Raking The Roof: The Fine Art of Roof Snow Removal

Today’s Sunday Snap photo may look calm and peaceful, but it was really just the beginning of another Minnesota snow storm.  We had decided to remove the snow from our roof during this latest snow storm.  Not the preferred time to tackle this task, but it really needed to happen.  Before this photo was taken, there was a whole lot of snow falling from the sky and roof, shoveling, sore backs, a few curse words and sopping-wet winter gear.

Exterior of home in Minnesota winter storm

We had around 12-14 inches of snow sitting atop our old roof.  Up until this day, most of the fallen snow was really light and fluffy.  This round of snow was the heavy, wet kind due the recent warm up (aka-above 30 degrees).  Having that much snow on one’s roof is not good for many reasons, but mostly for the heavy weight and ice damns that can form.  Ice damns are bad news.  In a nutshell, the ice damns at the edge of your roofline and eaves.  When the ice and snow starts to melt it gets trapped behind the damn and backs up into your house.  Imagine water running into your attic, through the ceiling and in between your walls.  Bad.news.for.sure.  Read more about ice damns here.   If you live in Minnesota, the Midwest or anywhere with a lot of snow, it is very important to understand why it’s crucial maintenance to remove snow from your roof.

Roof Rake Minnesota Winter Exterior Maintence 4

Now, I would not recommend climbing on the roof and shoveling the snow with a normal shovel.  Some people do this, but it’s very dangerous.  We don’t need any broken bones or back injuries in this household, so we invested in a roof rake, as we call it.  Basically, it like a giant shovel to help pull the snow away from the roof edges and gutters.  Paul did his research and decided to purchase the Avalanche! Original 500 .  We picked our’s up at Home Depot, but may be available at other locations.

Roof Rake Minnesota Winter Exterior Maintence

After we assembled we started on the shortest side of our roofline, near the front door.  The end of the rake (orange piece) has a roller for ease of the back and forth motion along the shingles.  The blue plastic “slide” is attached to the roller which allows the snow to easily slide down the roof and onto the ground.  Here it is in action:

Roof Rake Minnesota Winter Exterior Maintence 2

Roof Rake Minnesota Winter Exterior Maintence 1

Roof Rake Minnesota Winter Exterior Maintence 5

See all that snow on the sidewalk?  We shoveled the sidewalk FOUR times during the course of raking these two rooflines.  It was sooo much fun.  😉

Roof Rake Minnesota Winter Exterior Maintence 3

I had to trek through the snow to take some of these photos.  The snow in our yard is as tall as my short legs (about 36″ inches).  While some of the other snow piles in our yard and along the driveway are over 5 feet tall.  After these rooflines were finished, Paul made his way around the rest of the house, which did not require any additional ground shoveling.  Thank goodness!

Roof Rake Minnesota Winter Exterior Maintence 6

Roof Rake Minnesota Winter Exterior Maintence 7
While I did not actually use the roof rake, it looked very easy to control.  Paul said it was pretty light weight and easy to use, except when the wind picked up.  Then it was like flying a 10 pound kite in the sky.  Unfortunately, the plastic slide caught a nail on the roof line and started to rip in the center.  It still worked fine, but will need some repair before we use it again.  If you’re in need of a snow roof rake, I would highly recommend the Avalanche.  If you’re not the this ambitious you can also hire people to complete this task for you. Has anyone else tackled snow removal from their roof during a snowstorm?
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