New Jersey blizzards are notorious for bringing wet snow that sticks to roofs like glue. As snow changes to heavy rain, it often makes things worse for your roof and your home. Rain-saturated snow gets very heavy. Temperatures that oscillate above and below freezing build ice dams along the eaves as giant icicles reach for the ground below. Snow, slush and water back up behind these ridges of ice.
Roof Risks in the Winter
Sometimes, a heavy snow load is the proverbial “straw that breaks the camel’s back.” Suddenly, the roof fails or collapses. An aging roof, improper installation or extreme weather may cause catastrophic roof failure. FEMA cites roof framing as a possible culprit. It points to failures from “member fracture, joint failures, and lateral buckling from the improper or inadequate installation of lateral bracing.”
Roof leaks are another problem in the winter. For example, water backed up behind ice dams will exploit any weakness in your roof system. Perhaps there’s an open seam or a hole in the felt, a cracked piece of flashing or an area where caulk or roof sealant is cracked, broken or missing.
You can’t reign in Mother Nature. You can, however, find ways to reduce the impact of NJ winters on your real estate investment. You want to tackle the challenge before things get worse. So, what do you do? There are both short-term and long-term solutions. There are also do-it-yourself solutions as well as professional solutions. Here’s a look at the potential options to choose from when it comes to roof snow removal in NJ.
Short-term Roofing Solutions
When extreme winter weather strikes, prompt roof snow removal brings peace-of-mind. Short-term, you can:
- Remove heavy snow accumulations
- Deal with ice dams
- Tackle roof leaks without delay
You don’t have to anxiously await the arrival of spring. Be proactive by arranging for the prompt removal of heavy snow loads using these short-term roofing solutions. In general, while there are do-it-yourself options for short-term snow removal, professional snow removal guarantees that the process done properly, effectively, and safely.
If you have a ranch-style home, you may be able to remove some of the snow while standing safely on the ground. Simply use a roof rake, and look for a rake with these features:
- A bend in the handle
- Handle extensions
You’ll find that many roof rakes have a downward bend in the handle. This bend increases leverage, particularly when you’re pulling the snow down from above. Rollers keep the sharp lower edge of the blade away from your shingles and flashing. They also help the rake to better glide across the roof’s surface. Finally, handle extensions greatly increase your reach, even if you can’t get snow down from the very top of the roof. While standing safely on the ground, you’ll be able to remove some snow from the most critical areas along the eaves.
Keep in mind that there are both metal and fiberglass roof rakes. If there are any power lines near your roof, choose a non-conducting fiberglass rake.
Note: It is vital to stay far away from overhead power lines when you use a metal roof rake. Don’t risk a lethal accident under any circumstances.
Of course, snow removal is not always that easy. Perhaps you have a two-story Georgian, a split-level Colonial, or your roof’s architecture is more complicated, with gables, dormers and/or multiple valleys. Perhaps your roof also has numerous protrusions, like vents, skylights and chimneys. Shoveling snow off the roof may be the only real solution. When this is necessary, many homeowners avoid the inherent dangers by calling a snow removal service.
In cold temperatures, brittle shingles can break when a shovel snags a corner. Many homeowners often top the granules off of their shingles when opting for DIY roof snow removal. Professional snow removers have the expertise and experience necessary to handle metal shovels with extreme care and precision.
At first, it seems like a grand idea. Placing heating cables along the eaves in an attempt to prevent ice dams, that is. However, in most situations, these cables are not a good idea in the slightest. The basic design of heating cables makes them prone to shorting out or otherwise failing. Ice build-up along the eaves can be more than the cables can melt. Then, a crew removing ice dams might have to work around cables encased in the ice. This could add hours to the time required. Finally, heating cables that come into contact with shingles may harm them and shorten their service life.
Salt or other deicing compounds
Carefully placed salt may melt a groove into an ice dam, allowing the water above to escape. Salt has definite drawbacks, though. It can leave you with discolored shingles next spring. It can kill the grass or plants below. Melting snow and ice on a compromised roof may worsen leaks that infiltrate the roof deck, the attic or your living space.
Rather than risking and compromising the safety of both yourself and your home by attempting DIY, short-term snow removal, it is best to contact trained professionals to get the job done.
Long-term roofing solutions
Avoid those anxious feelings next winter. For long-term roofing solutions, make it a point to schedule a visit by a certified roof inspector next spring. The inspector can:
- Detect roof leaks
- Analyze insulation and ventilation
- Note any need for minor repairs
- Recommend re-roofing when appropriate
Contact CRS Today
CRS has been privileged to serve northern New Jersey homeowners for more than four decades. Al Logan founded CRS in 1977. Today, CRS is a full-service home improvement contractor. We are factory-certified by major manufacturers like Owens Corning and GAF. Look to CRS for roof inspections, re-roofing, emergency repairs and routine maintenance.
CRS understands residential NJ roofing. Count on us for professional snow removal that is both safe and effective. We deliver peace-of-mind to local homeowners concerned about snow loads and ice dams. For prompt, professional help, please contact CRS today!