Snow-covered roofs make a beautiful winter scene, but the fallen snow combined with the melting and refreezing of snow places stress on the roof of your home or business. If more than a foot of heavy, wet snow and ice accumulate on the roof, you should have it removed.
Clearing the snow off your roof from the gutters or eaves by a minimum of three to four feet after each winter storm can help prevent ice dams from forming. Try to avoid using a ladder in snowy and icy conditions as this can be extremely dangerous and best left to professionals.
If your flat roof is easily accessible from an interior stairway, consider shoveling the roof, but be careful not to damage the roof covering. Put safety first when you are on a roof, especially one covered in snow and ice. If you have any doubt, leave the job to professionals.
It may be possible to remove the snow and ice from your sloped roof using a roof rake, a long-handled tool designed specifically for this purpose. Stand on the ground and pull as much of the snow off the eaves as you can safely reach.
If you cannot safely reach the roof, contact a builder, landscaping and roofing contractor, or property maintenance company to remove the snow and ice. Before hiring a contractor, check their references. Be sure any contractor you hire is qualified, insured, and bonded.
The amount of snow and ice that your roof can support will depend on several factors, such as the roof type and the age and condition of the structure. But a good rule to keep in mind is if more than a foot of heavy snow and ice has accumulated on your roof, you should have it removed.