The winter season brings one of the biggest enemies of roofing systems across the country — snow. Snow can be damaging for roofs for many reasons, but its most significant impact is ice damming. When the heat from your home melts the snow resting on top of your roof, the melted water drains down the panels and into the gutters. Most of the time, though, the runoff re-freezes as it reaches the roof edges. This can happen a lot of times in just one season until the frozen water forms a barrier on your roof, preventing water from draining properly. This barrier is known as an ice dam, and it can cause huge impairment on any roofing system.
So with the impending damage caused by these circumstances, when exactly should snow be removed from your roof? International Construction Services, Inc., the top contractor for new construction homes in Columbia and the nearby areas, shares everything you need to know about roof maintenance during winter.
Ice Dams and Excess Weight on Roofs
Ice dams are a common winter problem for many roofs because it keeps water from flowing directly into the gutters. Aside from ice dam formation, too much snow can also add a lot of extra weight to your roof’s structure. In many cases, snow even accumulates inside the gutters, causing them to buckle under the pressure and requiring you to call for some urgent gutter and roofing services.
When Snow Needs to Be Removed
Many people think the best time to shovel snow off their roofs is when they see their neighbors doing it, while others typically call expert contractors in Columbia, SC, like us what the schedule should be. Unfortunately, others wait until there are significant issues like leaks and ice dams before they think of preventative measures.
The rule of thumb for shoveling snow off a roof is typically when it reaches a depth of 6”, but here in the South Atlantic region, it doesn’t snow that much. The coastal areas receive less than an inch of snowfall each year on average, while the interior parts of the state get a little more snowfall. However, it doesn’t mean that local homes can’t fall victim to the effects of ice damming and snow loads. These elements are pretty common across the country, and in some situations, they can be very alarming for local homeowners.
That said, the quick answer to when snow should be removed is when it reaches a depth of 2”, according to most roof warranties. To guide you further, here are a few other factors to consider when looking at the best time to shovel snow:
- How much snow fell this year compared with the last few years. Heavier snowfall means an increased need for immediate snow removal.
- The pitch of the roof. A sloped roof will help the snow slide off easier. On the other hand, a flat roof would likely need to be shoveled more often.
- The roof’s material. A metal roof often sheds snow quite easily, but a shingled roof tends to have more ice damn issues.
Need help removing snow and fixing damage on your roof? Our experts can help keep your roof safe and sound all winter long. To get a new roof estimate for free, give us a call at (803) 699-5106 or fill out our form today.