How to Safely Remove Snow From Your Roof

abstract of snow rake removing snow from roof after winter storm

We’ve talked about Tips For Winter Roof Maintenance and how much snow can hurt your roof. With a winter storm warning in full effect for St. Louis, MO. This seems like a great time to talk about safely removing snow from your roof.

Don’t Let it Pile up

Clearing your roof regularly will actually make it easier and less dangerous, in the long run. If you wait until your roof is straining under the weight of it, the damage may already be done. Fresh snow is often lighter and easier to move as well. Older snow can be thicker not only from accumulation but from possibly thawing and refreezing. This creates ice which is much more dangerous and harder to remove. Not to mention clearing 2 feet of snow is much more taxing on you than it is to clear 2 inches. Regularly clearing off your roof saves time, strain, possible roof damage, and (most importantly) possible injury!

Pick a Good Time

With all of the apps, websites, and even just old fashion TV checking on storm conditions is a breeze. Keep an eye on hourly breakdowns. While you want to be clearing regularly you want to do it when there isn’t horrible wind or white out conditions. Pay close attention to warm ups as well. While they may sound good, when temperatures rise and drop the chance of ice increases. Since they melt the snow then it refreezes when temperatures drop back down. The ice this cycle creates can greatly increase your risk of falling and may change your snow removal tactics. While roofs are meant to withstand some punishment it is not advised to use metal shovels or ice removers on them. Both of these common methods for removing ice can cause serious damage. Not to mention how much more dangerous falling on ice is than falling on snow.

Teamwork is Best

Having a spotter is always ideal in these situations. Not only will the clearing go faster with two people. But if someone were to need to get onto the roof they would have someone to hold the ladder. Or, worst case scenario, if an accident or fall were to occur they could go for help right away. Whenever possible two sets of eyes and hands are far better than one when it comes to snow.

Stretch and Warm Up

Any strenuous physical activity runs the risk of sore or pulled muscles. A great way to avoid this is to stretch beforehand. A few simple stretches or a short walk (if it is safe to do so) may be all you need to get your blood pumping. Ironically getting you warmed up and limber before a cold and strenuous task.

Get your roof inspected by a professional roofing contractor

Protect Your Perimeter 

Before you begin, establish where the cleared snow will be falling. Make sure everyone in the house knows you are going out to clear snow and to stay out of the area. If you are worried about neighbors you can also put up a rope around the area. This is done to ensure no one gets in the way of falling, heavy, snow.

Have The Right Tools

Scrapers and metal shovels can risk damaging your roof. Try to invest in products specifically for removing snow from roofs. Snow rakes are helpful, quicker, and designed to avoid roof damage. We have a few more tool suggestions listed below.

Stay on the Ground

Roofs can be dangerous under ideal conditions. They become even more dangerous when ice and snow are involved. If you can, stay on the ground as much as possible to clear the snow. 

Also some homeowners simply don’t have a ladder or any other way to get onto their roof. No matter the reason we’ll break down a few alternatives for climbing up:


If you have a one story home and two people a rope can help you clear your roof. Tie something heavy to one end of the rope and toss it over your roof to the other side. Once your partner has a hold of the other end you should have a length of rope that spans the width of your roof. Then work together to create a sawing motion to dislodge the snow while slowly moving the rope toward the edge of your roof. Be very careful not to stand under where the snow may fall. Communication is key with this technique. 

Heating Cable

This works best if you get it before the snow hits. When the weather is still good you can install this on your roof per the manufacturer’s instructions. Then it just needs to be plugged into an exterior outlet before the snow begins. This cable will get warm enough that it should melt the snow before it even settles. Leaving you with nothing to clear! If you forget to plug it in before the storm starts don’t fret. You can simply plug it in later and it will do a similar job. Just be careful to avoid the avalanche of snow when it does break off.

Roof Rakes

As mentioned above roof rakes are handy and keep you on the ground while clearing snow. All you have to do is extend them and use the squeegee style end to cut into the snow. Then slowly pull it back. Again be sure everything is clear of where the snow will fall. This method is also a more deliberate way of removing snow if you need something more controlled. The ends on a roof rake are designed to be more gentle on your roof than a metal shovel. 

Again if you can avoid going onto the roof, do it. Snow increases your fall risk even on the ground. It can be much worse when you are up high standing on snow, ice, and slippery shingles.

Get your roof inspected by a professional roofing contractor

If You Must go up

If you do have a ladder and absolutely have to go up to clear your roof make sure you have someone with you. This person needs to not only hold the ladder but keep an eye out for any hazards. Make sure you are also safety strapped in with a harness attached to a sturdy anchor point. Be careful to push snow away from you instead of trying to scoop the snow up and over like you would with a sidewalk. Be sure your partner knows where you are at so they can avoid getting hit.

Give us a call today at (636) 699-0449 or request your free inspection today. If you’re in the St. Charles County area and looking for an experienced roofing and siding contractor, we are bringing forth over 20 years of experience in the roofing industry. That’s something you can trust and especially if we’re in your neck of the woods