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Sun Dec 3, 2017, 03:44 PM

Roof Raking and Snow

When I bought the house in April, I had in the back of my mind that I needed to buy a roof rake. I had heard of all of the problems a few years ago, and thought it was best to deal with any potential problems quickly.

But I've been researching the issue. I live in Southern Vermont, in a house that has been here since the 1930's. It's a small house, with an adequate pitch to the roof - and it's slate. From what I can see, I really don't need to worry much about raking. It will slide off eventually - and in the meantime, provide insulation. If the winter is exceptionally unusual, I might have to do a bit of raking. This would be easy enough with a rake (it's just two small stories - the second story is actually the attic).
But that would certainly not be a usual event.

However, I also have a garage. The garage shares a wall with the house, but otherwise is unheated and not insulated. Like the house, there is a pitch to the roof. However, it is not slate (it has shingles). Does the fact that it is unheated and not insulated raise more concerns in winter for ice dams?

TIA

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Arrow 14 replies Author Time Post
Reply Roof Raking and Snow (Original post)
janterry Dec 2017 OP
pwb Dec 2017 #1
janterry Dec 2017 #2
redwitch Dec 2017 #3
janterry Dec 2017 #4
Thor_MN Dec 2017 #5
janterry Dec 2017 #6
Wash. state Desk Jet Dec 2017 #7
janterry Dec 2017 #8
Wash. state Desk Jet Dec 2017 #9
Demsrule86 Dec 2017 #10
janterry Dec 2017 #11
Demsrule86 Dec 2017 #12
janterry Dec 2017 #13
Demsrule86 Dec 2017 #14

Response to janterry (Original post)

Sun Dec 3, 2017, 03:54 PM

1. I just bought one.

The idea, I think is to keep the gutters from filling with ice. If raked a warm day will clear the gutters and allow normal flow to prevent backup. When my gutters in front of the garage fill with ice they drip on the driveway and make a mess that I then have to salt and that is bad for the blacktop. Anyway that is why I bought it. I could be wrong. Next step if this doesn't work are gutter covers. Around 700 dollars. Rake 39.99. .??

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Response to pwb (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 3, 2017, 03:59 PM

2. Oh.....

I remember looking at this house and saying to the realtor that it didn't have gutters - and she said no one does (they won't stay up here in VT). So, no one has them.

From what I can see about raking is to watch out that you don't rake halfway up the roof (you'll just get the dams up higher on the roof than if you hadn't raked). But take that in stride, too......I've never raked a roof!

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Response to janterry (Original post)

Sun Dec 3, 2017, 04:05 PM

3. Thoughts on raking the roof.

If you have a slate roof and snow piles up you will have ice dams. Any heat leaking out that warms the snow underneath will cause it to melt and drip inside. Then freeze, then drip, then freeze.

Trust me on this, get the snow off before it can do the melt/freeze thing.

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Response to redwitch (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 3, 2017, 04:21 PM

4. Here's some of the advice I've seen out there

that suggest you don't need to (at least not often)
https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/style/2013/02/13/why-you-should-never-rake-pitched-roof/r64kiHHXSU9MZvi2jXMprI/story.html

That's where I got the 'exceptional' event from. I do know that a few years ago everyone here in the NE was raking or suffering dire consequences. So, I understand your warning.

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Response to janterry (Original post)

Sun Dec 3, 2017, 07:30 PM

5. Ice dams usually occur at the eaves.

 

Heat escaping from the heated space of the house melts snow drips down to the unheated eaves and refreezes. If enough ice builds, then you eventually have no slope to the roof at the eaves and the melted water pools up behind the ice dam. That water will find a way through the roofing and into the house.

If your house creates ice dams, adding insulation/ventilation to prevent the ice dams is the best route. Roof raking should be to prevent a heavy snow load from collapsing the roof.

Your uninsulated garage is actually at less risk for ice dams, as there isn't much heat to melt snow.

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Response to Thor_MN (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 3, 2017, 08:01 PM

6. Oh, that's good to know!

The garage is sort of a box.....it was probably built after the house --at some point. And there's not much to it. (Though I'm glad to have it, I'd hate to have to scrape the car every morning)

TY - it's good to know the garage is less of a worry.

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Response to janterry (Original post)

Tue Dec 5, 2017, 09:54 PM

7. Since you bought the house recently it would make sense to ask some of your neighbors

about that. I would imagine that might be a good way to get to know yer neighbors. Wouldn't you think after having lived there for years and many winters ,they would know about yer questions ?

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Response to Wash. state Desk Jet (Reply #7)

Tue Dec 5, 2017, 10:02 PM

8. That's a good suggestion

I have tried to meet one or two, but we don't live on that kind of a block. (It's a main street, not really a neighborhood. Where we used to live, I knew everyone - we had neighborhood parties once a month and once a month potlucks). This is really not like that.

OTOH, I've gotten to know some folks in the area, through volunteering and the like. I should start asking around

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Response to janterry (Reply #8)

Tue Dec 5, 2017, 10:23 PM

9. Well there ya go !

Your concern is something people that have live in the area know about. Now than if somebody tells you they have been living there for years and never shoveled the roof or thought about it ,that says something. Somebody else might recall a really bad winter one year ,so on.
Somebody might point out areas or potential weak spots ,areas of the roof you might look at and perhaps make corrections. I grew up in western NY Buffalo where it snows and it snows and snows some more,even blizzards. I never saw anybody up on a pitched roof with a shovel. Now, you want to talk about a flat roof, that's a different story !On a side note ,I really don't like snow ! We don't get much of that here, and that's the way we like it !

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Response to janterry (Original post)

Sun Dec 17, 2017, 08:41 AM

10. The only time I ever had to worry about snow on a roof was when there was an

insufficient pitch. When we lived in PA, we had a rather flat porch roof which could cause leaks if we didn't get the snow off if there was a great deal of snow. I well remember hubs insisting on climbing on the roof with a broken foot to clean it off. I have lived in many snow areas and some not so snowy, but I have never had an issue with a roof with a good pitch.

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Response to Demsrule86 (Reply #10)

Sun Dec 17, 2017, 09:09 AM

11. The roof cleared, but not the garage

I don't know how much snow we got - maybe 8 inches total? Perhaps a bit more. But the roof to the house cleared (that's slate). The garage (not slate) hasn't budged one bit.

We have a wood stove that has a pipe that shares a wall with the house and the garage - but I don't have wood right now (he's delivering next week. So, when that is heated a bit? perhaps it will slide off.

I'm not worried at this point (not enough snow up there to worry about) - but we'll get more soon --and it's so cold that it doesn't melt quickly (4 degrees right now!).

I don't trust that garage......

The pitch on the garage is fine, but I'd sure feel better if something slid down.

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Response to janterry (Reply #11)

Sun Dec 17, 2017, 10:25 AM

12. I was told that if your snow melts on the roof during a cold spell you need more installation...it

is the weight of the snow on a roof with an improper pitch for the area that causes trouble...this is what our contractor told us...and our snow does not melt on the roof...here in our Ohio house, and we have not have issues. Good luck.

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Response to Demsrule86 (Reply #12)

Sun Dec 17, 2017, 10:55 AM

13. Everyone here with a slate roof

has seen it slide down. I've been told by one roofing guy that slate roofs clear snow very well (so it doesn't strike me as an insulation problem, per se). I've also been watching carefully - and other garages and out buildings have snow on them.

I might just buy the rake as a 'just in case thing.' Since I don't know enough yet, and by the time a problem develops (or at least when one did a few years ago) there was a 'run' on roof rakes - and everyone sold out.

I wish I knew more about construction, but I don't

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Response to janterry (Reply #13)

Sun Dec 17, 2017, 03:08 PM

14. I wish I had a slate roof...gorgeous and they last forever.

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