Cleaning the Roof

Yesterday, Clif scraped the roof of the house to remove the snow from the eaves.

It’s hard but necessary work. If the roof isn’t scraped, then ice dams form along the edge by the eaves. From the Spruce, here is a description of how ice dams form: “Ice dams begin when snow melts on an upper, warmer part of a roof, then flows down to the colder eave overhang, where it refreezes. As the ice accumulates, it forms a blockage that prevents additional snowmelt from flowing off the roof. The ice now begins to back up under the roof shingles, where it melts again, soaking the roof sheathing and leaking into the attic.”

Because we heat with wood, the chimney throws heat above the insulation and below the roof, thus making the situation worse. A metal roof would solve the problem. The snow would not only slide off, but because the roof would be one piece, there would be no undermelt. But a metal roof is expensive. However, probably in the next few years, we will spring for a metal roof.

In the meantime, Clif scrapes off the snow.


66 thoughts on “Cleaning the Roof”

  1. Thank you for sharing that definition of ice dams, I don’t think I understood before how they come about. When we lived in Alaska, we were fortunate to own a house with a metal roof and didn’t have to go to the trouble you do. It definitely would be worth having one!

  2. Ice dams are truly damaging. We switched to a metal roof for that reason, but now we get ice buildup when there’s freezing rain or ice pellets on top of snow, which then slides off as a giant ice sheet and causes damage on the decks below. Good thing the snow is so beautiful!

  3. Aha, thanks for the explanation. After having to replace a roof last year after a horrendous hail storm, I was strongly tempted to get a metal roof. It is more expensive, but also much sturdier, and for Clif, a lot less work. Some people don’t like the noise of weather on a metal roof, but I think I could get used to it. For Clif’s’ sake I hope you can do it.

    1. I grew up in an old farm house with a metal roof. Hail is not common in our area. Used to love to hear the rain on the roof, especially at night as I was falling asleep.

  4. Interesting to read about the ice dam. It would be quite an exercise for Clif, he’s doing well. My brother-in-law is a physiotherapist and he says that people who continue to work hard in their garden and house once they retire are much more flexible, and have better balance.

  5. This really is interesting. I’ve been trying to remember whether such a process took place when I was a kid in Iowa, and I don’t think so. For one thing, it was a two-story house. Perhaps the slope of the roof was such that most of it slid off. It’s been so many decades ago now that there’s no one to ask. I don’t even remember hearing about ice dams, but we sure did have icicles hanging off the roof! One thing’s certain: Clif is up to the challenge!

    1. I expect the slope of the roof took care of the problem. We live in a ranch-style home with a shallow pitch. Not exactly ideal for an area with lot of snow, but there you go. Sure are a lot ranch-style homes here.

  6. Snow dams! Fascinating, a complication of living in your challenging climate that had never occurred to me before. A metal roof sounds like a good way to go.

  7. What a lot of work Laurie and Clif is doing a great job! We see metal roofs on some of the cottages further inland (where there is more snowfall) and whilst it helps in Winter, it can get uncomfortably hot under these roofs in Summer, especially now our Summers are getting warmer and warmer.

    1. I wonder if the pitch of your rooves (Mainer for roofs) is steeper than many of the houses in Maine. We live in what is known as a ranch-style home. Very common here but not exactly ideal for a climate with a lot of snow. On the other hand, when Clif has to fiddle with the chimney, he’s not afraid to walk across the roof.

  8. I have occasionally had to remove snow from the roovs of my greenhouses. They are much smaller and lower than your house but it was still a big job and my arms ached! Well done Cliff.

  9. Cliff is a hardworking hero and I’m grateful to get a glimpse of life in the snowy north. I was very interested to learn about ice dams. If you do get a metal roof, perhaps you’ll also get those little metal eagles at the edges that break up the sheets of ice into less lethal chunks. Stay safe!

  10. Boy, am I glad I don’t have to do that here! I’m all for the expensive roof, Laurie (of course, it’s not MY money, is it?!?)

  11. We had a metal roof put on our own place, even though we don’t get a lot of snow. They do last a long time, and do not grow moss and collect dirt like a conventional shingled roof. I hope you can get a new roof soon.

  12. We have raked the roof on occasion. Mostly, though, since our new roof we’ve been lucky not to have too. I’d love a metal roof, but you are right, they are expensive.

  13. I’ve been catching up with my reading after a fallow time but trying to resist leaving a flurry of likes and comments as it would be too weird. Clif’s exertions reminded me of a brief trip to Quebec where the roofs puzzled me until someone explained about clearing snow. I am glad you have your new blower to help. A pity it doesn’t work in the air – a blower with wings sounds like an ingredient in a Maine winter story.

  14. Aarrgh! Snow on the roof! God bless Clif for working with that rake. I just lose my balance so easily with it.
    I’ll add my other roof woe: gutters. We need them in 3 seasons to keep water away from the foundation, but winter is a different ballgame. So we have heat wires through the gutters, which can be helpful, but then there’s the discussions about turning them on/off.
    Always something….

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