Written by Anna Helman

While your horses love to run around in the freshly fallen snow, snow on your barn roof can be an extremely hazardous.  Under the weight of snow, roofs can often collapse. It is estimated that roofs become strained when there is about 20 pounds of snow per square foot. The more compacted the snow, the heavier it is. So in today’s blog, we will look into snow removal options and various other safety tips

Snow Removal


1. Physical Snow Removal

A general rule of thumb is to remove the snow off your roof every time it accumulates to 6”. Removing snow every 6” usually helps prevent a well-maintained roof from collapsing or leaking.  Some horse owners with one-story barns remove the snow themselves from the ground. It is my recommendation that if your barn is multiple stories high or if you have little experience removing snow, that you hire a snow removal contra

Horses with blankets in Red Barn in snow, Ma., New England, USA

ctor. As horse people, we think that we are good at handling risk and minimizing costs but climbing onto your roof with a shovel is not the way to test these abilities.

Snow Removal From the Ground. If you hire a snow removal contractor and have a short barn, they will most likely use a roof rake to remove the snow. The roof rake will have a long handle and often have soft tines. Make sure a rake with metal tines is never used to remove snow; it will scratch your roof!

Snow Removal From the Roof. Since this is done by professionals, sit back and watch. But make sure to watch from a safe distance so you don’t end up covered in snow.

2. Heat Cables.

This option often presents a large amount of challenges. Heat cables are installed onto the edge of your roof and as the snow slides down the roof, it melts. It has been suggested that heat cables can struggle to keep up with heavy snowfall. They are also expensive to install and require a lot of energy to power. Yet they are an alternative to physical snow removal!

Safety Tips for Snow on Roofs

Replace Ceiling Beams.  If you know your roof is aging, consider having a professional evaluate the stability and structure of your beams and roof. You would never forgive yourself if you opt out of replacing a few beams and your barn roof collapses and traps your horses.

Long thick icicle  hang down of  the roof of a red barn in winter.

Salt Products. No, no no. Salt products on your roofs will cause it to discolor. When the spring rolls around that blue roof you had will now be an interesting shade of green!

Don’t forget icicles. Snow melting off your roof can create huge icicles that are dangerous. Remember to break them off while they are still small!


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