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Snow removal from roof tops?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by CK82, Dec 19, 2007.

  1. CK82

    CK82 Senior Member
    Messages: 183

    Here in Wisconsin we have had an unusual amount of snow early this season, in comparison to others I'm sure its not much. Anyways I've had some calls for removing snow from the roof tops, this has been working fine with my extended roof rake, but I have been having trouble removing the ice dams and ice build up in certain areas. I have heard that roofers have been using some sort of system to melt the ice away! Anyone have any ideas or know what is being used to melt the ice away. I have a few customers whose roofs are leaking as a result of the ice build up!

  2. Snowbrdr360

    Snowbrdr360 Senior Member
    Messages: 253

    My buddies a roofer in the area, they shovel the roof and use hot water (heated pressure washer) to clear the dams
  3. hadley-plow-guy

    hadley-plow-guy Member
    Messages: 31

    I can't remember who makes them but you throw these "wafers" on the roof to melt the ice. They are supposably not harming to the roofing. But I like the hot water idea better. No chance there of having the roof fall apart unless you get to close. After it is cleaned up you could reccommend putting some deicing cables that clip to the shingles, do not use these for metal or it will rip it off when it comes off the roof. I have these cables on my house and they work great. But they need to be plugged directly into a GFCI outlet with no extension cords which may require an electrician. payup
  4. dunlaps lawncare

    dunlaps lawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 111

    i belive its northern tool has roof rakes
  5. cincy snowdog

    cincy snowdog Senior Member
    Messages: 262

    not sure the name but there is a company that makes a system that has a burner and a roll of hose you put up on the roof and the system pumps hot water through the hose .may be glycol based. good luck keep us posted,a couple years ago we had 18" snow,and commercial roofs were dropping like flies here.
  6. jjklongisland

    jjklongisland Senior Member
    Messages: 470

    I heard sometimes at LaGaurdia Airport that they pay subs to snowblow some of the rooftops as well as plow taxi ways... I feel bad for the poor SOB's that are snowblowing 20 to 30 feet above grade at a wide open airport in the wind driven snow... Now doesnt that sound like fun, oh yeah the reason why they need the snow off the roof is fear of a collapse so let me and a couple of guys hop onto the roof with a couple of 2 stage snowblowers and a foot of wet snow... No thanks...
  7. Michael M

    Michael M Member
    Messages: 80

    Many of my customers ask me to shovel their roof. There is alot of money to be made in that business. Most homeowners are too scared to go up on a snow covered roof.
    I helped a woman off her roof yesterday because she was too scared to get down.
  8. StratfordPusher

    StratfordPusher Senior Member
    Messages: 948

    Helped her down

    And how much did you charge her ?? lol.....to get her down.,...
  9. Duracutter

    Duracutter Senior Member
    from Canada
    Messages: 200

    Let me guess.. $0.

    A lot of money can mean $30/house or $600 a house. Depends on the business and what the definition of a "lot" means. :D

    Our company wouldn't consider roof cleanups under $70/hr per man and that would entail using all security devices... In other words, not interested...the cheap skate homeowners won't pay enough!!

  10. firelwn82

    firelwn82 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,861

    Actually if they think there roof needs it they'll pay anything. I charge $100 an hour. They pay it with no questions. No I don't feel like I'm ripping them off either. Its very dangerous and if I did slip and fall are they going to go out and finish the year of snow removal for me cause I'm laid up NO. You can clean a roof in under an hour usually with no problems.
  11. and you thought driveways were tough

    first: realize that ANY leak is going to be blamed on YOU
    and the cost of roof repair or replacement is a killer

    second: speaking of 'killer' the OSHA requirements for fall
    protection could get you in deep ca-cah (in the city)
    [stay on the ground]

    third: the water trick is the safest and least risky.
    you can do this from the ground or ladder.

    calcium chloride in an old pair of pany-hose will melt a path
    for recurring icedams

    Let the roofer do this and stay in your truck !!
  12. firelwn82

    firelwn82 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,861

    Really? How would this work?
  13. CK82

    CK82 Senior Member
    Messages: 183

    I like the idea of a heated pressure washer, I have a standard pressure washer, no heat though. I think it would take some time to melt ice damns! The customers I have shoveled the roofs off for are long time customers that trust in me and wouldnt hold me liable. That is as long as I wasnt doing something completely irrational. Thanks for the ideas. So far I just have used a roof rake/shovel 3ft. in or so from the edges and in the valleys. I also chopped some channels in the ice for standing water to drain out. When I did this I made sure to never come in contact with the shingles. Any other ideas let me know.

  14. We use regular pressure washers all the time
    It is really not the temperature of the water but --just water , that works.

    Water makes the 'phase' change from ice to water.
    ie warm air is not as effective in providing the heat calories needed for the phase change.

    Ice and snow are 32deg. Period.

    The power washer can reach further and use less water.
    But all you need is a garden hose and a good nozzle-- or an extension wand.

    It is the easy way to get ice off driveway aprons and walks.

    Now--obviously we dont use water on drives and walks when it is severly cold.
    High 20s seems to be okay. The paved material tends to warm up and not refreeze.

    btw: wet weather clothing is recommended
  15. poncho62

    poncho62 Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    If you are a homeowner that gets amounts of snow on the roof, you should have invested in a roof rake log ago.................They are long enough for 2 storeys.....If you keep up with it, you wont get ice dams that leak...............If someone asked me to do it, I would with a rake........................Not getting up on no ladder....or roof in the winter.
  16. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    My brother lives in WI and his barn roof colapsed from the weight of the snow.

    I agree with what Avitare said:

    first: realize that ANY leak is going to be blamed on YOU
    and the cost of roof repair or replacement is a killer

    second: speaking of 'killer' the OSHA requirements for fall
    protection could get you in deep ca-cah (in the city)
    [stay on the ground]

    Let the roofer do this and stay in your truck !!

    My liabilty insurance only covers me (and employees) up to 15' above the ground. If their roof is leaking already, they need to hire a roofing crew to remove the ice and repair the damage.

    Stay on the ground making $XXX.xx per hour instead of on the roof making less.
  17. dmontgomery

    dmontgomery PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,238

  18. Michael M

    Michael M Member
    Messages: 80

    She called 911 for help, I am a paid fireman so I couldn't charge her. However, my hourly rate to help stupid people is VERY high.payup
  19. firelwn82

    firelwn82 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,861

    So you shoulda told her to call 911 and got the benefits of both worlds. xysport
  20. northernsweeper

    northernsweeper Senior Member
    Messages: 397

    I have shoveled quite a few roofs over the years.Most are one story ramblers with 4/12 pitch,so the falling off danger isn't so great. For ice dams I have used ice melt.It seems to work pretty good..