Snow is relatively harmless. In fact, you can see children running around hurling snowballs at each other. True enough, metal roofing uses acrylic or elastomeric coating to protect against snow and even heat. So, why do you need a metal roof snow guard?

The idea behind it is simple: snow is more dense than rain. Therefore, heaps of snow on your metal roof will cause strain. Combined with low-temperature contraction on both corrugated and standing seam metal roofs, it will cause huge potential damage. In fact, metal roofing isn’t immune to ice dams that cause internal property leaks.

Indeed, every property needs a snow guard system for their property. However, it has to be the right one. If you’re looking to find the perfect solution, Metal Construction News has the best guide to help you find the best-performing metal roof snow guard for your roof.

Choose the Correct Snow Guard System for your Project

Evaluating various snow retention sizes, shapes, attachment methods, material designs and colors

Twenty five-plus years ago, you could have counted the number of major snow guard manufacturers/suppliers on one hand. Fast forward to today and there are 20-plus major manufacturers/suppliers.

The products offered range in various sizes, shapes, attachment methods, materials, designs and color options. So how do you choose the right snow guard system for your project?

And why are these options so important? Let’s focus on some of the key points to navigate through all of your choices.

Snow Retention’s Purpose

The key purpose of a snow retention system is to hold and retain snow/ice on the roof and allow a controlled evacuation of the snow, which will help protect your assets and decrease your liability.

A properly designed and installed system will retain the snow on the roof and prevent damage to gutters, signage, lighting, landscaping, canopies, awning, and vehicles and most importantly of all: people.

Architects and contractors are incorporating snow retention systems in the original design of new construction projects but there is still a great amount of buildings that do not have snow retention.

Also, re-roof projects that did not originally have a system in place may now need one. Did the roof slope change? Was the roof material changed from asphalt shingle to metal?

A metal roof will be a much slicker surface compared to asphalt shingle so snow and ice will slide off that was not happening before. (Post Continued Here)

Indeed, anything involving metal roofs is difficult to do by yourself. However, there are many Brampton property owners who have a great DIY experience. Therefore, if you’re interested in installing your metal roof snow guard on your own, here are some easy steps you can follow with a detailed guide from eHow.

How to Install Snow Guards on Metal Roofing

Snow guards prevent an abundance of snow from falling from your roof at once.

Snow guards are snow and ice retention devices for pitched metal roofs. They hold frozen precipitation in place, causing the snow or ice to melt or slide off a portion of roof in small pieces rather than dangerous chunks.

Snow guards are like corrals that mount on the edge of a roof; others are little, strategically staggered triangular spikes that mount easily on a metal roof with strong adhesive. Installing the spike style of snow guards is not complicated.

Manufacturers recommend professional installation, but a dedicated do-it-yourselfer with a secure scaffolding can do it. Wait for a dry day to work; the adhesive will not stick well to a damp roof.

Things You’ll Need

  • Pencil
  • Work gloves
  • Isopropyl alcohol wipes
  • Latex gloves
  • Clear roofing adhesive

Place a mark with a pencil 6 inches up from the lower edge of the roof and 6 inches in from one side. Continue to make marks 6 inches up from the lower edge, placing them 24 inches apart as you move across the length of the eave.

Make a second row of marks 12 inches from the lower edge of the roof. Make the first mark 12 inches from the side rather than 6. Keep the marks 24 inches apart. so they’re staggered with the first row of marks.

Put on protective work gloves and clean the area around each mark with isopropyl alcohol wipes. As the pencil marks get rubbed off when you are cleaning, make new marks on the cleaned areas. Take off the work gloves and put on thick latex gloves. (Content continued here)

A metal roof snow guard does not guarantee a 100% protection against possible metal roof snow damage. Without careful and professional installation, it will fail to prevent roof avalanches. In fact, a mistake in the choice of a metal roof snow guard will cause metal roof snow guard failure over time.

Here’s a great post from TRA Snow & Sun about the perils of snow guards and how to prevent it from happening.

Why a Metal Roof Snow Guard Can Fail

Imagine (or maybe you don’t have to imagine!) that you are an able-bodied adult male. If you were asked to keep a hold back a parked car from rolling down a gently sloped hill, you could probably do it, right?

Now imagine that you are in the direct path of a car coming down the same hill at 40 m.p.h. Would you be able to survive such an impact? Of course not.

Why should you expect a tiny snow guard to stop a heavy, moving ice and snow avalanche anymore than you could expect yourself to stop a fast moving car?

This scenario might seem a little comical, but in reality, it isn’t funny. Lives are lost each year due snow and ice avalanching off a roof and landing on someone below. Keeping the snow and ice on a roof isn’t accomplished by placing one or two rows of snow guards at the edge of the roof.

How do roof avalanches start?

Roof snow melts into water which then runs underneath the build up of snow on the surface of the roofing product. If there is enough water flow, the snow and ice release from the friction of the roofing product and an avalanche begins.

If snow guards are placed throughout the roof area, protruding up three or more inches from the roofing product, then when the snow melts into ice, the field of snow and ice will freeze in place around the projections and prevent the ice from sliding off in a sheet. If the snow guards aren’t spaced close enough and spread throughout the roof, you will get an avalanche of heavy snow and ice.

Snow Avalanche Off A Roof

Roof snow guards frequently fail because critical factors are not taken into consideration.

The snow load. How much snow will fall on this roof? How much does it weigh? This data is available online and from the building department.
The roof’s slope.

A steeper roof will need more snow retention products.
The type of roofing material. Each type has its own unique factors as to how the snow slips off.

Each type will need a different type of snow guard.
The method of fastening. Are nails, screws or adhesives used? Each type can pull out at varying rates.

Plastic snow guards are generally attached with adhesive which must be attached to a clean surface under optimum temperatures.

The sheathing type. This is important because fasteners pull out at varying rates based on the type and thickness. Many snow guards fail because fasteners and sheathing type/thickness are not considered.

Snow guards should be designed for the roof type (asphalt, metal, shake, tile) and should be attached securely and effectively for the sheathing type.

The effectiveness of a snow retention system relies on each of these unique factors. Factoring in each item results in snow guards arranged throughout the roof area in an exact layout which, when working together as a system, prevent uneven loads and eventual avalanches.

Other reasons for snow guard failure (Continued Here)

While a metal roof snow guard will not guarantee a 100% percent protection against heaps of heavy snow, it is worth having protection than without one in any given situation. With a snow guard, you can preserve the durability and performance of your roof, and improve its lifespan.

If you’ve just purchased a new metal roof snow guard and have zero experience in installing it, you can count on Brampton Roofing to install it for you. We’re a decades-experienced roofing contractor who installs metal roofs and snow guards. Contact us today to get started immediately!

Click here for all the metal roofing services we provide in Brampton.