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In the Community February 25, 2016

Roof Snow Removal Guidelines

Even though most properties in Canada are built to withstand large amounts of snow, there is still a risk of roof damage, especially during heavy snowstorms. The main reasons to clear the snow from roofs is to prevent ice dams (which can lead to property damage caused by leaks) and cave-ins. Here is what property owners can do if they decide to remove the snow on their roof:

  • Snow should be removed when it’s about 15 centimeters deep. Snow thicker than 15 centimeters can lead to property damage.
  • At least 5 centimeters of snow should be left on the roof to avoid serious damage to the roof covering and additional losses.
  • Individuals who live in a one-story home should stay on the ground and use a rake with a telescopic handle to remove the snow on the roof. Rakes can also be used to clear the overhangs in taller homes.
  • When raking the roof, special caution must be taken in order to avoid hitting any overhead power lines.
  • If using a rake is inefficient, the snow needs to be shoveled by someone on the roof. Hiring a licensed contractor is the safest way to go.
  • Those who are about to shovel snow from a roof should make sure the ladder is stable and they have a safety harness. For sloped roofs, shoveling should start at the ridge and end at the eaves.
  • Using mechanical equipment specialized in snow removal is not recommended, as these tools may damage the roof.
  • Sprinkling salt or salt products on the roof should be avoided. Although salt is a natural enemy to ice and snow, it can also discolor shingles and kill the vegetation the melted snow falls upon.
  • Snow should be disposed of in designated areas on the ground, away from walkways, building exits, ventilation exists or drain downspouts.

For information on how to protect the rooftops of commercial buildings from snow, take a look at this article. The PuroClean team stands ready to provide professional restoration services to any property affected by fire, water or mould damage.

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