Pro Tips on Choosing Roof Rake for Winter
Some regions are characterized by snowy winters. That is why preparation for them requires special care. If picking tools for road clearing from snow is more or less simple, then what about roofs? Do you really need to clean them? And if so, what is the best way to do it? In this article, we will explain in detail why your roof still needs to be cleared of snow regularly and how to choose from the huge range of snow rakes the one that is right for you.
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Is It Necessary to Clean Roofs?
First of all, let's figure out whether it is really necessary to clear a roof from the accumulated snow. It is worth saying that when designing a house, you (or the person responsible for design) should calculate the possible load on the roof surface and consider an amount of snow typical for your area. In this case, the materials used will be able to support its weight. However, it does not guarantee the protection of your house from really heavy snowfalls that exceed the established norms.
Moreover, temperature fluctuations occur in winter. Because of them, the accumulated snow can melt a little during days and freeze at nights, forming frost and icicles, which might not be so easy to get rid of. Besides, they increase the likelihood of damage to the roof, pose an even greater danger to people below, and might ruin nearby cars or other buildings by falling on them. Snow should be removed regularly to prevent possible injury and the need to repair the roofing and ceiling inside the house. Cleaning from the ground with rakes is the most common, effective, and safest option.
How to Choose the Perfect Snow Rake?
After we figured out the need to clear the roof of snow, let's move on to choosing the right rakes. Here are the main factors that you should look out for when buying a suitable tool.
You need to choose the right length based on your house height and the roof slope length. It might be tempting to buy a model with the longest handle possible to clean snow even in the most difficult-to-reach places. However, you should always remember that extra length always increases the product weight. It might be uncomfortable and challenging to manipulate such a tool. It is better to choose a rake with a telescopic handle or one consisting of several extensions. It allows you to adjust the overall length as needed. As a rule, the handles are made straight; however, modern manufacturers produce rakes with corner sections or a slight bend to increase the comfort of use.
Speaking of handles, it is also worth drawing your attention to the fact that not all the models have a rubberized tip that prevents the tool from slipping out of the hands during operation. If you don't have special rubber-coated work gloves, go for the rakes with rubberized grips. Unlike aluminum (from which handles are most often made), the rubber material retains the warmth of your hand, which means that it increases your comfort. It lets you work longer in the cold.
2. Blade size
The length and width of the blade will affect the speed at which you can clear the roof. The longer the head, the more snow cover you can get rid of at one time. The models with 20-inch blades or larger ones are the most effective. Choose the blade width depending on how comfortable it will be for you to maneuver the big tool.
3. Head material
Modern manufacturers make rakes from different materials, but they mainly use:
- poly plastic;
Since heads are key elements of such an instrument, the choice of material should be approached carefully. If there are no sudden temperature changes in the region where you live, and you do not have to deal with icicles, you should choose plastic models. They are strong enough to lift even packed snow effectively. If the snow periodically melts and freezes into an ice crust on your roof, metal models will do the job better. However, be careful in using them not to damage the roofing materials.
The total weight of a product when assembled depends on many factors: the handle length, the blade width, and the materials used in the production. When considering this parameter, first of all, evaluate your own strength and endurance, as well as the amount of work ahead. Removing snow from a roof is a rather laborious and time-consuming process. If you do not have enough strength and experience, you should not choose heavy steel models with which you can only make a couple of passes. Such work will be ineffective.
Since winters can be really long and snowy in some latitudes, you should buy a product that can handle a lot of stress. Be sure to carefully check the joints of elements, all fasteners, screws, and the reliability of the telescopic mechanism. You don't want to repair a broken rake or buy a new item when the previous one has only been used once.
6. Extra features
Among the optional but very useful features, we can highlight the presence of small wheels and slide pads. They help the tool glide better over the roof surface. It is crucial for the models with metal heads, as they can damage the roof if used carelessly. Rollers and pads reduce surface stress.
Also, some devices are equipped with snow slides. This feature looks like a piece of synthetic material that is moisture- and frost-resistant. It is as wide as the rake's blade and attached to the head. It simplifies the cleaning process as the snow easily slides down this fabric without getting stuck at the roof edge or clinging to other piles of snow.
While manually clearing snow from the roof is considered the safest option, there are standard safety guidelines to keep in mind. Work only during daylight hours, remove vehicles from the surrounding area, and make sure that no one walks under the roof at the time of cleaning. Comfort and speed of task completion provide a high-quality tool. We hope this guide helps you choose a suitable model.
If you live in an area with snowy winters, please share your experience of cleaning roofs. Which tools do you use? Which recommendations can you give to beginners?