Homeowners have been using snow guards, snow stops, snow brakes, etc. for centuries although all three words mean the same. They install snow guards on their roofs to prevent snow packing, sliding off, and harming people, property and plants below.
However, their aim is not to hold the snow back completely, because this could cause roof leaks during thaws. A good snow guard breaks up the snow so it slides down safely in smaller pieces. Snow guard placement can be a critical factor determining whether this works properly or not.
Factors Influencing Correct Snow Guard Placement
Correct snow guard placement takes roof pitch, length of run, and architectural features into account. However, its most important role is protecting people from injury, and property from damage. Hence snow stops are most likely to be above entrances, walkways, and other places where people are likely to gather.
A ‘wall’ of snow is heavy, and can cause considerable property damage. We often find guards shielding secondary roofs, parking spaces and expensive equipment / landscaped areas below. And we usually recommend snow guard placement over eavestroughs and down pipes too, to prevent them ripping away.
The Art and Science of Snow Stop Placement
Snow banks typically congregate at the edge of roofs, above the eaves, and away from warmer air in the roof space below. The trick is to prevent them moving down from higher up, and increasing the density and weight.
The two commonest designs are continuous ‘rail type’ systems high up, and individual cleats above eaves to break up the bulk of the pack. The art is arranging them so they align with and complement windows, doors and other architectural features.
More Snow Guard Placement Tips and Things to Avoid
The biggest mistake some homeowners make is cutting back on the amount of snow guarding. Rails and cleats should be equally positioned up the slope to spread the load of snow, and distribute its weight.
It’s also essential to run the numbers to make sure the snow stop will be able to withstand the weight of the pack without tearing out, and damaging the roof covering. Installing snow guards is part art and part science. But they do work, and work well when correctly installed.
Give Valiant Exteriors a call if you need further advice on the correct snow guard placement for your particular roof. We don’t charge to quote, and there is no obligation when we do. Call us or message us when it suits.