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Should You Add Snow Guards To Your Roof?

If you live in the snow belt, you know how beautiful a winter wonderland can be. That is, until it’s time to shovel. Even worse, you have to worry about its weight on your roof. Or it may avalanche down all at once.

A metal roof, in particular, frequently leads to snow sliding off suddenly. That can mean a lot of weight falling on your porch roof, front steps, or your beautiful hedges along the front of your house! In the worst-case scenario, it could fall while someone is standing near the house, causing injury.

To help protect against this, you can add snow guards to your roof. 

What Are Snow Guards And How Do They Work?

Snow guards are rods or bars that help keep the snow on the roof until it can melt enough to slide down slowly. They prevent large quantities of snow from dropping off suddenly.

In a way, they are obstacles to slow the movement of the snow. They never completely stop it, but they break it up into smaller chunks. It will fall off over time, rather than all at once. When installed correctly, you’ll never have to worry about hearing a sudden crash of the white stuff falling outside the window.

These snow guards come in a variety of materials and shapes. Metal, plastic, and carbon fiber are the most common options. Some are simple poles that stand two to three inches high. Others can be a strip that runs the length of the roof. They can even have a decorative appearance.

They may be attached to the roof by nails, screws, or with a weather-resistant adhesive.

Are Snow Guards Right For Your Roof?

Not every roof needs snow guards. But those made of metal are leading candidates for them. These offer far less friction than other surfaces like shingles. That means that the snow will slide down the pitch of the roof more easily. 

If you have a different kind of roof, they can still be helpful. Other surfaces offer more friction, but snow can still move off them unexpectedly.

At this point, you may be thinking that you’ve had a rush of snow off your shingle roof. Yes, that’s likely when there is a lot of snow. However, with metal roofs, it can occur even with lighter snowfalls.

And if you do have heavy snow – regardless of the type of roof – you should have the snow removed to prevent its weight from damaging the structure.

Pros of Snow Guards

Here are some of the main advantages of installing snow guards:

  • Protect your property from the sudden weight of snow falling off the roof:
  • Protect your family members from being hit by falling snow and ice;
  • Help keep your gutters from being torn off;
  • The guards themselves are inexpensive.

Cons of Snow Guards

Of course, there are a few drawbacks. They don’t come from the snow guards themselves, though. However, keep these in mind:

  • Poorly designed or poorly installed snow guards can leave small holes in your roof, doing more harm than good;
  • Snow guards aren’t a cure-all. That’s especially true when you deal with extremely heavy snowfalls. They work best with average snowfall in your area;
  • Costs can add up on larger roofs and for installation.
corrugated metal roof with snow guards and light snow on it

What Kind Of Snow Guards Should I Get?

It’s usually best to have snow guards professionally installed. Any work done on the roof can be dangerous, of course. Proper installation is essential.

There is no simple answer to which snow guards are best. It depends on the type of roof you have and its pitch. The average snowfall in your area is also a key factor.

Have a problem with icicle forming on your gutters? Here’s why, and how to prevent it.

How Long Do Snow Guards Last?

Of course, you want snow guards that will last for decades. Roofs should last at least 30 years. And it’s fantastic if the guards will last that long. Look for durable guards that are also rust-resistant. They should be screwed in or attached with adhesive. If they pull away, it could leave a hole where water can enter.

Again, it’s best to consult with a reputable roofer in your area. They will know best what works for the particular circumstances in your situation. You could undertake this as a do-it-yourself project, but it requires a lot more investigation. And working on the roof calls for extreme caution.

Conclusion

If you have a metal roof, adding snow guards can help prevent heavy drops of snow that could damage your porch, furniture, or garden plants. They can help with other types of roofs, as well. 

Contracting a professional is the best way to have snow guards installed. If you decide to do it yourself, be sure to study the proper type for your home. Be sure to follow the correct installation procedures, too, because it’s easy to cause damage to the roof otherwise!