How to Safely Shovel Snow Off A Roof

how to safely clear snow from a roof

how to safely clear snow from a roof

With all the recent snowfall, our architectural firm at Lake Tahoe has been receiving calls about snow loads on our clients’ roofs.  Within that conversation, they ask how to safely remove the load – as there is more snow in the forecast this month.

Last year, we posted one of our most popular blogs about how we design mountain homes that meet the structural requirements for significant snowfall.  And within the blog, we offered immediate advice as to how one can know if there is too much snow on the roof, and how to safely remove the snow.  With the heavy snow that we received during Christmas and New Year’s, we thought we should share that advice again.

Here are the highlights of the story posed by the question “How do you know if you have too much snow on the roof?”

One cubic foot of fluffy, dry snow weighs about three pounds. The same amount of dense, wet snow can weigh as much as 21 pounds. While most roofs are built to withstand more than that, your roof may be under too much pressure if you see these signs:

  • Visible sagging along the roofline
  • Cracks in the ceiling or on the walls
  • Popping or creaking noises
  • Difficult-to-open doors and windows

As it melts excess snow can also lead to ice dams — melting snow refreezes and can damage your home’s interior under the eave line.

How to safely clear your roof

Keep the following in mind:

  • Hire a professional. A person who does this work regularly should know the best techniques and likely be insured.
  • Never work alone. Always have someone with you in case you slip or have an emergency.
  • Clear the area. The ladder up to your roof should be positioned on solid ground. Also, make sure the rungs are clear of ice and snow before you climb.
  • Secure yourself. If possible, use a strap or belt to anchor yourself to something strong, like a chimney.
  • Avoid shingle damage. Stay away from picks, hammers, or other sharp tools to clear snow and ice.
  • Use the right tools. If you have a one-story or flat-roofed house, invest in a snow rake. These long-handled tools with plastic blades can help you gently pull snow from the edge of the roof line.

Inasmuch as this is a good recap of how to get the job done, our team at Borelli Architecture suggests you seek professionals to get the job done.  Roofing companies and possibly professional tree removal companies would be a good place to start.  Here’s a link to the Better Business Bureau’s recommendations. 

In the meantime, if you want more details about how to build a structurally sound home in the mountains, feel free to reach out at any time.

Be safe out there!

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060

Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Winter Driving Safety Tips

Winter Driving Tips

With all the recent snowfall, we continue to encourage our friends and family to be cautious as they come and go to enjoy the grandeur of Lake Tahoe. Whether you have lived in the Tahoe Basin for a long time or are new to the High Sierra, it’s always a good thing to refresh yourself about how to drive through safely in and around our mountainous roads.

For a fresh look at the best advice, we dove into the Nevada Department of Transportation’s website. We found this informative list in their numerous stories about traffic safety, road conditions and webcams for roads in Nevada, and construction updates.

Before you head out to the slopes or trails, or just head to the local stores to stock up on supplies, we encourage you to review this list from NDOT’s news section:

Winter Driving Safety Tips (courtesy of the Nevada Department of Transportation)

 Winter driving safety tips are available at dot.nv.gov/winter.

  • Only travel in winter weather when necessary, leave enough time to safely reach your destination and plan your route to help avoid snowy/icy areas and steep hills.
  • Before driving, check weather and road conditions by dialing 511 within Nevada (or 1-877-NV-ROADS outside of Nevada) or logging on to www.nvroads.com.
  • Share your travel itinerary so others know when to expect you.
  • Remove snow and ice from all vehicle windows, mirrors, lights, turn signals and license plates.
  • Buckle up.
  • Turn on headlights to see and be seen.
  • Do not rely solely on GPS to find alternate routes, as it could lead to unmaintained roadways or hazardous areas.
  • Turn off cruise control.
  • Avoid quick starts, stops and fast turns. Accelerate, brake and steer smoothly and gradually.
  • Reduce speed. Speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not winter road conditions.
  • Do not slam on the brakes. Apply steady pressure on ABS-equipped (antilock braking system) vehicles and pump the brakes if necessary on non-ABS vehicles.
  • Always comply with all posted traction device requirements.
  • If your vehicle has snow tires, install and use them between October 1 and April 30.
  • Keep extra distance from other vehicles.
  • Watch carefully for snow removal equipment.
  • Do not pass without reasonable distance and sight clearance.
  • Use extra caution on bridges, ramps, overpasses and shaded areas- they may freeze first.
  • Maintain a high fuel level.
  • If the vehicle begins to skid, steer in the direction of the slide and slowly remove the foot from the accelerator.
  • Be aware of black ice.
  • If parked or stuck in the snow, leave a window slightly cracked for ventilation and ensure the vehicle exhaust system is clear of snow.
    Check before you go:
    Tires    Brakes    Lights    Battery     Wipers    Defroster   Heater   Vehicle Fluid Levels
    Carry with you:
    Tire chains     Flashlight    Ice scraper    Snow shovel     First-aid supplies
    Extra clothes/gloves   Blanket     Flares    Non-perishable food/water

In the meantime, if you want more details about what it is like to live in the mountains or have thought about building a home in Truckee or Lake Tahoe, feel free to reach out at any time. Our family at Borelli Architecture has been living and working in the Sierra for over 30 years.

Happy New Year!

James P. Borelli
Founder/Principal
Borelli Architecture
Lake Tahoe / Truckee
jim@borelliarchitecture.com
775.831.3060