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Snow Guards for Metal Roofs: Benefits and Installation Guide

Date: June 29, 2024

Installing snow guards can protect your home from falling snow and ice. They help prevent heavy snow buildup on metal roofs by allowing the snow and ice to melt slowly, reducing the risk of sudden snow slides. This also helps to prolong the life of your roof and gutters. Our guide explains the purpose of snow guards for metal roofs, the different types available, how to choose the right one, and how to maintain them. Whether you decide to install them yourself or hire a contractor, this guide will provide you with the information you need.

Purpose of Snow Guards

Snow guards, also called snow retention systems or snow stops, are devices installed on roofs to prevent large amounts of snow from sliding off at once. These devices keep snow and ice in place, allowing them to melt gradually, which helps avoid the risk of snow avalanches and problems like ice dams.

Additionally, snow guards help extend the life of your roof and gutters by reducing the impact of snow and ice, thus minimizing wear and tear. They also protect landscaping from damage caused by falling snow and ice chunks.

In areas with heavy snowfall, having snow guards can prevent property damage and save you from costly roof and gutter repairs.

Types of Snow Guards for Metal Roofs

There are several types of snow guards available for metal roofs, each offering different installation requirements and aesthetic preferences. Choosing the right type depends on factors like installation complexity and desired appearance. Here are the main types:

  1. Bar-Style Systems: Bar-style snow guards feature a straight-bar design that holds snow in place, allowing it to melt gradually. These systems typically include a continuous metal bar connected to brackets that clamp onto roof seams.
  2. Fence-Style Systems: Fence-style snow guards consist of metal bars or fences that you install directly onto the roof surface. They create a barrier that holds snow and releases it slowly in smaller amounts.
  3. Pad-Style Snow Guards: Pad-style snow guards are flat, rectangular, or square metal plates with upward-facing projections. These projections securely hold snow in place while also offering various decorative finishes to match different home styles.

Each type of snow guard serves to prevent snow buildup and potential damage from snow slides, providing both functional benefits and aesthetic considerations for homeowners.

Snow Guards for Metal Roofs: Benefits and Installation Guide

Snow Guards for Metal Roofs Installation Guide

Installing a snow retention system on your metal roof may seem daunting, but with proper preparation and care, it's manageable. There are three main types of snow guards: clamp-on, screw-on, and glue-on. Here are essential steps for installing snow guards on metal roofs, regardless of the type chosen:

  1. Prepare Safely: Choose a dry day without snow or rain. Use a stable ladder and ideally work with a helper. Wear safety gloves and non-slip boots for protection.
  2. Measure Roof Panels: Determine the width of your roof panels. For 16-inch panels, install one snow guard in the center of each panel. Wider panels require two guards per panel, spaced about 12 inches apart.
  3. Assess Roof Pitch: Measure the roof's pitch to understand its slope. Measure the rise (vertical distance from peak to lowest edge) and run (horizontal distance along the roof edge). Pitch is expressed as the rise over 12 inches of run.
  4. Plan Guard Rows: Decide how many rows of snow guards you need. Typically, start installing guards one foot from the roof's lowest edge and continue upward to the midpoint of the slope.
  5. Stagger Placement: Stagger the snow guards left to right for better snow control. Use a marker to ensure even alignment. Avoid placing guards higher than the midpoint of the roof slope.
Snow Guards for Metal Roofs: Benefits and Installation Guide

Benefits of Installing Snow Guards on Your Metal Roof

Installing snow guards on a metal roof offers numerous benefits that extend well beyond simply preventing snow and ice avalanches. These devices play a crucial role in safeguarding your property and enhancing the overall functionality and longevity of your roofing system. 

Here are some of the key advantages:

  1. Enhanced Safety: One of the primary benefits of using snow guards on a metal roof is the significant enhancement in safety for both individuals and property. By preventing large volumes of snow from sliding off suddenly, snow guards greatly reduce the risk of injury to pedestrians and prevent damage to property below, such as vehicles, landscaping features, and outdoor fixtures.
  2. Extended Roof Longevity: Snow guards for metal roofs, including corrugated metal roofs and other types, help distribute the weight of snow evenly across the roof surface. This balanced distribution prevents excessive stress on any single area, thereby reducing the risk of structural damage over time. By mitigating the potential for roof collapse under heavy snow loads, snow guards contribute to prolonging the life expectancy of your roof.
  3. Prevention of Ice Dams: Another significant benefit of snow guards is their role in preventing ice dams. Ice dams form when snow melts on a warmer section of the roof and refreezes on a colder section, creating a barrier that blocks proper drainage. This can lead to water backing up under roof shingles and causing damage to the roof structure and interior of the building. Snow guards facilitate the controlled melting and gradual runoff of snow, thereby reducing the likelihood of ice dam formation and minimizing associated water damage risks.
  4. Preservation of Aesthetic Appeal: Snow guards come in a variety of styles and designs, allowing them to complement the appearance of your metal roof while enhancing its aesthetic appeal. Whether your roof has a modern or traditional look, snow guards can be chosen to blend seamlessly with its design, ensuring that functionality does not compromise the visual appeal of your home or business.

Incorporating snow guards into your metal roof is a strategic decision that not only protects your investment but also ensures the safety and efficiency of your roofing system, especially in regions prone to heavy snowfall. By preventing sudden snow slides, snow guards enhance safety for people and property below, while also contributing to the structural integrity and longevity of the roof itself. Additionally, they play a crucial role in preventing ice dams, thereby reducing the risk of water damage and preserving the aesthetic integrity of your property.

Choosing Snow Guards for Your Metal Roof

Selecting the right snow guards involves carefully evaluating factors unique to your roof and location. Considerations include roof style, metal type, local snowfall levels, and roof pitch. Consulting with a professional can help identify optimal snow guard designs that balance functionality and aesthetic preferences while ensuring effective snow load management for your metal roof.

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