Snow Retention Systems Can Save Roofs

TRA Snow Retention
May 11, 2023 at 6:00 a.m.

By TRA Snow & Sun.  

In regions where heavy snowfall is common, installing snow brackets can truly be lifesaving. 

Snow retention systems, also known as snow brackets or snow guards, are incredibly important roofing features for buildings located in regions that commonly get heavy snow. Snow brackets are designed to allow the snow to freeze to the bracket or fence and allow the snow to melt off in place. The brackets function by penetrating 3” into the snowpack as the snow falls from the sky, causing the snow to freeze to the cold metal bracket. This article from TRA Sun & Snow details the many benefits of using snow brackets on your next project.   

Preventing roof damage 

The primary reason most people would consider using snow brackets is to prevent roof damage caused by sliding snow and ice. Snow brackets help to distribute the weight of the snow evenly across the roof in a large, glaciated blanket. By holding the snow in place, they also prevent ice dams from forming along the roof’s edge. These dams can cause water to back up under the roof, leading to leaks and water damage inside the building. When heavy snow slides on the roof it can take chimneys, other penetrations, roofing material, and gutters right along with it.  

Protecting people and property 

Another critical reason for using snow brackets is to protect people and property below the roof. When large chunks of snow and ice slide off a sloped roof, they can be dangerous to anyone standing or walking below. There’s been several close calls this year from rooftop avalanches and multiple deaths including the very recent deaths of a 50 year old man in Brighton, Utah & a 5 year old girl in Durango, Colorado. Snow brackets help to control the release of snow and ice, preventing it from sliding off the roof.  

Maintaining aesthetic appeal 

Snow brackets also play a role in maintaining the aesthetic appeal of a building’s roof. Without them, snow and ice can slide off the roof, creating unsightly piles around the perimeter of the building. This can be particularly problematic for commercial properties that want to maintain a professional appearance and a clear sidewalk or parking area. Snow brackets allow snow to melt and drain off of the roof in a controlled manner, preventing the accumulation of additional snow and ice around the building’s foundation. 

Increasing energy efficiency 

Snow brackets can also help to increase a building’s energy efficiency. When snow accumulates on a roof, it acts as an insulator, preventing heat from escaping the building. 

Compliance with building codes 

Finally, snow brackets or fences are not often required yet in heavy snow areas. Usually, if there is a requirement it will state “doors and walkways must have snow retention” but it’s important to understand there are many concerns that come with a partial snow retention system. The snow has already accumulated into one blanketed mass on the roof, having one small area of snow retention attempting to hold the roofs snow mass and could lead to failure of the system. The codes and standards relating to snow retention will continue to be worked on with the ASTM task group that TRA is part of.  

In conclusion, snow brackets are essential in areas that experience heavy snowfall. They help to prevent roof damage, protect people and property, maintain aesthetic appeal, increase energy efficiency, and comply with future building codes. Building owners and managers should work with a snow retention professional to determine the appropriate snow retention system and quantity for their building. Then ensure that it is installed correctly. With the proper snow retention system in place, building owners can have peace of mind knowing that their roofs are protected from the damaging effects of heavy snow and ice. 

Have a question? AskARoofer.     

Find your local roofing contractor in the RoofersCoffeeShop® Contractor Directory.    

Original article source: TRA Sun & Snow

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