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What is a Roof Rake?

The best tool for removing snow from your home’s roof, is a specifically made roof rake with an adjustable handle. A low-cost item, with prices starting at about $40, that can easily do the job of snow removal. The adjustable handle allows safe removal from the ground.

Not all the snow needs to be removed from your roof to make sure the burden is lifted. Removing just some, particularly along the edges, is often adequate in decreasing enough weight and allowing room for the remainder to melt faster or slip off.

One of the best ways to remove snow from a snowy roof is a roof rake. Below, you’ll find a list of best practices.

When to use a roof rake

When deciding the right time to get roof snow removal, it’s also important to take into account how heavy the snow is.  Wet, heavy snow can weigh 6 or more times as much as lighter dryer snow.  One cubic foot of snow can typically range in weight from as little as 0.26lbs (light, dry snow) to as much as 1.66lbs (heavy, wet snow).  If you step outside and pick up the snow and it seems heavy and wet, clear your roof sooner than later.

How often you need to get your roof cleared also depends partly on the weather forecast.

If 6 inches of snow falls on your roof but low temperatures are forecasted to stay above freezing for a couple of days, you probably don’t need to get the snow removed—because it will melt soon enough (or at least decrease significantly in weight) and never become an ice dam.

However, if 6 inches of snow falls one night and another 6 inches of snowfall is forecast for later in the week, or if the low temperatures remain below freezing, you may want to remove the snow ASAP.  Or better yet, call a roof snow removal service right away and schedule your roof snow removal in advance – for shortly after the second storm is forecast to arrive.  This way, you’ll get both snowfalls removed from your roof with one phone call, and you’ll be first in line during a particularly busy time for local roof snow removal companies.


  •  Do not climb onto your roof. Ice, snow and inclines are a terrible mix.
  • Avoid chopping motions. If you’re too forceful, you may wind up doing direct damage to your roof.

Build a path around your house.

One half hour of building paths through the snow so that you can walk on top of it will save you lots of trudging through deep snow and falling into holes.

How do I build a path?

We recommend walking through the snow taking little tiny baby steps, Then retracing the steps many times. Walk forwards. Walk sideways. Cover the same ground over and over again. The idea is to create a flat surface that you can walk on as easily as you would walk on a narrow sidewalk.

Your paths through the snow will support your weight if you will follow this simple rule: Whenever you step into a hole, fill that hole with snow until it is as solid and flat as the rest of your sidewalk made out of snow. It’s so much easier to work the snow rake when you have a sidewalk to walk on.

Get rid of the easy stuff first.

Since the whole point of snow-raking is to remove weight off the roof so that it does not collapse under the weight, you might as well go after the easy stuff first.

It is harder to move the snow on the ground.

It’s at least 3 times as hard moving the snow once it hits the ground versus making it fall off the roof with the snow rake.

Snow falls easily off the roof because you have a fall line working in your favor. Once it hits the ground, you have to pick it up and throw it with a shovel.

Leave a protective layer of snow on your roof.

You don’t have to get all the snow. Just the excess that threatens the load-bearing capacity of the roof.

It helps to leave the bottom-most layer of snow on the roof. This protects the shingles from damage by the snow rake.

Rake a little each day.

If you do a little bit each day, you won’t have to worry about it accumulating. Generally speaking, it is not any one storm that will collapse a roof. It is a series of storms — each building on the next.

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