Have you seen it yet? The first snowfall of the season? When that blanket of white comes down and the world looks frosty, your first thought may not be your roof.
However, if you have a synthetic shake or slate roof, you’ll soon discover that the slippery surface is ideal for “avalanching” snow. As the sun heats the roof, mounds of snow or ice can slide off onto your landscaping or in walkways. This means every time it snows, you’ll indeed be thinking about your roof.
To help break up the snow melt on composite roofs, contractors often recommend snow guards. Placed at strategic locations on the roof, snow guards can help break up the snow as it melts, resulting in a “gentler” distribution of snow.
Q: What type of roof does snow slide off of?
A: Snow tends to slide off all roofs, but is more likely to slide off metal, natural slate, glazed tile and composite/synthetic tiles (like DaVinci roofs). This is due to some of the same physical characteristics that help to make these roofs beautiful and long-lasting.
For example, DaVinci composite roofing products have smooth surfaces and don’t absorb water. This means that snow and ice have no place to “grip” as it might with some other roofing products. When snow begins to melt from a warm attic underneath and the sun’s rays above, the snow blanket on top may slide off the roof all at once.
Q: How do snow guards work?
A: Snow guards add friction to the roof. They are the preferred product for most geographic areas with composite roofing.
Q: Does my house need snow retention?
A: It all depends on what the snow may fall onto as it slides off of the roof. The installation of snow guards should be considered on composite roof areas where sliding snow might land on people or property. Decks, walkways, valued landscaping and driveways are obvious examples of such areas that should be protected.
Q: What snow guards should I use?
A: There are many different types of snow guards. Snow guards for use on composite roofs must have an attachment strap and be manufactured of long-lasting and non-corrosive metals. The best types to use with composite products are manufactured of copper, stainless steel or coated aluminum. Plastic snow guards, typically used on metal roofs, are not recommended for DaVinci roofs.
Q: What if my composite roof is already installed without snow guards?
A: The best time to install snow guards is when your composite roof is being installed. But if your composite roof is already installed, don’t worry. There are snow guards available that are specifically designed to be put in after your roof has been installed. These are known as retro-fit snow guards and this type of snow guard won’t compromise the integrity, warranty or longevity of your roof. Contact your original roofer and ask for their company to evaluate your composite roof for snow guards and present you with an estimate for installation.
Q: I understand the value of snow guards, but I’m not sold on how they look on a roof.
A: Snow guards don’t have to be intrusive on your roof. Companies like Rocky Mountain Snow Guards, Alpine Snow Guards and Berger Snow Guards specialize in offering a variety of options that look good and work effectively with composite roofing material. And, some manufacturers can powder coat the snow guards to match the color of a DaVinci roof!
Your roofer can work with experts to determine exactly where the snow guards should be placed on your composite roof, in what type of pattern and how many are needed. The pitch of your roof is important when deciding where snow guards will be placed. Another placement consideration is to plan on having snow guards located over key walkways, entry areas of the home and landscaping elements.
For more details on snow guards and snow retention systems, read these stories:
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