In this article, we will be discussing metal roof snow guards, looking at why they are important, their advantages, as well as how to install them.
Snow builds up on your roof during winter storms, as the melting starts from the bottom, it creates a moveable wall of ice and snow that will slide down your metal roof and damage whatever is below it.
According to the National Roofing Contractors Association, areas with significant snow should only use the snow retention guards above entrances.
This is because the guards may cause too much snow to accumulate, which can damage the roof.
In North Texas, no one would expect to get 12 inches of snow, but that’s what happened in December 2010.
Metal roofs are very popular here in some US states, unfortunately, after the snow melted, many people found their gutters had been damaged or destroyed from snow sliding off their roofs in large sheets.
Metal Roof Ice Guards
For those with metal roofs and who are living in areas that experience heavy snowfall, having a steel roof snow guard is a great idea.
But what is a metal roof snow guard and what do they do?
Why is snow guard rails for metal roof important?
Stick around and find out all you need to know!
Snow Guards For Metal Roof: Functions, Types, And Installation
A snow guard is a device that is installed on rooftops to guide ice melts and snow away from your metal roof. It does this in small portions and not all at once.
If you live in a high snowfall area, failure to install a snow guard could mean a snow avalanche at any time.
For those who don’t know what a roof avalanche is, it is the sudden fall of large amounts of snow from your roof. And this event can damage your gutters and the lower parts of your roof.
It will also leave undesirable heaps of snow in front of your door, which can keep you trapped inside. Worse still a snow avalanche can injure a person standing directly under the fall.
Do I Need Steel Roof Snow Guards?
Different regions experience different levels of snowfall per season. For those in areas less prone to heavy snowfall, having a snow guard may not be a priority.
However, those who live in areas prone to constant and heavy snowfall will do themselves some good by installing a snow guard system.
Importance Of Snow Brakes For Metal Roofs
Metal roofs are known to shed snow faster than other roof types, but heavy snowfall can cause a heavy accumulation of snow and ice quicker than normal.
The weight of such an accumulation can cause your metal roof to cave in.
So yes, if you live in a high snowfall area, then a snow guard for a metal roof is good for you.
How are snow guards for corrugated metal roofs installed?
Thankfully, snow guards aren’t difficult to install, and you might just be able to do it yourself. However, climbing a roof during the cold winter season is a bad idea for a rookie.
The ladder you’re using and the roof itself will be icy and slippery, and this can cause an inexperienced person to fall off. If you must install it yourself, then you should do so before the winter season arrives.
The other option is to contact a professional to do it for you, as they have all the experience needed to do it safely, and do it the right way.
Nonetheless, if you decide to go the DIY route, then make sure you follow the instructions stipulated in the product manual.
There are two ways you can install a snow guard –
- With an adhesive
- Mechanical fastening with a clamp
Snow retention devices can be installed with adhesive or mechanically fastened with self-drilling screws. While mechanically fastened snow guards will support more weight than glued down, the roof panel must be penetrated.
To install the roof panel guard with adhesive, wipe the back of the guards with denatured alcohol, then wipe down the area on the roof where the guard is to be installed.
Apply a liberal amount of adhesive on the back of the guard. I suggest using SB-190 Adhesive found at any roofing supply house. Push it firmly to the cleaned area on the roof.
Use enough adhesive so it squishes out the side. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s suggestion on the back of the adhesive.
Keep in mind that there are several types of snow guards for different metal roof types. These include snow standing seam and corrugated.
Now that you know this, you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the snow guard you bought for your specific type of metal roof.
The layout of the guards on the roof is the most important part of the entire system. For the best system, use the correctly designed guards and install them using a professional layout.
Many companies quote far too few guards to be the lowest bidder for the job. The result is an inferior layout destined for failure.
There are a few reputable snow guard manufacturers such as snoblox that have online programs that will help you determine how many guards should be used on a particular project.
A reliable layout will have multiple staggered rows of guards, with each guard mounted in the center of the panel where the snow and ice move.
The most common layout mistake is to only install one row down by the lower edge of the roof. This layout gives the snow too much room to build up velocity and cause damage to the guards.
It also allows for too much load on the lower roof section, causing an unbalanced structural load.
A properly designed layout will equally distribute the snow load across the entire roof, minimize the snow movement velocity with multiple rows and break up large snowfields by staggered guard placement.
The first row of guards should be positioned approximately six inches from the edge of the roof and the second row is approximately twelve inches from the edge.
Two rows of guards are usually enough for a pitch of 1/12 to 5/12. For 6/12 pitch and up, an additional row should be installed. On runs of 18 feet or more, it is recommended to add a row of guards halfway up the run.
Metal Roof Snow Stops: Advantages
Steel roof snow guards have greater advantages than just guiding snow melts off your roof. Let’s take a look at them below.
It guides snow and ice melts off your roof
This is one of the primary functions of a snow guard. And it does this by removing the snow and ice melts in small amounts.
Keep in mind that an excess of snow on your metal roof can cause it to cave in. When this happens, melts will begin to leak into your home, and you’ll have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on metal roof replacement.
It keeps your property from damage
Imagine having your car parked by your house and a roof avalanche happens. Such an event will leave dents on your car and your windshield shattered.
Your car could also be buried under the snow (depending on how large it is).
A snow avalanche can also damage your gutters and eaves, which you will need to replace if you want roof water to continue flowing down effectively.
But this will not happen with a metal roof snow guard installed, as it would have already channeled snow melts away from the roof to the point it does not cause damage to your roof or property.
Snow rails for metal roofs could save lives
A snow avalanche is dangerous not only to your car or any other property under your roof, it can also harm or kill a person.
Snow guards can prevent this from happening, and you must install one if you have little kids at home.
It isn’t expensive to install
At around $30 per unit, snow guards are inexpensive. Multiply the figure with the number of snow guards you need in your home to determine the cost.
Different styles to fit residential and commercial roofs
Metal roof snow guards can be used in many styles to fit the looks of both commercial and residential property.
You can buy your snow guards according to the style you feel is best for your building.
How Many Snow Guards For Metal Roof Do I Need?
As you may have already guessed, the larger your roof, the greater the number of snow guards you will need.
It is recommended that you use 2 snow guards per valley/8 ft.
Snow guards for the metal roof have many benefits – They can save lives, property, and can prevent your metal roof from caving under the weight of excess snow and ice.
Metal roof snow guards are most especially useful for those who live in areas that experience high amounts of snowfall each season. And while it is one of the best anti-avalanche devices you can have during the winter season, you should install it long before the snow comes.
The good news is, you can do the installation yourself, as metal roof snow guards are easy to workaround. On the other hand, you can always reach out to an experienced professional to do it for you.
Hopefully, the information provided on snow cleats for metal roofs here has been of great help.