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Roof Snow Removal Cost

The average cost of removing snow from a roof is $250.

In this guide

When to remove the snow
Ice dams
Cost factors
Labor
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to remove snow from a roof?

While a light dusting of snow on your roof is nothing to worry about, if you have a roof with a low pitch, experience a great deal of snowfall over the course of a winter, or have a home that’s partial to developing ice dams, it’s a good idea to remove the snow from your roof at least periodically. Snow removal can help prevent leaks, ice dams, roof deterioration, and even roof collapse.

Not every property will need the snow removed after each snowfall. The average homeowner will need snow removed when you have more than 12-inches of wet snow that has at least partially frozen. For a 1,500 sq.ft. roof, the cost for this procedure will be around $300.

When to remove the snow

Knowing when to remove the snow from your roof is probably the most difficult part of the process for homeowners. Modern roofs are built to hold a minimum of 35 pounds per square foot, which is 6-inches of packed snow or 12-inches of fluffier snow. Roofs with a pitch above 4-½ inches - or a rise of more than 4-½-inches per foot - will not tend to accumulate more snow than this, as it will generally slide off.

However, roofs with a flatter pitch will accumulate more snow over time, which can increase the weight to 60 or even 75 pounds per square foot - more than the roof can safely hold without developing problems.

For homes with flat roofs, it’s recommended that you remove the snow when it reaches 12-inches in depth.

For other roofs, the matter is more complicated, and has to do with the weight of the snow. If the snow has been freezing and compacting, then it’s also getting heavier, and not necessarily sliding off. In this case, you can have the snow weighed; a 12-inch square section is removed down to the roof and weighed. If it weighs upwards of 60 pounds, you need to have the snow removed from your roof to prevent damage. If less, then you may be risking more damage to the roof by shoveling than by leaving it alone.

Ice dams

The other issue to consider, is the ice dam. This is a condition when the snow on your roof melts, then refreezes at the edge. An ice dam can cause water to back up beneath your roofing shingles 1, causing leaks and deterioration. Ice dams can also cause icicles, which can fall and hurt people standing or walking below the eave 2.

Not every property will accumulate ice dams. Homes with proper ventilation and insulation in the attic will not develop them as frequently as homes without good ventilation and insulation. If your home develops ice dams frequently, it’s generally recommended that you have the snow removed at least from the front of your roof every 6-inches.

Cost factors

There are several factors that go into determining the costs of snow removal. The first is the amount of time that it takes to remove the snow. Larger roofs, heavier snowfall, and ice accumulation will all mean that the process takes longer. Since many companies charge per hour or per half hour, the longer the process, the higher the cost.

The pitch of your roof may also play a role. Typically, any work done on a roof with a very high pitch will cost more than work done on a flat roof. However, in the case of snow removal, the higher the pitch, the more likely the snow is to simply slide off on its own. So, removing snow from a flat roof may actually cost more, as there is likely more to remove.

Finally, the process involved will also affect the cost. For one-story homes, it’s generally safer and better for your roof to have the snow raked off, rather than shoveled. This can also be less expensive than snow shoveling, will need to be done for homes that have two or more stories.

Labor

Most snow removal companies will charge either by the hour or by the half hour. There is usually a minimum charge of $75 to $90 for small projects. And most companies typically charge around $90 to $100 per hour or $50 per half hour.

For the removal of 12-inches of heavy, semi-compacted snow from a 1,500 sq.ft roof, it takes roughly 3 hours for a total of around $300 on average.

Enhancement and improvement costs

Heat coils

Some homeowners will install electric cables on their roof to warm it and prevent the snow from accumulating. These are not always the right choice, but if you’ve had problems in the past, they can help prevent them from occurring again. They cost around $500 on average.

Ice shield

If you’re having a new roof installed, and you’ve had problems with ice dams in the past, you may want to have an ice shield installed. This is a rubber membrane that goes beneath your shingles 1. It can help prevent the leaks that occur when an ice dam backs up on your roof. It costs around $600 to $800 to install.

Heated gutters

Another way of dealing with ice dams is to have heated gutters installed. Heated gutters keep the edge of your roof warm, preventing the melting snow from refreezing there. They cost around $2,000 - $4,000 on average.

Additional considerations and costs

  • DIY is not often recommended. Roofs can be slick, which can cause falls. In addition, shoveling can damage your shingles 1 if not done properly.
  • If you do decide to DIY, you may want to consider a roof rake. This tool pulls the snow down the slope of the roof. Do not pull the rake across the roof side to side, as this could damage the shingles. This works best on one-story homes.
  • Make sure your attic is properly ventilated and insulated to help prevent the formation of ice dams.
  • Never walk on a snow covered roof, as this can compact the snow and cause damage. Work from a ladder or the ground whenever possible.
  • Do not use salt or calcium-chloride-based products to melt the snow off your roof. These materials are corrosive and could damage your roof. Runoff may also damage the plants and grass beside your home.
  • Consider having the snow removed early if you have known issues. Waiting can mean the snow removal company is booked, which means that you’ll wait even longer, potentially causing damage.
  • If you do not have ice dams and are only concerned with roof collapse, you can wait until there is more than 12 inches of snow on your roof before removal.

FAQ

  • How much is too much snow on your roof?

Too much snow could be between 6 and 12-inches depending on the issues. For ice dams, 6-inches, for roof collapse, 12-inches.

  • How much does roof snow removal cost?

Typical costs range between $90 and $400 with most homeowners paying around $300.​

  • Do you have to clear snow off your roof?

No, but very heavy snow can cause structural problems and roof damage, while some roofs may develop ice dams.

  • How much does snow plow insurance cost?

Commercial snow plow insurance rates are around $900 per year.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Shingle 1 Shingles: A smooth, uniform, flat piece of construction material, available in a wide variety of materials and laid in a series of overlapping rows, used to cover the outside of roofs or walls to protect against weather damage and leaks.
2 Eave: The edge of a roof that connects with the wall of the building. Usually this part of the roof comes out further than the wall

Cost to remove snow from roof varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

picture related to the guide

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Athens, GA
-9%
Canton, MA
+43%
Denver, NY
+16%
Detroit, MI
+16%
Easton, WA
-4%
Ferndale, WA
-6%
Madison, WI
+13%
Mc Lean, VA
+35%
Pullman, WA
-33%
Shelton, CT
+21%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Trenton, NJ
+28%
Unity, ME
-38%
Winona, MN
-23%
Labor cost in your zip code
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