Metal Roof Snow Guards

Metal roof snow defender

What Are Roof Snow Guards?

Roof snow guards are devices placed on a roof that causes any snow or ice that accumulates on the roof to fall off slowly and in a systematic way, instead of suddenly or unexpectedly like it would in what is referred to as roof avalanche. snow breaks are placed to protect anything surrounding the roof from the damage accumulated snow can cause. If a snowpack were to suddenly fall, it can create devastation that can be harmful to both property and people. Snow guards are not only imperative during snowfall, they allow snow and ice to completely melt before dripping to the ground.

How Do Roof Snow Guards Work?

Metal Roof Snow Guards

During a snowstorm, snow is deposited on rooftops and accumulates, creating what is called a snowpack. As the snow continues to pile on, the roof may be able to keep the snowpack on roof for a time, but as temperatures rise the sun’s rays will warm the snow and cause the snowpack to loosen. When this happens, gravity plays a role and the entire sheet of snow or ice is suddenly released and an avalanche occurs.

Installing snow guards on a sloped roof hold the ice and snow on the roof and prevent them from sliding off suddenly. The weight of the snow and ice is evenly distributed by the roof snow guards as it melts off and therefore preventing damage. This is not only important for public buildings but for residential properties as well.

Do I Need Snow Guards on My Metal Roof?

Frozen roof gutter

Metal roofs especially need roof snow guards because metal surfaces are smooth and do not provide any traction. This provides a slippery surface for snow and ice, making it more prone to sliding off to the ground unexpectedly. This is why it’s so important for metal roof snow guards to be installed on metal roofs.

How to Install Snow Guard on Metal Roof?

Dark metal roof with snow guards

Making sure your metal roof snow guards are installed properly is critical to ensuring that they prevent a dangerous avalanche condition. Once snow or ice loses its grip on a metal roof, everything in its path will be damaged unless proper measures are taken to install the best snow guards for your metal roof. One of the key elements of this is ensuring that the overall spacing of the entire roof is done properly to keep ice and snow from shifting suddenly.

Snow guards come in various shapes and sizes and can be categorized as discontinuous snow guards, snow cleats or pad style snow guards. These can either have single or multiple components without a continuous crossmember. This type of snow guard relies on the bridging of the snowpack against adjacent devices to reduce snow movement or migration.

Red steel roof installed on joists

Continuous snow guards – also known as rail type snow guards, snow fence, snow rail or pipe-style snow guards – possess two components: brackets or seam clamps that are attached to the roof along with cross-members used to anchor the brackets or clamps and prevent the snow or ice from sliding off suddenly.

Where to Place Snow Guards on Metal Roof?

house with a metal roof

To properly install snow guards, they should be positioned on the lower half of the roof and placed in a single line or in multiple rows.

How Far Apart Do You Put Snow Guards?

Roof collecting snow

If you are going to use a rail-type system, install your snow guards approximately 1 to 2 feet from the eave. This is where most of the snow piles up as the sun causes it to melt and slide towards to bottom half of the roof.

Beginning at about 6 inches above the bottom edge of your roof, place two snow guards evenly spaced out in a staggered pattern across the entire roof. then then go up about 8 feet and continue to place your snow guards in the same staggered pattern as you did at the bottom edge.

Some things to keep in mind when installing a metal roof snow guard is that you should pay attention to the manufacturer’s instructions. Since snow guards they are intended to last the entire lifespan of the roof, it’s recommended not to glue them on but to attach them mechanically.

How Do You Keep Snow from Sliding Off a Metal Roof?

Installing metal roof ice guards on metal roofs is the best way to ensure an avalanche does not occur after snow or icy conditions. This is particularly important in places where heavy snowfall occurs during winters.

sheet metal roof

One of the challenges with installing snow guards on metal roofs is that most metal roof systems allow the metal panes to float freely above the underlying roof deck off raining. This is done so that the metal panes can expand and contract at a different rate than the underlying structure beneath them. So if you attach a snow guard onto a metal roof by driving fasteners through the metal panels, they will lose their ability to “float” and will allow for leaks to develop.

It’s important when installing metal roof snow guards to use non-penetrating adhesive metal roof snow stoppers, where polycarbonate cleats are applied to the metal panels using a peel-and-stick adhesive rather than drilling in metal fasteners. When this is done correctly, the cleats will stop snowpacks from breaking apart suddenly and falling to the ground.

Do Snow Guards Cause Ice Dams?

dream roof van and newly installed premium european metal roof

No, snow guards do not cause ice dams. Also known as snow stops and snow cleats, snow guards hold snow and ice in place to prevent a roof avalanche. Ice dams are caused when snow and ice melt during the day when the sun’s rays warm up the roof but then refreeze before falling off of the roof surface as temperatures drop at night.

This is usually experienced with older homes where insulation is not the best and heat escapes through the roof and melts the snow. Then, at the drip edge, the snow refreezes and causes the water to back up and penetrate the roof. This is not a concern for modern homes as good insulation has eliminated this problem. If you have an older roofing system, you can upgrade it to fit metal snow pans at the eaves to prevent ice dams.

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