This Simple Rope Hack Can Save Your Roof From A Snowy Disaster

Huge piles of snow on your roof spell disaster for your safety and budget. If you don't remove the heavy snow quickly, you risk structural damage or collapse. A damaged roof lets cold air into your formerly toasty home — and in the chilly winter to boot. Plus, roof repairs are among the priciest house maintenance jobs. To deal with a large pile of snow, all you need is a long length of rope, a few simple tools, and good roof climbing skills or a strong throwing arm. After forming a circle around the snow pile, all you have to do is grab both ends of the rope to tighten it. The snow will slide right off! If you think you can stay safe and want to save yourself the $300 to $700 average cost for roof snow removal, this trick may be worth the effort.

Like most savvy tips for winterizing your roof, there are a few downsides to consider. For one, it's dangerous to climb on an icy roof. Ideally, you'll keep your feet on the ground, but if you have to scale your roof, plan your route up and down in advance, including where you position the ladder. An even safer alternative method is completing this trick with the help of someone else. Further, this hack can be tiring, so ensure you save enough energy for shoveling snow from your deck, lawn, or front door. Finally, this technique relies on gravity, so it works best on steeply-pitched roofs.

How to try out this hack

You'll need a trestle ladder (for extra stability), appropriately-warm clothing, and a coil of strong rope that's longer than the width of your roof twice over. You can't go wrong with the KingCord 100-foot-long diamond braid polypropylene rope that's $30 at Menards. If you're working alone, you'll also need a heavy tool like a trench digger or hammer.

Ideally, you'll be able to rope (get it?) a family member or friend into this snow-removing scheme. With one of you on each side of the house, fling one end of the rope over to your partner. Once they grab it, alternate, pulling the rope downwards through the snow until it hits the roof. Then, slowly shimmy it across the roof until you meet at one end of the house. Pull the ends of the rope together and then toward you until the snow slides off. Be sure to both stand far enough away from the house to avoid becoming a snowman.

If you're alone, carefully scale the roofline until you're standing to one side of the patch of snow you want to remove. Holding onto one end of the rope, tie your heavy tool to the other end and toss it over the guttering. Carefully leave the roof, then pull on both ends of the rope, forming an ever-tightening circle — or lasso — around the snow pile. Eventually, as the circle closes, the snow will fall off. Again, don't stand right under the guttering.