An Expert Guide to Snow Removal from Flat Roofs

Last Updated on: 23rd July 2023, 10:27 am

Low cost, ease of construction, and versatility make flat roofs a popular choice for many buildings. However, one of the main concerns for flat roof owners is how to effectively remove snow and prevent damage to the roof.

Snow accumulation on flat roofs can be a significant issue, as the weight of a heavy load of snow can put a lot of stress on the roof structure. This can lead to cracking, leaks, and other types of damage, making it relevant to have a plan in place for removing snow in a safe and effective manner.

Flat roofs and snow

Choose your snow removal gear based on the amount of snow

Trying to remove snow from a roof is similar to trying to empty a pool with a teaspoon. No matter how hard you try, without the proper equipment it would be an impossible task. In order to remove snow from flat roofs safely and effectively, the first thing you need to do is assess how much snow is accumulated. This will help you determine the type of equipment and tools you will need to remove snow. If the snow accumulation is less than 6 inche,s a snow rake or roof shovel can be used to remove it. However, if the snow accumulation is more than 6 inches, you may need to consider using a roof snow blower or snow blower attachment.

Using a Snow Rake

If you want to avoid going on the roof, you can use a snow rake. Start by assemblingyour roof rake and placing it at the edge of the roof, then pull downward to remove snow from the roof. Be sure to leave about an inch of snow on the roof as it serves as insulation and helps prevent ice dams. When using a snow rake, be sure to wear protective gear such as gloves, boots, and eye protection. Just remember, the last thing you want to do is make the snow angry! You don’t want to be on the receiving end of a snow avalanche!

Proper Technique for Using a Shovel

Shoveling snow off a flat roof requires the right technique. It´s better to use a plastic shovel so you don´t damage the roof membrane. Learn how to cut and form the snow into blocks you can drag along the roof. Form the block, slide hte shovel underneath, and use it like a lever to lift off the block. You may also want to consider using non-corrosive ice melt to help loosen any stubborn snow or ice. Be sure to take all necessary safety measures when using a shovel for flat roof snow removal.

Using a Snow Pusher

You can quickly remove large amounts of snow from a flat roof with a snow pusher. The tool is designed to push and pull along the roof surface, remo ving snow as it goes. Remember that this tool isn´t designed to dig into the roof membrane, so use it carefully and steadily. If you have large amounts of snow to remove, using a snow pusher can make the job much easier and quicker than suing a shovel and can help reduce any potential damage that may occur from manual shoveling.

Using a Snow Blower

Make sure the roof´s structural integrity and the surrounding area are safe before using a snow blower. Plastic or rubber-tipped snow blowers are best, since metal blades can damage the roof membrane and cause leaks. Don´t let the auger touch the roof surface, and make sure it´s elevated. If done correctly, using a snow blower can help you removel arge amounts of snow from your flat roof quickly and effectively.

Taking safety precautions on the roof

Once you have determined the type of equipment you will need, it is critical to take safety precautions. Always be certain that you are wearing proper footwear with plenty of traction and that you have a solid grip on the equipment. If you are working on a flat roof that is elevated, be certain to wear a saftey harness or safety ropes to prevent falls. If you are unsure about your ability to safely remove snow, it is advisable to consult a professional roofing contractor.

Snow removal on a flat roof

When removing snow from a flat roof, it is wise to start at the edge of the roof and work your way inward. This will help to prevent snow from sliding off the roof and causing damage to the building or injuring someone below. When using a snow rake or roof shovel, it is essential to use a gentle, sweeping motion to avoid damaging the roofin gmaterial. If you are using a roof snow blower, be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this can also cause damage to the roofing material.

Ice dam removal from the flat roof

What do I do with the snow?

In addition to removing the snow, it is also critical to consider the proper disposal of the snow. Snow should never be thrown off the roof, as it can cause damage tothe building or harm someone below. Instead, it should be placed in a snow pile or snow bank that is away from the building and out of the way of foot traffic. According to the CDC, about a million people are injured each year as a result of slipping on ice or snow.

Getting rid of ice dams

Another significant factor to consider when geting rid of snow from flat roofs is the potential for ice dams. Ice dams occur when snow melts on the roof and then refreezes at the edge of the roof, creating a barrier that traps water and prevents it from draining properly. Ice dams can cause significant damage to flat roofs, so it is salient to remove them as soon as possible. To remove ice dams, use a roof shovel or roof ice melt product to break up the ice and clear a path for water to drain.

Reduce ice dams with insulation

In addition to manual snow removal, there are also several preventive measures that can be taken to reduce the amount of snow accumulation on flat roofs. One of these measures is the use of roof insulation. Roof insulation can help prevent snow from melting and refreezing, reducing the likelihood of ice dams. Roof insulation can also help to reduce heat los from the building, making it more energy efficient.

Protect your roof with roof coatings

Another preventive measure that can be taken is the use of roof coatings. Roof coatings can help to prevent snow from melting and refreezing, as well as provide additional protection against water damage. Roof coatings can also help to reduce the amount of heat los from the building, making it more energy efficient.

Roofing compatibility

Another key consideration for flat roof owners is the type of roofing material being used. Bituminous roofing materials are more susceptible to damage from snow and ice accumulation than others. These materials can be more prone to tearing, cracking, and warping in cold temperatures. It is important to use a roofing material that is designed for cold weather climates and to take extra precaution during the winter months. A PVC or EPDM roof is much more durable than asphalt in areas with lots of snow and ice, so it’s a better choice there. However, it should be noted that PVC and EPDM roofing materials are also more expensive than asphalt, so there is a trade-off to be considered.

Snow and ice damage insurance

It is also wise to consider insurance when it comes to snow removal from flat roofs. Most insurancepolicies will cover damage from snow and ice accumulation, but it is essential to check with your insurance provider to confirm what is covered. Some insurance providers may require that you take specific preventive measures, such as installing roof insulation or using roof coatings, in order to be covered.

Concerning flat roofs, snow can become a major issue. Snow accumulation can cause ponding and bowing, which can lead to structural stress and water leaks. Ponding is caused by the weight of the snow, and it can also cause low spots on the roof where water wil collect. This can lead to water damage, leaks and even bowing of the roof structure. In addition, snowmelt and water can further erode the integrity of your flat roof, leading to more damage. In order to avoid any potential damage or waterl eakage due to heavy snow accumulation, it is essential to take proactive action as soon as possible.

In addition to covering damage from snow and ice accumulatio n, insurance may also cover the cost of profesional snow removal services. If you are unsure about what your insurance policy covers, it is best to discuss this with your insurance provider before removing snow from your flat roof.

The weight of snow. How much does the snow on my roof weigh?

Snow on your roof can weigh differently depending on its moisture content. An older, wet snow is heavier than the fresh, dry snow. According to the rule of thumb, snow weighs around 20 pounds per cubic foot, or 1.25 pounds per inch. A two-foot snowfall (24 inches of snow or 60 cm) adds 19 tons of weight to your roof, which can seriously weaken it. If you have a flat roof or low-pitched design that allows snow to accumulate continuously, you should get rid of the snow as soon as possible to prevent structural damage.


Maintaining the safety and integrity of your roof starts with removing snow from flat roofs. You can protect your flat roof from snow and ice accumulation by using the right tools and equipment, taking safety precautions, and considering insurance coverage. Consult a professional roofing contractor or roof snow removal services if you’re unsure about how to safely remove snow from your flat roof.

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