Roofing contractors can do more than install roofs and do inspections. During the winter months, they can also shovel off your roof!
If you find there is a lot of snow on your roof and you don’t own a roof rake, you can call a roofing contractor to shovel your roof.
These services typically run $200 per hour, but if you are limited in options and have the budget, this may be the ideal option for you.
3. Heating Cables
Heating cables connect to a power source and generate heat to help melt snow and ice on your roof.
These can be an inexpensive option if you struggle with ice dams and snow build-up.
However, they do have some drawbacks. You may see an increase in your energy bills, and anything that conducts heat may be a fire hazard.
Additionally, heating cables can take away from the curb appeal of your home. If this is a big drawback from you, there are other more effective options (like a roof rake) that could solve the problem.
Winter Roof Maintenance is the Key to Managing Snow Build Up
To avoid ghastly consequences like broken rafters, roof sagging, and ice dams, you must invest some time into your roof.
Taking the time to put up heating cables or use a roof rake can save your roof from thousands of dollars in repairs and will maximize your roof’s lifespan.
You can learn more about the importance of roof maintenance with “What Are Snow Guards (Cost, Installation, and More)” and “How to Ensure the Longevity of Your Roof.”
If you typically experience massive snow build-up in the greater Milwaukee area, you can contact Rescue My Roof to get a quote on any winter services. From ice dam remediation to roof shoveling, we have got you covered.