Protecting your roof from winter damage: Snow Removal Tips & Tricks

April 15, 2023

Have you ever noticed a thick layer of snow on your roof and wondered if it could cause damage? While most roofs are built to withstand heavy snowfall, it's essential to know when to be concerned and how to handle the situation. In this blog post, we'll discuss when it's necessary to remove snow from your roof and how to safely do so.


Most roofs can handle heavy snowfall without issues

As a professional in the roofing industry, I've worked with countless clients concerned about the impact of heavy snowfall on their roofs. In most cases, roofs are designed to handle significant amounts of snow without any issues. This is because building codes require that roofs are designed and constructed to withstand the specific snow loads for their region. These codes take into account the average snowfall, the type of snow (wet or dry), and other environmental factors that can affect the structural integrity of a roof.

Building codes ensure that roofs are designed to withstand regional snow loads

Building codes play a crucial role in ensuring that roofs can handle the weight of accumulated snow. These guidelines dictate the materials, construction methods, and maintenance practices that must be followed to create a resilient roof. Following these codes during the initial installation and throughout the life of the roof is essential to maintain its strength and ability to withstand heavy snow loads.

Importance of professional roof installation and maintenance

The importance of professional roof installation and maintenance cannot be overstated. A well-designed and properly installed roof will be better equipped to handle the pressures of heavy snowfall. Professional roofers have the expertise to select the right materials and employ the appropriate construction techniques for your specific region and climate. Additionally, regular maintenance, such as inspections and repairs, can help identify and address any potential issues before they become bigger problems.

In summary, most roofs are built to handle the weight of heavy snowfall without any issues, thanks to the stringent building codes and the expertise of professional roofers. Ensuring your roof is properly installed and maintained is key to maintaining its strength and ability to withstand the rigors of winter weather. In the following sections, we will discuss how to identify potential problems with your roof due to snow accumulation and how to address these issues safely and effectively.


Although most roofs are designed to withstand heavy snowfall, certain situations can still lead to problems. In this section, we'll discuss the risks associated with roofs that aren't built to code or are poorly maintained, the impact of wet snow and unusually large accumulations, and why flat or gently pitched roofs may be more susceptible to issues.

Risks to Roofs Not Built to Code or Poorly Maintained

Roofs that haven't been built to code or have been poorly maintained are more likely to experience issues related to snow accumulation. This is because these roofs may not have the necessary structural strength and resilience to handle the weight of the snow. Factors that can contribute to a roof not being up to code include improper installation, subpar materials, or unpermitted modifications. Regular maintenance is crucial for identifying and addressing any potential weak points before they lead to significant problems.

Wet Snow and Unusually Large Accumulations

The type of snow and the amount that accumulates on your roof can also impact its ability to handle the load. Wet snow, which is heavier than dry snow, can exert more pressure on your roof's structure. Unusually large accumulations of snow, either due to heavy snowfall or snowdrifts, can also cause added strain on your roof. In these situations, it's important to monitor your roof for signs of stress and take action if necessary to prevent damage.

Flat or Gently Pitched Roofs More Susceptible to Issues

The design of your roof can also influence its ability to manage snow loads. Flat or gently pitched roofs are more susceptible to issues related to snow accumulation because they don't allow snow to slide off as easily as steeper roofs. This can result in a greater amount of snow buildup, which can put extra pressure on the roof's structure. If you have a flat or gently pitched roof, it's especially important to pay close attention to snow accumulation and take appropriate measures to ensure the safety and integrity of your roof during the winter months.


Sometimes, the first signs of potential roof snow problems can be found inside your home. By keeping an eye out for these indicators, you can take action before any serious damage occurs. In this section, we'll discuss what to look for inside your home to detect signs of roof stress due to snow accumulation and the importance of addressing these issues promptly to avoid roof collapse.

Checking Doors on the Upper Floor for Sticking or Difficulty Opening and Closing

One of the first places to check for signs of roof stress is the upper floor of your home, specifically the doors closest to the center of the house. These may be bedroom, attic, or closet doors. If you notice that these doors are beginning to stick or become more difficult to open and close, it could be an indication that the snow load on your roof is causing strain on your home's structure.

Inspecting Door Frames for Cracks in Plaster or Drywall

In addition to checking doors, it's also important to inspect the frames around them for any cracks in the plaster or drywall. These cracks may be subtle, but they can signal that the weight of the snow on your roof is putting undue stress on the structure of your home. If you discover any cracks, it's essential to take action quickly to address the issue and prevent further damage.

Importance of Addressing Issues Promptly to Avoid Roof Collapse

Ignoring the warning signs of roof stress due to snow accumulation can lead to serious consequences, such as roof collapse. It's crucial to address any issues you detect as soon as possible to maintain the safety and integrity of your home. This may involve removing some of the snow from your roof or consulting with a professional roofer to assess the situation and determine the best course of action.

By being vigilant and attentive to the signs of roof stress inside your home, you can take the necessary steps to protect your roof from potential damage caused by heavy snow accumulation.


When it comes to snow removal from your roof, it's crucial to weigh the pros and cons of attempting the task yourself versus calling a professional. In this section, we'll discuss the importance of hiring professionals for most roof snow removal tasks, safety considerations for homeowners attempting snow removal, and instances when using a snow rake from the ground may be appropriate.

Importance of Hiring Professionals for Most Roof Snow Removal Tasks

For the majority of snow removal situations, it's best to call in the professionals. Roofing experts have the training, experience, and safety equipment necessary to safely and effectively remove snow from your roof. They know how much snow to remove to alleviate the excess weight without damaging your roof or causing additional issues. Attempting to remove snow without the proper knowledge and equipment can not only be dangerous but also result in unintentional damage to your roof.

Safety Considerations for Homeowners Attempting Snow Removal

If you decide to attempt snow removal yourself, it's important to prioritize safety. Working on a roof during winter conditions can be extremely hazardous due to the slippery surfaces and potential for falls. Before undertaking any snow removal, ensure that you have the necessary safety equipment, such as non-slip footwear, a sturdy ladder, and a safety harness. If you are unsure about any aspect of the process or feel uncomfortable, it's best to call a professional.

Instances When Using a Snow Rake from the Ground May Be Appropriate

In some cases, using a snow rake from the ground may be a safe and suitable option for homeowners. This method is typically best for one-story homes where the snow can be easily reached without climbing onto the roof. A snow rake allows you to remove some of the accumulated snow by sliding it off your roof from a safe distance on the ground. Keep in mind that this method may not be effective for all situations, particularly for larger or more complex roof structures.

In conclusion, while there may be some instances when DIY snow removal is appropriate, it's generally best to call a professional for most roof snow removal tasks. Their expertise and equipment ensure that the job is done safely and effectively, protecting both your home and your personal safety.


When it comes to removing snow from your roof, it's essential to follow the appropriate strategies and precautions to ensure the safety of both your home and yourself. In this section, we'll discuss the approach professionals take to remove snow without causing damage, the importance of avoiding the removal of the bottom ice layer, and tips for homeowners attempting snow removal themselves.

Professionals Will Remove Enough Snow to Relieve Excess Weight Without Causing Damage

When you call in professionals for snow removal, they will assess the situation and determine how much snow needs to be removed to alleviate the excess weight on your roof. Their goal is to remove enough snow to reduce the strain on your roof's structure without causing any damage to the shingles or other roofing components. This balance is crucial for maintaining the integrity of your roof and preventing issues such as leaks and water damage.

Avoiding the Removal of the Bottom Ice Layer to Prevent Damage

It's important to note that professionals will not remove all the snow and ice from your roof. The bottom layer of ice, which often adheres tightly to the roof throughout the winter, should be left in place. Attempting to remove this layer can result in damage to your shingles and roofing materials, leading to costly repairs or even the need for a complete roof replacement.

Tips for Homeowners Attempting Snow Removal: Slide Off Some Piled-Up Snow Without Damaging Shingles

If you decide to remove snow from your roof yourself, it's essential to follow the proper techniques to minimize the risk of damage. One key tip is to slide off some of the piled-up snow, taking care not to remove too much at once. Removing excessive amounts of snow can lead to damage to your shingles, causing leaks and water damage within your home. Always be cautious and work slowly to ensure you're not inadvertently causing harm to your roof.

In summary, effective snow removal requires a strategic approach and adherence to proper precautions. Whether you choose to hire professionals or attempt the task yourself, it's essential to focus on relieving the excess weight on your roof without causing damage to the structure or roofing materials. By following these guidelines, you can help protect your home and ensure the longevity of your roof.


Snow accumulation is a common concern for homeowners, but ensuring your roof is professionally installed and maintained can help prevent issues. If you suspect your roof may be struggling under the weight of snow, don't hesitate to call a professional. For more expert roofing advice, subscribe to Hedrick Construction's blog.

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