Roof Raking Antics

We’ve been having quite a severe winter here in good ol’ southern Connecticut, along with much of the rest of the nation. Heavy and frequent snow fall, along with prolonged low temperatures (well below freezing) for weeks on end, have resulted in prodigious snow accumulations, as well as some of the most insane ice damming I’ve seen on houses around here in quite some time.

I’ve also been taking a brief hiatus from regular writing, as I’ve been a bit burned out from the whole Sanford-Bristol House effort. [The house was finally saved in the end, for anyone who hasn't been keeping up...Hoo-zah!]. But there’s much happening, and much to start writing about again, so here goes with a brief starter post, just to make sure I don’t hurt myself.

Naturally, my infamous bull float roof rake got much exercise these past weeks. You might recall how using a magnesium bull float as a roof rake was a profound revelation that’d struck me several seasons ago, during an equally severe winter. The practical and philosophical underpinnings (and most importantly, the safety precautions) of this adaption were fully documented in a past article of mine, Snow Screeding Fuffy Slabs. And its utility continues to prove itself, as you can see in these photos from just last week (February 16th, 2014):

Accumulated snow on the entry roof of the Old Hawkins House, Derby, Connecticut.

What do you do when much heavy snow has settled in unwanted places, and there’s more snow and rain on the way? (Not to mention a hungry looking buzzard circling overhead…

Magnesium bull float and handle sections.

A magnesium concrete bull float and multiple aluminum extensions does the trick rather nicely, as long as you’re strong enough to get it all aloft and maneuver it safely (oh, and keep it away from any power lines or other electrical sources!).

Assembled bull float in the snow.

“That’s not a roof rake…THIS is a roof rake!”. A strip of rubber pipe insulation or a door brush seal fastened to the bottom edge would probably help prevent shingle damage, but I haven’t bothered trying that (my shingles need replacing, anyway).

The float digs in nicely, and takes deep, crusty snow apart, with no possibility of breaking.

The float digs in nicely, and takes deep, crusty snow apart, with no possibility of breaking.

A cleared front entry roof. top!

The entry roof was now reasonably clear, and no worries about more precipitation.

This week brought a rise in temperatures and quite a bit rain. Much of the snow cover persists, of course, and it will be some time before it significantly recedes. But winter’s back has broken, and it seems like spring is just around the corner now.

[ By the way, did you know we have a Facebook page, too? Please check it out and give us a "like" if you haven't done so already. Thanks, and happy (almost) spring to all! ]

About John Poole

My interests include historic homes, architectural preservation and restoration, improving the energy performance of old houses, and traditional timber frames.
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One Response to Roof Raking Antics

  1. John Poole says:

    Thanks, Alexandra.

    I think I’d be inventing crazy solutions to real problems in any climate. But the winter seems to add a heightened sense of imperative to innovating things quickly!

    ~ John

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