9 Types of Snow Guards for Metal Roofs & How to Choose One

Posted on May 31, 2023

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Snow Guards for Metal Roofs

If you’ve got a metal roof in a snowy state, it is important to know which one can protect your home in the best possible way. There are many types of snow guards for metal roofs and each model works differently, so it’s essential to know all the options so you can choose a suitable snow guard that fits your needs.

As a metal roofing specialist at OConnor Contracting, I’m here with a handy guide that covers everything you need to know about snow guards for metal roofs. We’ll talk about the different types available, what to consider when choosing them, and installation tips. 

So let’s get started and keep that snow in check.

Types of Snow Guards Based on Installation Method

Ice and snow guards are known by different names, like snow stops, snow breaks, and snow retention guards, among others. All these names suggest one thing: It’s a device that prevents snow from sliding down a metal roof to protect everything and everyone beneath. There are numerous models available on the market, each designed for specific roof types, materials, and attachment methods. 

Based on the installation method, snow guards are categorized into two types: adhesive and mechanically-fixed.

Adhesive Snow Guards for Metal Roofs

Adhesive snow guards, as the name implies, are installed using adhesive or glue. These guards typically come with a flat base that is coated with a strong adhesive on one side. During installation, the binder side is securely attached to the roof surface, creating a firm bond. Adhesive snow guards are known for their ease of installation and versatility, as they can be applied to various roof types, including metal roofs.

Here are some common kinds of snow guards with adhesive installation methods:

#1 Pad-Style Adhesive Snow Guards

These ice and snow guards feature a flat pad with a strong adhesive backing. They are designed to be directly adhered to the roof’s surface, providing a secure attachment that prevents snow and ice from sliding off. Adhesive pad snow guards are typically made of durable materials like rubber or plastic.

#2 Strip-Style Adhesive Snow Guard Strips

Snow guard strips come in long pieces with an adhesive layer on one side. They are applied along the roof’s edge or other strategic areas to create a continuous barrier against sliding snow. Adhesive strip snow guards are versatile and can be cut to the desired length for easy customization.

#3 Rib-Style Adhesive Snow Guards

These snow stops are designed to be attached to the ribs or seams of a metal roof. They come with an adhesive layer that ensures a solid bond to the roof surface. Adhesive rib snow guards provide effective snow retention and are suitable for roofs with ribbed profiles.

Make sure that the adhesive of your chosen snow guard is compatible with any metal roof coating you may have applied. It’s also important to know that glue-on snow guards can only handle smaller snow loads and may not be suitable for areas with heavy snowfall or snow storms. In that case, you’ll need to install mechanical-fix snow breaks that are also available in various types.

Mechanically-Fixed Snow Guards for Metal Roofs

snow guards

Mechanically-fixed snow guards, on the other hand, rely on mechanical fasteners for installation. These guards feature mounting brackets or plates that are secured to the roof using screws, bolts, or other fastening mechanisms. The mechanically-fixed method provides a robust and long-lasting attachment, ensuring the snow guards stay firmly in place. 

Mechanically-fixed snow guards are often preferred in areas with heavy snow loads or high wind conditions, as they offer enhanced stability and durability. It’s essential to choose a snow guard that is compatible with the type of metal roof you have and meets the snow retention needs in your area. 

Here are some common types:

#1 Bracket-Style Snow Guards

These ice and snow breaks utilize brackets or mounting plates that are mechanically fastened to the roof surface. The brackets are designed to securely hold the snow guards in place, preventing snow and ice from sliding off. They often feature multiple attachment points for added stability.

#2 Clamp-Style Snow Guards

Clamp-style snow guards use a clamping mechanism to fasten the guards onto the seams or ribs of a metal roof. These clamps provide a secure and reliable attachment, ensuring the snow guards stay in position during snow events. Clamp-style ice and snow breaks are known for their versatility and ease of installation.

#3 Snow Bars

Snow bars, also known as rail-style snow guards, consist of horizontal bars that span across the roof surface. The bars are attached to the roof using a specific mounting system. The continuous rail design provides comprehensive coverage and effectively holds back sliding snow and ice.

Apart from installation methods, snow stops come in a variety of materials suitable for different types of panel profiles.

Types of Snow Guards Based on Material

Metal roof snow guards can be made from various materials, like plastic, metal, and rubber, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s learn about the different types of snow retention products based on their material.

#1 Plastic Snow Guards

Plastic snow stops are lightweight, less expensive, and can be an effective option for many homeowners. Advances in polycarbonate technology have made plastic snow guards more durable and long-lasting.

#2 Metal Snow Guards

Stainless steel is a common metal used to make snow retention products. It offers a robust and durable solution and has a protective coating (galvalume, paint, copper) to prevent rust. Another common choice is aluminum, which is a lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and durable option. Aluminum ice and snow breaks are a popular choice for many homeowners and can be used with various attachment methods. For longer durability and luxurious appeal, you can choose copper snow guards for your metal roof.

#3 Rubber Snow Guards

Rubber-made snow stops are generally gentle on the roof surface, minimizing the risk of damage to the metal sheets or panels. Rubber also tends to be more resistant to cracking or breaking in extreme weather conditions, ensuring the longevity of the snow guards.

When choosing snow guards for your metal roof, consider the essential factors that may affect their performance and durability.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Snow Retention System for Your Metal Roof

As I’ve mentioned before, roof type and snow load are important factors to consider when selecting the right snow guard. While it’s best to consult a metal roofing expert for guidance, you should have basic knowledge about it.

Roof Type

Different snow guards are designed for specific roof types, such as standing seam, corrugated, or ribbed. Ensure the snow guards you select are compatible with your roof’s profile.

Snow Load

Consider the typical snowfall and snow load in your area. Choose snow guards that can handle the expected weight and volume of snow to provide adequate snow retention.

Aesthetics and Budget

Decide whether you prefer discreet or visible snow guards. Some options blend in with the roof, while others add a decorative element. Consider your budget and select snow guards that offer a balance between affordability and quality.

The key to ensuring the longevity and effectiveness of a snow retention system is proper installation.

Proper Installation of Metal Roof Snow Guards

Snow guard installation

For people who are not handy with roofing work, it’s best to leave it to the pros. But if you are confident and experienced in such tasks, make sure you have a proper permit to prevent issues like voiding roof and product warranties and problems during a roof insurance claim in the future.

Here are some expert tips to help you understand the crucial requirements for a successful installation.

Determine the Number of Snow Guards Needed

The number of snow guards you need depends mainly on average snowfall, roof pitch, and roof length. A steeper pitch typically requires more snow guards, while a flatter pitch may require fewer guards. Online calculators, like the Snow Defender calculator, are incredibly helpful for contractors and homeowners alike.

Follow the Installation Guide

For adhesive snow guards, ensure the appropriate temperature for applications, which is at least 40°F. Then allow sufficient sealing time for adhesives, at least 28 days. Finally, tighten clamps to the manufacturer’s specified torque for mechanical installations.

Consult a Reliable Local Roofing Contractor

If you are a homeowner seeking professional guidance or installation services for snow guards, you can get started by taking advantage of a free consultation that many contractors provide. Snow retention systems are integral components of metal roofs and demand crucial safety measures to protect your investment and property.

You can ensure a successful installation by carefully considering the factors outlined in this guide and consulting with a reliable professional. If you want to install metal roof snow guards in Western New York, feel free to contact our metal roofing team at OConnor Contracting.

Free Consultation and Estimate for New York Homeowners

At OConnor Contracting, we’re a part of the Western New York community and are dedicated to serving our fellow homeowners with immense care and years of expertise. We take pride in having a reliable team that understands the unique challenges and weather conditions of our area. If you’re looking for metal roofing services in Buffalo or surrounding areas, call us at (716)-600-7663. We’ll be happy to guide you about your snow retention needs.

Snow Guards for Metal Roofs
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