I live in NY state and had roof ice dam damage in a past year. Ever since
then I've had additional under-eave ventilation vents put in and try to keep
parts of my roof clean (to some degree) of winter snow using a long handled
shovel. My roofer recommended a roof rake with a telescoping handle system.
Can anyone who has used one of these comment on how well it works, what
types/brands are recommended, width of the blade, etc.
They all seem to look similar and are constructed the same. The only
difference that I can see (on the internet) is that they are of varying
Any assistance / recommendations are appreciated.
The wider the blade the (choose one)
a. faster you get done
b. the harder it is to pull.
Yes, they do work and can help prevent ice dams. We use one at work that is
about 18". I don't think I'd go too wide as it can get unwieldy.
We use one on our home in Vermont. I believe the blade on ours is about 16
or 18" wide. The handle is very long when extended all the way, it reaches
from ground level nearly to the peak of the roof. DH says that it is quite
a workout if the snow is heavy and wet. I don't know anything about brands,
the local hardware store only had one to choose from, so that was what we
bought. I think it cost somewhere around $70.
When it is time for a new roof, you might want to consider metal. The part
of our home that has a metal roof has no issues with the snow build up (and
thus no need for the roof rake on that section of the house), since the snow
and ice just slide right off.
I had some damage 2 years ago, so I bought a rake for last year. We only
had enough snow to use it once! Well, obviously no damage...
It is a relatively small plastic head. I expect a large head would be too
hard to use; but the area I am doing is pretty small. Sorry I can't be more
helpful. (but if you are in the Rochester area, I picked up a second
identical one at a garage sale...)
I'm in Amherst, NY (near Buffalo). I bought one two years ago which I
used often...it does remove alot of snow (it is hard work) with a handle
of about 14 feet long and an 18 inch end that has two small wheels on
the bottom to help it move along. I didn't even use it last year.
It's worth having, IMO.
rakes are very good for clearing snow and avoiding damage to the
Some of the rakes are built to clear snow while pushing up the roof,
they usually have a plastic sheet to help the snow slide .
Most clear on the downstroke , pulling the snow to the gutter.
Better models have bigger wheels to keep the rake part from rubbing on
the roof .
See what your store has , usually about $30 in my area
Removing snow buildup is only needed if you have a roof with
uncorrected problems. One permanent solution is a 2 to 3 foot wide
metal flashing leading up from the eave edge. The roof melt can
freeze on it and yet do no damage. Another solution is resistance
wire in a zig-zag pattern along the same area. In many houses,
increasing the attic insulation is all that is needed.
Under-eave vents may or may not work. The problem usually occurs from
snow melt on a dark unvented roof or one that has insufficient attic
insulation to keep it cool. A ridge vent or turbines will do a better
job of keeping it cool. Once the melt hit the area over the eaves, it
is colder, so the melt forms ice. Cooling the eaves by adding vents
does little to help, and can even make the problem worse.
Another simple solution can be 3' lengths of 1/2" black painted copper
pipe that are spaced avery 3 feet and extend out about a foot over the
edge. The sun heats the exposed pipe, and the slight temperature
differential melts a channel for runoff. A black copper fin at the
end of the pipe can increase the solar heating.
I have one with several aluminum sections and a flat aluminum rake. It
gets hard to handle when all the sections are assembled. (My roof is
high on one side of the house.) I have a 45 degree slope on my roof,
but several valleys which reduce the ability of the snow to blow off in
a storm. Raking has been successful at preventing ice dams. Some years
almost everybody needs to use a rake.
The first year I had a roof rake made with a heavy plastic "rake". It
worked well with heavy lake effect snows we have. The weak part was the
wood. The handle snapped in half.
I then bought a roof rake made of aluminum (even the rake portion). It's a
much lighter weight. Been using it for 3 years, now and I like it.
The handles come in parts, you fit together easily and take apart easy for
ugh, I can't find the name of the darned thing! I bought it at the local
hardware store (not home depot or the like).
I would recommend one that has rollers on the scraping edge. It prevents
damage to the shingles by keeping the scraper just a bit higher than the
shingles. We bought ours at a True Value. It's aluminum with two rollers &
I think 4 handle sections. Total length is 25' I believe . Very nice.
Writing from a suburb of Rochester NY. The answer to ice dams is
incresed insulation and increased venting. My parents had ice dams
every year, until a friend and I blew in some cellulose. Then also put
in a vent at each end. Now, the snow lays flat and melts in the
spring. Also, Dad doesn't have to empty the cake pans on the floor
with a turkey baster several times a day. He's also not up on a
ladder, next to the picture window, with a hatchet. Trying to chip a
drain channel through the ice dam.
No experience with roof rakes.
Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
Save your arms, shoulders and neck and get up on the roof with a shovel. You
live in serious snow country as I do. The key is to not let the snow build
up too deep. It's important to keep the peaks clear first. You don't have to
shovel the whole roof. Clear two feet down from the peaks along the ridges.
Then clear some diagonal paths to the lower edge of the roof (one shovel
width) every 8 to 10 feet. Doesn't look like a picture postcard, but it
works. Use plastic edge shovel only. Metal edge will cause too much abrasion
of shingles. When plastic shovel wears down, get a new one-they're cheap.
It's also a good idea to clear over a bathroom since they make extra heat,
especially around the plumbing stack. If you have roof vents part way up
(box type) keep those clear.
The worst conditions are when you get freezing rain first followed by deep
wet snow. It gets heavy and packs down trapping a lot of heat and surface
moisture which can back up all the way to the peaks. Powder snow also will
start to form a heavier surface layer on the shingles as heat gets trapped.
But you can let the powder go for a few days. You have to stay on top of the
wet heavy stuff.
Never use an axe (I learned that lesson). Better to use a sledge hammer to
break thru an ice dam. The ice will fracture from the blunt impact and water
will suddenly run out at the fascia boards.
So, Jakey, how high is your highest peak? And how do you actually get
on your own roof during these periods of major snow?
My roof is easily 30 ft. from the ground. After a snowstorm, I'm
honestly not sure I'm willing to haul out the 28 ft. aluminum
extension ladder to try to climb up there to do as you suggest.
I do hope you reply because right now, I think you either live in a
ranch house or you're insane.
(From Syracuse) We had an interesting experience with a snow rake. Our
house is two stories plus attic - it's quite a reach, and our rake
doesn't get all the way to the top. Where it reached, it did a good
job, cleared it right down to bare shingles. But, when the snow above
that melted, it ran down onto the exposed surface and froze there. So,
we had an ice dam half-way up the roof, where there's no starter strip.
Personally, And dont take this wrong, But I think you all are crazy!
Why live up there in the snow, raking off your roofs, shoveling out the
car ect. Jeesh! Move to a warmer state. Turn into a Snow bird
whatever, Just get outta the snow. Snow is fun to play in for awhile
but the beach is much better! www.myflorida.com I grew up in
N.Michigan. Dont miss it a bit! have a great day. Im going out fishing!
My dining room cantilevers out the 24"s that is the overhang for the rest of
the house which means the dining room has a no overhang. I've learned from
experience that an ice dam directly over a wall is a much bigger problem
than one at the end of an overhang. That's why I need to rake at least 3-4 '
of my dining room roof.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Goedjn) wrote in
Insulation is not always the answer, since direct heating from the
sun can also cause snow melt. If the air temperature is low enough,
you'll get re-freeze, especially over night.
We have no problems at all on the north side of our house, and while
we don't have ice dams on the south side, we'll sometimes have
icecicles hanging from the rain gutters, and the gutters will be
Bert Hyman | St. Paul, MN | email@example.com
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