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Guide To Roof Top Snow Retention Systems

Preparing the roof for winter in the colder climate localities and snow country demands some careful consideration. The weight of the snow, as it accumulates on the rooftop, places considerable stress on the roofing material. Managing snow retention and protecting the roof is essential for residents in these areas.

The Need to Prevent the Avalanching of Snow from the Roof

As the ice and snow build-up on the roof begins to melt, a layer of water is created, and lies in a band beneath the snow pack. This effect, together with the pitch of the roof will inevitably cause a snow and ice slide which is often released in a large and hazardous avalanche. It is essential to have a protection system in place to prevent any resulting property damage and potential injuries to people.


Snow Guards for Roofs

The popular and time honored method of installing snow guards for snow retention is still an excellent option. Snow guards for roofs are available in a wide range of types and styles to suit any roof configuration. Clamp on guards to suit standing seam contours, bar or rail type guards or pad styles that can be attached to the valley with adhesives or screws.


The clamp on type of snow guard is more suitable for metal roofs as the installation does not require penetration of the steel surface.

Pad style snow guards are a good choice when the clamp is not suitable on panel valley roofs. Adhesives can be used to attach them as the quality of adhesives has developed significantly to make them a completely reliable alternative fastener.

Snow Fences

Another popular type of snow guard option is installed laterally as a rail or fence design. Snow fences are installed on the edge of the roof and are bolted on directly to secure them firmly in place. They are designed with slots to allow the melting snow to slowly trickle out, rather than falling in a great solid chunk of ice.


Snow fences are constructed from robust, rust-proof materials to prevent corrosion from continual contact with water. A wide selection of colors means that snow fences can blend in attractively with any existing roof colour scheme.

Installation of Roof Top Snow Retention Systems

Important points to be considered when installing snow retention systems should take into account areas such as entrance ways, car ports and decks. The number of snow guards and their placement is critical to effective snow management. The snow load needs to be evenly distributed across the entire surface. Using multiple rows and a staggered placement model will achieve the correct balance.


Ultimately, the right choice of roof top snow retention system may need some professional advice. The best setup depends on a number of factors. The roofing material whether metal, slate or shingles, the size and pitch of the roof, the local climate and environmental conditions, personal preferences and last but not least: budget, are all contributing factors. It is also essential that the system is installed properly so that it serves unfailingly for many years to come.

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