What to Know About Roof Raking

As Wisconsin residents settle into another winter season, snow continues to accumulate throughout the area – including on roofs. Despite being an accepted practice, roof raking may not be as necessary as some believe, and in fact may cause more harm than benefit.

Kyle Schultz conducts roof inspections for Quality Roofing, Inc, which specializes in commercial roofing needs, and has seen firsthand the damage caused to roofs from improper roof raking.

“You might end up doing more damage than good,” he said of the practice. “Shingles get really brittle when it’s cold and roof raking can hurt the water-resistant membrane on the roof. It’s also very dangerous.”

Roof raking can cause damage if not done with the appropriate equipment or by utilizing the proper technique.

“It can cause harm if not performed with the right equipment or with the right amount of care,” said David Peters, project manager. “You can scrape granules from your shingles and cause excessive wear – or you can even puncture the roof.”

He added that he’s seen cases where building owners have taken axes to ice on the roofs, causing holes.

The main concern with roofs in the wintertime is related to ice damming, which happens when heat loss from a house, snow cover, and outside temperatures interact. The snow on a roof surface will then melt, causing water to flow down the roof. When it reaches a portion that is freezing, the water will freeze again, causing an ice dam. The ice dam stops more snow from draining, perpetuating the problem even further. Eventually, this ice will melt and seep through a house’s walls and ceiling, causing permanent damage.

“If you have areas that are prone to ice damming, remove those periodically once you have an amount of build-up,” said Peters. “Ice dams can hurt your roof structurally because it weighs more than snow. Water can’t flow off then and it will back up and get into the roof.”

He added that if a roof is prone to ice dams, it’s a good idea to keep that area of the roof free so water can continue to flow. Additionally, if snow is particularly wet and heavy, it’s important to safely remove it to prevent collapse and ice dams.

If the snow level reaches a crucial point, Quality Roofing’s professionals can inspect and clear commercial roofs.

“We do commercial roof snow removal,” said Peters. “We’ve had whole winters where we’ve done a lot of that.”

Though commercial roofs are more prone to issues, when shoveling a home roof, Quality Roofing recommend using plastic tools instead of metal.

“The bottom line? Use proper technique in the proper way with the proper tools,” said Peters.

For more information, visit www.QRoof.com or call 1-800-938-0666.