What Is a Rake on a Roof?

By Amanda Lutz Updated March 15, 2024

Your home’s roofing system can seem complex, especially if you’re a new homeowner. There are multiple parts that have to work in tandem for a roof to perform at peak functionality. While most homeowners won’t need to understand how all elements of a roof work, learning how a rake on a roof functions can help you ensure that your roof doesn’t suffer moisture-related damage.

A rake on a roof or roof rake, not to be confused with a handheld roof rake, is the exposed part of any gabled roof system that stretches from an eave to the ridge of the roof’s sloped sides. It’s typically made of smartboard, pine, cedar, concrete, or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), but the specific material will depend on your home’s style and trim. Our guide covers the various types of roof rakes, how to choose the right one, and maintenance tips.

Types of Roof Rakes

A roof rake covers the top edge of your roof, helping keep your roof intact and protecting it from the elements. The two most common types of roof rakes are exposed and closed rakes.

Aside from these two styles of roof rakes, there are specific tools that can help keep your shingles and gutters free of debris in between regular maintenance visits from a professional roofer. It’s easy to get the two confused, but you can differentiate them by remembering that the rake of a roof refers to the sloped edge of a pitched roof, while a handheld roof rake is a tool that’s designed to remove snow and debris from a roof.

Here are three common handheld tools:

Choosing a Roof Rake

Here are a few factors to keep in mind as you select a rake for your roof:

If you’re unsure of what rake to go with, reach out to a roofing professional. A roofer can help you choose the right rake based on your roof eaves and roof rafters and discuss structural integrity requirements for each design.

Usage Tips for a Handheld Roof Rake

While the rake of a roof protects your home from the elements, a handheld roof rake can help you remove snow, ice, and other debris to protect your roof and keep the shingles from incurring damage.

Here are a few tips for safely using a handheld roof rake:

Whenever you use a rake on a roof, be particularly careful around the edge of the roof, soffits, and gutters. These areas have edges that are easy to catch with the rake and jostle loose. In general, start at the edge of a roof and work your way up, moving in small sections until your roof is clear.

Roof Rake Maintenance

Roof rakes are an important part of your roofing system, but they can be vulnerable to a variety of issues, from ice dams to pest infestations. Additionally, if your roof rake isn’t properly installed, your roof could be in danger of structural concerns, leaking, and other long-term problems. Routine roof inspections can alert you to potential issues and help extend the life of your roof. An annual inspection is usually sufficient, but consider bringing in a roofer to evaluate the rake of the roof if you experience any severe storms or damaging winds.

Another important maintenance step is to clean your roof regularly using a gutter-cleaning roof rake. You can also use a pressure washer to prevent moisture accumulation in and around the eave and rake board area.

Finally, waterproof and seal the rake of your roof. This is an important step to protect your roof from water leaks and ice dams. By properly sealing your roof, you’ll boost its integrity and enhance its durability so you can stay safe and comfortable in your home for years to come.

Common Roof Rake Problems

Some issues with roof rakes could potentially arise. Roof rakes are vulnerable to moisture accumulation, especially ice dams. Ice dams can lead to leakage and widespread roof damage. To safeguard against this, act fast in the event of a large snowstorm or flooding event, ensuring that your roof is free of large piles of snow and ice.

Additionally, roofing materials that make up the rake of a roof are prone to pest infestations. Insects and small rodents like to build nests in the shelter of roof openings, and if left unchecked, they can wreak havoc on a home’s structure. If you have a gable roof or a roof with a large overhang, schedule regular visits from a pest control professional, and act quickly if you suspect a pest problem.

Our Recommendation

The rake on a roof is a vital part of your home’s architecture, protecting your home from the elements and acting as a moisture barrier. This rake can be exposed or enclosed and comes in a range of materials and colors. When selecting a rake for your roof, consider your home’s design as well as the type of roof you have.

Handheld roof rakes, such as gutter cleaning and snow removal tools, can act as a secondary level of protection for your roofing system. Additionally, performing routine maintenance on your roof, including yearly inspections and periodic cleanings, can help you avoid pest infestations or moisture accumulation. Prioritizing roof maintenance not only supports the rake of your roof but also supports its overall longevity, keeping it in good condition for years.

What Is a Rake on a Roof FAQ

What is the difference between a rake and an eave on a roof?

The rake on a roof is the sloping overhang at the gable ends, while the eave of a roof is the horizontal overhang located at the bottom edge of a roof section. Both the rake and the eaves play important roles in the overall functionality of your roof.

Why is a roof rake important in roofing architecture?

The roof rake is a vital part of roofing architecture. It helps prevent water damage and leaks, helping your home remain dry during the year.

What are the different types of roof rakes?

There are two different types of roof rakes: enclosed and exposed. The right type of rake for you depends on the style of roof you have, your budget, and your aesthetic preferences. A roofing professional can advise you on what roof rake will work best with your home’s design.

How do I choose the right roof rake?

To choose the right roof rake, consider the style of your roof, the ventilation requirements of your attic space, and the style you prefer for your home. Considering these factors will help you decide between an enclosed or exposed rake.