Even if snow hasn’t fallen in your area quite yet, it is vital to be prepared for when it does. A large snowfall will stay on a well-insulated roof until melted by the sun or blown away by wind. You can risk it and simply hope the melted snow doesn’t freeze into ice dams, or you could try some of these snow-removal home improvement ideas:
Eave lining. Lining the eaves with sheet metal is a relatively old-fashioned approach, but can be effective. The top edge of the metal tucks under the roof shingles and the bottom edge empties into the gutter. The idea is to cause snow and ice along the edge slide off the roof. Sheet metal is better for this than shingles, because of its slick surface.
A more modern approach is to install a heating system: a heat cable that loops along the overhang to melt any accumulated ice and snow. This prevents ice dams at the eaves, as well as any buildups around the dormers. It is relatively easy to install the cable with clips that attack to roof shingles. the grounded system will require an exterior-rated outlet protected by a GFCI breaker, since it will be outside in wet weather.
Removal tools. Snow rakes allow you to clear the eaves, maybe further, from the ground. The tool has a scoop-shaped shovel at the end of a pole that can sometimes stretch to up to 36 feet long. Using this tool, you raise the shovel end, balance it, move toward the house, drop the shovel as far up the roof as you can, then pull.
Snow razors also have very long handles that allow you to work from the ground, but you start at the roof edge and work your way up. At the front of the tool, two small wheels support a thin bar that slices under the snowpack as you push the tool upward. A rolled-out plastic slide trails behind. As sections of snow are cut loose, gravity takes over and sends them down the slide and off the roof.
Waterproofing. If all other tactics fail, the best protection against ice dam leaks is self-sealing underlayment. Unfortunately, if you wish to apply it to an existing roof, you have to remove and replace the shingles along the overhang. Some manufacturers make ice and water shield membranes; thin, rubbery mats that have adhesive on the bottom that sticks to roof deck plywood. One shingles are nailed on top of it, the material seals around the punctures. If water backs up under shingles, it will flow down the rubber shield to the gutter.
Snow is inevitable here in the Midwest. The best way to get through a long winter is preparation. If you need assistance in your fall and winter roofing projects, don’t hesitate to call the experts at Showalter Roofing Service at 630-499-7700.
Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune