If you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow, you likely end up with snow on the roof. When it builds up, you will need to remove it so it doesn't cause damage to the roofing structure. A roof rake is a great tool to remove the snow, but you need to be careful if you are not accustomed to using one.
Get the Right Size Rake
You need to start by having the right size of roof rake. This ensures that the rake is long enough to remove the snow from your roof, without requiring you to put yourself at risk. It should not be necessary to stand on the roof while raking off snow. Look for a rake with an extendable arm that allows you to stand on the ground in front of your home, as far back as necessary until you can see the roof. It may take some careful measuring before you figure out the right size. Otherwise, choose the longest rake you can find to ensure it is tall enough, especially if you have a two-story home. For a one-story home, most standard roof rakes are sufficient.
Pay Attention to the Material
You also need to ensure you are getting the rake that works with your roofing materials. Each one is labeled with the type of roofing structure is works well for. If you get a rake meant for metal roofs and you have asphalt shingles, it might do some damage to your roof. Get a roofing rake that is specifically meant for asphalt materials. Each rake is built differently with varying features, based on what is needed for the type of roof you have. Speak to a roofing specialist if you are concerned about the type of rake you are choosing.
Rake at the Right Time
Raking is a method used to remove snow more often, as opposed to shoveling, which is only done when the snow is piling up high on the roof. You should use raking when you have time to remove snow more often, and following any big snowstorm. If you look up on your roof and the snow is covering part of the roofing structure, where you can't see the shingles completely due to the snow, it is probably a good time to rake. Also, rake when the edges of the roof have built-up snow, as this helps to prevent ice dams.
Pull Down the Rake Gently
When you begin raking the snow, extend the pole of the rake to reach as far up the roof as possible. It should be curved so the rake can hit the roofing structure, but without damaging it. Once you get it into a good position, gently pull it down the roof, effectively pulling the snow down. You may need to work on the snow at the edge in order to keep the snow from the gutter.
If you find that your roofing materials have been damaged from the rake, contact a roofing contractor right away.