What to Consider When Selecting a Snow Guard for Your Roof

TRA Snow Snow Guard
June 24, 2023 at 6:00 a.m.

By TRA Snow & Sun.  

Installing snow guards can not only help prevent damage to your property but ensure the safety of those around you.  

Living in areas with extreme snowfall and ice can be very dangerous for your roof and those below — you never know if snow will slide off your roof and damage nearby cars or passersby. That’s why snow guards come highly recommended when living in these kinds of conditions. Snow guards are installed into sheathing or the roofing material (retrofit) to prevent mass amounts of snow from falling off, allowing it to stay in place safely and melt. Not only will it help protect those at ground level, but it can also help maintain the roofs' life as well.  

Several types of snow guards are available, each with features and benefits. Some of the most common types, along with their pros and cons: 

Metal snow guards 

Metal snow guards are typically made of zinc plated stainless steel or aluminum and are known for their durability and long lifespan. They are also relatively easy to install, as they can be attached to the roof using screws or roofing nails. Metal snow guards can be powder coated to match roof colors and can typically be installed on any roofing material depending on the snow guard manufacturer. Snow guards are not designed to stop moving snow, often many courses of guards are needed to keep the snow in place.  

Plastic snow guards 

Plastic snow guards are affordable and often easy to install. They are relatively lightweight. However, plastic snow guards are not nearly as durable as metal ones and often need to be replaced frequently due to damage from UV rays. There are also several reasons that the adhesive could lack a proper seal and often do not stay adhered long term. They can become a decoration in the landscape instead of maintaining their position on the roof. This is why some companies opt out of offering snow guards made of plastic due to a lack of durability. 

Rubber snow guards 

Rubber snow guards are a flexible option well-suited to roofs with irregular surfaces or imperfections. These snow guards can be attached using adhesive or screws. However, they may not be as effective at preventing the build-up of snow and ice as other types of snow guards.  

Snow fences 

Snow fences are a type of snow guard designed to be installed along the edge of a roof rather than through the entire field. More than 1 row is utilized when needed depending on the strength of the device. They are made of stainless steel or aluminum and create a barrier that prevents snow and ice from sliding from the roof. Snow fences are relatively easy to install and are effective at preventing the build-up of snow and ice, but they are more noticeable from the ground. 

When selecting snow guards, it is important to consider the slope of your roof, the type of roofing material, ground snow load, fastener type, sheathing type/thickness & the strength of your device. States such as Utah or Colorado can experience heavy snowfall, so it is important to choose a type of snow guard that can handle the weight of the snow and ice. It would also be beneficial to think about the snow guards’ aesthetics, as they will be visible on your roof. Finally, choose a type of snow guard compatible with your roofing material and easily installed by a professional. 

Original article source: TRA Snow & Sun 

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