ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Roof Rakes - Snow Removal and Ice Damming Prevention Rake

Updated on August 16, 2014

The coming of winter heralds the coming of snow which is great for the kiddies but not so great for the homeowner. For those of us who live in area which receive high volumes of powder, that means protecting our homes from potential damage and excessive wear and tear by fighting back against the winter elements using tools like roof rakes, snow blowers etc.

Snow roof rakes are one of the tools in our arsenal in this war, and they are essential for removing snow from a roof safely with the minimum of fuss. Packed snow can become extremely heavy which can damage roof tiles and shingles, cause beams to split and crack, and in the worse cases, may cause the roof to collapse inwards. Removing roof snow and ice build up will also prevent ice dams which build up on the edge and cause melting ice to leak back under the eaves and can cause damage to your walls, ceiling and insulation inside your home.

Snow removing rakes are something which often sell out fast in the local area when winter closes in so you are typically well advised to buy early or risk having to join a waiting list or pay over the asking price later on. The internet can be your savior here as many online stores will have them in stock and for sale online even when your town’s hardware store shelves have been stripped bare. This page features some great roof snow removing products you can buy online from reputable retailers.

Wheeled Snow Roof Rakes On Wheels

If you have to choose between one type and another, then opt for a rolling snow roof rake on wheels. Why? Simply because these are much easier to use and because they roll rather than scrape they are more gentle towards your tiles and shingles. Those without wheels, or some other protective system, scrape across the shingles, dragging and chopping rather than rolling smoothly and may damage or dislodge your tiles which is definitely not something you want to happen. Removing roof snow build up isn’t rocket science and the technology doesn’t alter much from one brand to the next, but a smart choice is definitely to find a roof rake with rollers to prevent any potential damage.

Wheeled roof rakes raise the blade up a little so that it can not damage your tiles, leaving a thin layer of snow and ice behind rather than hacking away down to the tiles. The rolling wheels make it easier to move along as well which is a bonus. There are several manufacturers who have snow rakes with wheels including the Garelick rake above.

Telescoping Or Snap Together Extendable Roof Rakes

You want to be able to reach the high points without having to climb up there yourself, particularly in the slippery conditions which accompany winter time. That said, you also don’t want to have to store an extra long roof rake throughout the rest of the year because not all of us have room for a 25ft pole in our homes! That’s why these always come in one of two forms; telescoping and extendable roof rakes which screw together from multiple parts to provide the extra length.

The telescopic kind feature a telescoping handle shaft which extends out like an old car arial. The other kind features multiple parts which either snap, bolt or screw together to form a long pole capable of extending 20 - 30ft in the air. The typical length is around 20 ft in length but many also offer the option to add pole extensions to lengthen the reach to 25ft or higher if your need them to be longer. Remember of course, that as the length of the pole increases, the more unweildy it becomes so you don't want to overdo it.

Lightweight Aluminum Roof Rakes Vs Plastic Snow Rakes or Other Materials

One of the things you do have to consider when buying a roof snow clearing rake is the weight of it, after all, you are going to be lifting and dragging this over your head. A lightweight roof rake is essential to keeping an otherwise backbreaking job more manageable and much less of a hassle. For this reason, most house roof brooms are made from lightweight materials like plastic and aluminum, with hollow poles and the minimum of extra weight where possible.

Durable aluminum roof rakes are recommended where possible as metal is always a more hard wearing, heavy duty material which is more likely to bend rather than snap off and break like plastic if pushed past its limits. Aluminum snow removal rakes are light, portable and heavy duty whilst retaining their lightweight features and are recommended over all the other types of material out there.

What Are Ice Dams and How To Prevent Ice Dams From Damaging Your Home

Roof ice dams form along the edges usually wherever there are air leaks and poor insulation but in the worst weather, may form even if it is well insulated. They are basically a build up of ice which prevents melting snow water from running off a pitched roof in the natural way giving it no option but to find another escape route. Typically, this leads to it seeping back under your eaves and damaging insulation, soaking the wooden structural beams, running down walls and dripping through your ceiling. Ice dams can lead to damp, mold and mildew and are generally best avoided by using one of the many options out there.

Those options include snow removing roof rakes which pull snow down from the roof and break up ice dams before they can become a problem. These are great but do require some manual physical labor in often freezing temperatures which is not going to be to everyone’s taste.

An alternative, is to opt for heated ice melting cables which are installed during better weather (typically) and when activated will heat up to melt snow and ice from guttering and roof tops. Ice melt cables mean no running around waving a rake around in freezing temperatures but do mean you will have to climb up there to install them at some point which again, is not something everyone is going to be comfortable doing.

What Is Snow Loading and How To Remove Snow Load From A Roof

Snow loading is the term used to describe how snow accumulates on something like a roof. How much snow can a roof hold before breaking? That depends on how it was designed in the first place. Houses are typically designed to be able to hold a lot of weight, whereas outdoor and agricultural buildings are often designed with a lower capacity. Many older buildings may not have been built to withstand as much load as more modern buildings and as a building ages and the material used become older and weaker it may be less and less able to withstand the weight of heavy packed snow.

How much does it weigh? That’s the problem with snow accumulation, it’s hard to tell and that’s one of the reasons it’s worth considering removing it – you just never know. Freshly fallen powder might weigh around 7lbs per square foot, which is no problem for most rooves, but compacted snow can weigh up to 30lbs per square foot and higher. If it rains on top of that, it gets heavier still and then you may run into serious problems like cracked support beams or worse, an actual collapse.

Roof rake safety

Most snow removal rakes are designed to be used from the ground floor and extend upwards of 20ft in length to enable you to use them comfortably. For higher levels, there are extendable roof rakes which offer additional attachable length which will add another few feet with each additional piece. These extensions usually extend the length by another 5 – 10 feet at the most otherwise it starts become unwieldy which is dangerous in itself.

If you do decide you need to climb a ladder to reach higher problem areas then there are some basic safety precautions you should adhere to in order to remain safe while doing so. Falling off of ladder and from rooftops is something which accounts for many injuries and numerous deaths every year and these activities are made much more hazardous by slippery ice and snow. Protecting your property is important but protecting your life is vastly more important.

Whatever you do, resist the temptation to go crawling around on your roof to get to those hard to reach places. Even if you are young and sprightly and are have no problem up there in the summer months, the winter is a different prospect. Heavy powder hides treacherous ice patches which will cause you to slip and fall unless you are extremely careful. It just isn’t worth it.

Should you use a ladder to rake snow off a roof, make sure it is secure or that you have someone holding on to it. Remembering also, that you are dislodging snow which falls down and your partner underneath doesn’t want to be in the firing line. For safety’s sake, raking is best done from the ground…period but if you have to get some extra height, be mindful of the dangers.

Minnsnowta Roof Razor - See A Snow Clearing Rake Of A Roof At Work

Additional Commentary

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)