Friday, January 28, 2011

A New Englander's Most Helpful Tool: Roof Rake

Winter in New England is beautiful.  Fresh snowfalls are a thing of beauty.  The crisp, clean white snow on evergreens, hillsides and houses are the makings of Christmas cards and breathtaking sights. 
During storms, there is nothing as comforting as being home in a cozy warm house.  
But as beautiful as the snow can be, the totals add up.  It is quite common to reach over 100 inches a season.
Without thaws in between storms, the totals add up on roofs and can cause a lot of damage.  It is common to see barns collapse under the weight of the snow, sheds and small shelters usually have to be shoveled or they too will collapse. 
And, this is true of home roofs as well.

The weight of snow varies greatly.  This is all dependent on the water content of the snow from 1% to 33%, this translates into 1 pound per cubic foot to 21 pounds per cubic foot.
Snow buildup is roughly considered to be 1.25 pounds for 1 square foot of snow, 1" deep.
Ice buildup also needs to be considered -- this is believed to be 5.2 pounds for every inch of thickness.

And lastly, when it rains, the weight of the snow on the roof increases rapidly.

Roughly speaking, 20" of snow on a roof translates into 1.25 pounds X 20 = 25 pounds per foot.... this number would increase with ice or wet snow....

Due to these factors, it is important to remove the snow from the roof.
The best way to do this?
Well, some people climb on their roof and shovel it like you do a walk way.
But, there is also another method, that can be simpler.

 Welcome the roof rake.  The roof rake is a tool that looks like an upside down shovel with a long handle that can be extended.  It retails for $40 and in NH can be found at hardware stores, home improvement stores and even grocery stores!  I noticed that Market Basket was selling these for $29.99 this year.
(Snow on a roof can also create lots of damage if the ice gets under the shingles, as shown above.)
And here is the roof rake in action.  You stand on the ground and drag the snow off the roof, being careful not to scrape the shingles.  It is a great upper body workout!  It is very hard work and drags snow onto the ground.  Sometimes, these snowbanks can be very deep, so be careful not to scrape the snow onto a walkway or in front of a door.
 Here is our home pre-raked....
And here it is after 20 minutes of raking the snow.  I would love to know the weight of the snow that I dragged off the roof!

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