Too much snow on the roof is dangerous for members of your household and the roof. Roofing contractors use snow guards to minimize the risks. Below is an overview of snow guards and their usage.
Why You Need Snow Guards and How They Work
Snow accumulates on the roof to create a snowpack — compressed and hardened snow. The snowpack may remain on the roof for a time, especially if the weather remains freezing. However, the snowpack begins to melt when the temperature rises. Eventually, the melting snowpack loses its compactness and slides off the roof.
A sliding ice or snow sheet damages the roof due to its weight, speed, and friction between it and the roof's surface. The sheet can damage shingles, loosen fasteners, dislodge gutters, and damage flashing. The sliding sheet can also cause injuries to those around the house when it falls.
Snow guards help by distributing snow weight evenly on the roof. That way, the snow doesn't slide off even if it begins to melt. Even when the snow eventually slides off the roof, it will do so in small pieces that don't cause much damage or injury.
Signs You Need Snow Guards
Not every roof needs a snow guard. Below are a couple of factors determining the need for snow guards.
The local climate determines how much snow your neighborhood receives. You don't need snow guards in warm climates where snow rarely accumulates enough to cause damage. However, you should install snow guards if your area experiences freezing winters and several inches of snow every season.
The type of roof determines how easily accumulated snow can slide off the roof. For example, you need snow guards on smooth roofing materials, such as metal, that encourage things to slide. Similarly, you need snow guards on steep roofs where gravity will likely pull snow sheets down the roof.
Types of Snow Guards
Manufacturers produce different types of snow guards. Below are the common ones:
- Continuous bars spanning a roof's entire length; you may need one or more bars, depending on the roof and expected snow volume.
- Fences that barricade snow on the roof
- Cup-shaped devices that catch snow on the roof; you need several of these for effectiveness.
The roof material and expected snow determine the best guard.
Contact a roofing contractor to help you install the snow guards. Inspect the roof regularly and repair the snow guards to ensure their efficiency.