Snow rakes prevent ice dams and keep your roof structurally sound. (

If you live in an area with frequent winter storms and don’t have a steep roof, it’s crucial to have a snow rake.

This tool has a wide blade attached to a long pole to remove snow from the edges of your roofline. 

The poles and blades come in varying lengths, so you can buy what works best for your roof’s size and height. 

Icicles hanging from the edge of a residential roof
Ice dams cause some of nature’s most beautiful sights — icicles — but they also wreak havoc on your home. (DepositPhotos)

Why Built-Up Snow is a Hazard

If you don’t rake the snow from your roof, it not only strains the structure of your home but also starts a chain reaction leading to a bigger problem in the future. 

Ice dams form when the bottom layer of snow on your roof begins to melt and drip down to the edge of your roof into the eaves. Once the melted snow accumulates, it will freeze again in the eaves, the area of the roof that is coldest, because it’s farther away from insulation. 

An ice dam will then form. And once it’s formed, ice will continue to form up onto your roof and could work its way under the shingles. When the weather warms up, that melted ice under the shingles will leak into your house.

How to Use a Snow Rake

Now that you understand the importance of raking rooftop snow, let’s talk about how to use a snow rake.

First, you need to buy the right snow rake for your roof. Measure the height from the ground to the edge of your roof.

To prevent ice dams, you’ll need to rake at least 4 feet from the edge of your roof, so you’ll want to add about 4 to 6 extra feet to that measurement.

From the ground, find a place where you can safely rake the snow off the roof. Never climb onto your roof to rake snow.

Finally, be careful to not drag the rake too hard, because you can pull up shingles and damage your roof.

Skip to [skipto time=10:23][10:23][/skipto] for the full segment on the Today’s Homeowner Podcast.

Also on this episode:

  • Tips to fix gaps on the ends of plank flooring
  • How to set a ceiling fan during the winter

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Simple Solutions

Vinyl Floor Tile Fix—Here’s a quick, simple way to remove a damaged peel-and-stick vinyl floor tile.

First, cover the damaged tile with two layers of paper towels. Next, set a hot clothes iron onto the paper towels and slowly move it back and forth across the tile.

After a few minutes, the heat from the iron will begin to melt the tile adhesive. Use a putty knife to carefully peel up one corner of the tile.

Continue applying heat until you can peel up the entire tile. 

Drilling Concrete—When drilling large holes into concrete, brick or stone, save time and simplify the process by starting with a small bit, like a 1/8- or ¼-inch-diameter carbide-tipped masonry bit.

Then, use a progressively larger bit until you create the desired size hole.

Question of the Week

Q: Is it wise to install crown molding in a bathroom because of all the hot, moist air?

A: You can have crown molding in a bathroom, but be sure to install it properly. Prime and stain all sides of the wood crown molding to prevent any moisture from seeping in. Always leave the bathroom fan on at least 10 minutes after you shower to get all the hot, moist air out. Vinyl and polyurethane molding are also available.

Other Products and Links Mentioned

Further Reading

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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