Snow guards are rooftop devices that allow snow and ice to drop off in small amounts or allow snow and ice to melt completely before falling to the ground. The installation of snow guards prevents the sudden release of snow and ice from a roof, which is known as a roof avalanche. A roof avalanche can cause damage to people, pets, cars, landscaping, gutters, plumbing vents, lower roof areas, skylights and anything else that might be in the immediate area below your roof. Snow guards have been around for hundreds of years and have historically been used on slate, tile and metal roofs. The first snow guards were actually limbs that were attached to the eaves of a roof, with rocks placed atop the limbs, to hold the snow back.
Why use Snow and Ice Guards
Metal roofs have many advantages, among them long life and near imperviousness to damage by hail and wind.They are also non-flammable—an increasingly important virtue in areas where wildfires are a danger. Metal roofs can greatly reduce the likelihood of a home catching fire from falling embers.
There is one common with metal roofing systems, though. They are prone to snow build-up that can suddenly break loose in a massive slide that covers anything below the roofline—including patio furniture, air conditioner compressors, and other valuable items.
Unlike shingle roofs, metal roofs have a smooth surface that does not provide any resistance to keep snow from sliding off. In addition, metal roof systems absorb heat from the sun, warming the surface in a way that lubricates the layer of snow and causes it to slide off easier and faster. The danger here is not only possible property damage but physical injury if a person happens to be standing below the edge of the roof when a huge mass of snow breaks loose. Many tons of snow can bury anything in its way, and can even smother people or pets.