In New Jersey, extreme winter weather events are all too common. Heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain strike. High winds make matters worse. Powerful nor’easters develop as arctic air from Canada collides with the warmer, more humid air coming in off the Atlantic.
At times, northern New Jersey gets hit with snow measured in feet. In fact, there’s been as much as 52 inches of snow on the ground at one time, at Canistear Reservoir. When that record was set, 30 inches had already accumulated. Then, a new storm dropped another two feet of snow in the area.
Even worse, howling winds whip snow into drifts higher than people are tall. Sometimes, a series of storms weighs down area roofs with rain-saturated snow. Ice dams prevent water from properly draining away. Ponding water adds even more to the loads the roof system must handle.
Your roof may or may not be up to the task. It’s possible your roof system will safely support as much as 100 lbs/sqft. However, it might only be designed to support 30 or 50 pounds. Multiple layers of shingles, rain-saturated snow or eight-foot drifts all add to the risks. Sometimes there’s sheathing or framing weakened by rotting or termites. The chance of a roof collapse further increases.
Roof Snow Removal: Mistakes to Avoid
When snow piles up, area roofs strain under extreme loads. Some homeowners fear roof leaks. Others worry about a collapse. In the rush to deal with the problem, mistakes occur.
Here are five mistakes you’ll want to avoid when making decisions about roof snow removal:
1. Climbing up on your own roof
You look up to see massive drifts curling down around the eaves and gutters. When this happens, it’s hard to resist the urge to climb up there to get rid of all that snow. That’s often a critical mistake, however. It’s all too easy to do more damage than it’s worth – to your roof or to yourself. Icy ladder rungs pose are a hazard even before you make it up on the roof. Ice and snow along the eave make it tricky to get on the roof in the first place. One slip on an icy roof may result in a serious accident.
2. Using the wrong tools
Roof snow removal is a specialized task. The wrong tools may harm your roof. There are special tools designed to safely remove the snow without damaging shingles or flashing. For example, there are roof rakes with wheels or rollers that prevent contact with the shingles. There are also fiberglass rake handles and extensions. Metal handles must never come in contact with overhead power lines. Shovels designed to cleanly scrape snow off driveways and sidewalks pose are not so good on the roof. The bottom edge of a metal shovel is often sharp enough to slice into cold, brittle asphalt shingles.
3. Salting or melting your way out of the problem
It’s understandable that homeowners get frustrated with heavy snow and ice accumulations. It’s tempting to want to apply salt to the roof. Installing heating cables is also tempting. Both of these “solutions” often cause more problems than they solve.
It is common to salt drives and sidewalks. Paved surfaces withstand the corrosive effect of salt or other chemicals. On the roof, however, asphalt shingles are not designed to bathe in salty water. Salt spread on roof ice dams may speed melting, but it may also discolor shingles. When the salty water drains off the roof, it may saturate shrubs and gardens.
Sometimes, homeowners have heating cables installed along the eaves. Unfortunately, these cables often fail to do the job in extreme cold and/or high winds. Sometimes they short out, for example. When they fail, a crew arriving to remove ice dams has to work around the dead cables encased in ice.
4. Hiring inexperienced individuals
Just about anyone can offer roof snow removal services. It is not a state-licensed activity. Sometimes, it’s tempting to go with a low-ball bid by an upstart service. Watch out for services lacking adequate roofing experience. Inexperienced workers may cause inadvertent damage. For example, they might break brittle shingles or bend flashing through the use of improper techniques.
The best choice for roof snow removal is often a reputable local roofing contractor. Roofing specialists tackle tricky conditions throughout the year. They have the training and expertise to complete assignments in an efficient manner.
5. Allowing under-insured people on your roof
It’s vital to only allow individuals on your roof that are properly insured. Roof work is tricky enough in the best of conditions. What happens if an uninsured individual is in a serious accident? Sometimes, there’s a claim against the homeowner’s insurance policy. That’s right. You could hire someone for roof snow removal only to face a claim against your own insurance.
Contact Us Today
The roofing specialists at CRS have served NJ homeowners since 1977. Our crews have the necessary experience needed to safely complete roof snow removal. CRS carries more than ten times the amount of insurance required by the state.
CRS is a full-service roofing specialist. Services include roof inspections, routine maintenance, emergency repairs, warranty work and roof replacements. We are factory-certified by major manufacturers like GAF and Owens Corning.
We’d welcome the opportunity to help you with your roof snow removal needs. Please contact us today!