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Snowpocalypse 2019: When to shovel your roof


As snow keeps piling up on our cars and streets, now might be the time to start thinking about the snow piling up on your roof.

Roofing experts say the main thing to watch out for is the weight of the snow and ice on the roof. If you can get your hands on one, a roof rake is your best bet to clear it all off.

The snowstorm is mostly bringing in powdery snow. It’s the ice that’s troublesome.

Experts say homes are getting to the point where ice is getting packed down close to the base of the roof. They say it’s because of the heat rising up from inside your house, which turns the snow into that heavy, dangerous ice.

Isaiah McGarry, with Central Oregon Roofing, recommends using the snow rake or a plastic shovel. He explained metal shovels are great for shoveling sidewalks but they can really rip up a a roof.

“Part of the problem we ran into a few years ago was people trying to remove ice dams and getting up there with hammers, chisels, axes, anything they could imagine, trying to break through this ice,” he said Wednesday “They were using so much force, they were going through the shingles into the plywood, causing big issues that way.”

McGarry also said the best option is to reach out to a roofing professional. He warns prospective customers to make sure they are licensed, bonded and insured. Otherwise, there’s a chance you could get scammed.

Buildings and roofs older than 15 years or so are most at risk of snow damage.

Figuring out the weight of snow on one’s roof can be tricky. The city of Bend created a formula and shared it on its website to help:

(S)(1.25) = P

S = Inches of snow on the roof

1.25 = Weight of 1 sq ft of snow for each 1″ of depth

P = Pounds per square foot


If my roof has 20″ of snow, what would that equate to?

(20″)(1.25 lbs/sq ft) = 25 lbs/ sq ft

In this example the roof would be ok.

You can find the full details of the formula here. This may seem like a pain, but McGarry said it’s worth doing the math.

“A roof is not a popular place to spend your time looking. It’s not a thing people usually pay attention to, but in weather like this, you want to pay attention to it,” he explained. “You don’t want to do any damage to your home. (Your roof is) protecting a very expensive investment.”

Some Central Oregonians are taking matters into their own hands.

Jose Garcia and three of his family members spent the greater part of Wednesday morning up on their roof, clearing almost 4 feet of snow. Garcia is a painting contractor by trade and said when it’s snowing badly like this, he tries to make money by helping clear out the snow.

“Two years ago, contractors started to really use the (Kenwood Elementary School Gym) collapse as a scare tactic to charge extra,” he said. “If you’re scared of your roof coming down and your family’s important to you, you’ll pay the price. If you don’t, you just have to get up there and do it.”

Much like many other Central Oregonians, Garcia plans to keep dealing with the snow as it comes. He has mixed feelings about it all, but also seems to have a good outlook.

“I’m pretty over it. I’m ready for summer and spring to come along and enjoy the river. Not this, because you get cabin fever,” he continued. “But you know what? It’s fun to stay home, drink some hot chocolate and stay home with the family. You’ve have to take the good with the bad sometimes.”

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