How Snow Guards on Metal Roofs Prevent Snow Dumping

snow guards
Snow Guard (Flat Roof) © Valiant Exteriors

Metal roofs generally have smooth surfaces intended to repel moisture. When this moisture is in the form of snow it can suddenly dislodge, and form a mini-avalanche. This could cause neck injuries to a person standing below because snow is heavy. Hence installing snow guards to prevent this may prove a wise decision.

A ‘snow avalanche’ is most likely to occur when the family is inside with the heating turned up high. This extra warmth escapes into the attic and slightly warms the roof metal melting the underside of the snow pack. These problems are more likely during a thaw than a prolonged freeze.


Snow Guards, A Short, Unexpected History


snow guards
Snow Fence: B Friedrich BY CC 2.5

Old photographs and etchings suggest snow guards have been popular for centuries in alpine regions of Europe, and Scandinavia where roof pitches are steep.

The earliest designs were simply rows of stones or logs. These increased snow friction and retention. We still see echoes of the idea in avalanche defences on steep alpine mountainsides.

Snow guards on steeply-sloping roofs have specific quantities of mini-guards specially adapted to their shape, size and pitch. The snow guard we illustrate is part of a recent project we did on an almost flat steel roof. Notice the use of washers under the snow guard to prevent water infiltration, another example of the care we take to get things 100% right.

snow guards
Snow Guard Detail © Valiant Exteriors

Modern snow guards have long replaced rows of stones and logs with polycarbonate or metal materials, depending on the type, size, and specific function of the guard.

Some attempt to complement and enhance the appearance of their parent roofs.

We have come across a variety of names for the same thing. Our favourites include snow bracket, snow brake, snow stop, snow shield, snow clip, ice guard, snow fence, snow rail, snow pad, snow dog, and snow guard bracket. Please let us know which one you like most.


More About Valiant Exteriors Limited


We are Calgary specialists in new installations, repairs, and replacements of sidings, soffits, fascias, eavestrough gutters, and snow guards. We are a small local, family-owned company with an enviable reputation for affordable quality jobs that last.

Please call 403 829 1661 to learn more about what we offer, and discover how we could help you enhance your project. Visit this link to see photos of our exceptional work.

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