Snow and ice on the road, driveways, sidewalks and parking lots are a well known danger… But snow falls indiscriminately and covers EVERYTHING in its path. So, what about your roofs, patios and decks? Snow and ice present a whole other set of problems if left on these surfaces, but the method for removing them from metal or wood surfaces is a bit different than on a paved surface. Here are a few things to consider next time a storm hits:
Snow is heavier than you think!
There are a lot of reasons to remove snow and ice from your roof and deck, but something that’s widely overlooked is just how heavy snow is. Can your roof and deck handle it? Remember when the Metrodome roof collapsed? What a disaster… a preventable one! So next time a storm hits, remember that it’s not just YOU that’s in danger… your roof and deck could be damaged if heavy ice and snow is left untouched.
Snow and ice can cause water damage
You may think your deck and roof are impenetrable, but water always finds a way. As your deck and roof take a beating all winter long, and snow and ice melts, water will take the path of least resistance. Water can end up IN your home, soaking into your fascia, and even down to your foundation. Cracking, rotting and mold are only SOME of the issues water damage can cause you. Additionally, as the ice forms and melts… forms and melts… your deck, roof and gutters’ joints are experiencing expanding and contracting that could loosen screws and nails over time.
Ice dams can KILL
Your roof and gutters are capable of collecting enough ice and snow to form deadly ice dams. Ice dams form at the edge of your roof and prevents melting snow and ice from properly draining off – this snowball effect (no pun intended) can be very dangerous. As large icicles and dams continue to pack on mass, they can detach and fall onto people, animals, landscaping and more. Yikes!
So now that you’re convinced as to WHY you should remove ice and snow from your decks and roofs… here are a few things to consider before you put on your boots and get to work:
Get ahead of it!
If you know a storm is coming, lay down a tarp! Of course, you probably cannot just drape a tarp over your entire roof – but you could cover some or all of your patio/deck! This will allow you to simply drag the snow away and dump it after the storm. Using towels, this is also a great way to protect your car before a storm.
Take it easy on your deck
Shovels and chemicals can damage your wood or composite deck. The best alternative to a shovel would be a stiff bristle broom used to simply push the snow, rather than scoop it. Also, if you need to use a de-icer, read the label thoroughly before applying it. Some salts and de-icing agents contain chemicals that could discolor or otherwise damage your wood or composite deck. Brushing the snow off your deck a few times DURING the storm vs. afterwards will make it a lot easier to accomplish. It may seem like a hassle at the time, but it’s a heck of a lot better than paying to repair or replace your deck later. Also, any snow you leave behind could melt and refreeze into ice, creating a slick dangerous deck you can’t walk on… so brush it off while it’s still fluffy and you’ll be in good shape!
Hire a professional for your roof
Working on a roof is inherently dangerous… so adding slippery ice and snow to the equation makes it virtually impossible for a non-trained person to work on. Professional ice dam removers can pre-treat your roof and gutters with the proper chemical solutions fit for your roof type (shingles, tiles, metal, etc) and maintain the collection of snow and ice throughout the season. Oftentimes they’ll spray with additional solution, steam treat or chip away at any ice that forms. Always be sure you hire someone who is properly insured to be performing this dangerous work.