Our Mission: to be the most trusted provider of snow guards by offering the highest quality products and unmatched customer service.
In the early 1980's metal roofing was so new to the industry, that not many installers had considered the dangers of sliding snow and ice on a metal roof. Most of the metal roofs of this time period were mechanically fastened and the majority of snow guards were installed the same way. My father Jack McMullen had been a metal building erector since 1963 and usually installed snow guards on the buildings that had gutters and pedestrian walk and/or parking areas. Most of the snow guards of that era had a single leg and were usually made from cheap castings that oxidized very quickly when exposed to the outside elements. In three to five years we started receiving complaints about the snow guards that were installed on the buildings that we sold. We began searching for a better metal roof snow retention solution but quickly found out that everything on the market was made from dissimilar metals that left rust marks on the beautiful metal roofs that we installed several years earlier. Necessity being the mother of invention, we sought out to make a better snow guard that would not only be non-corrosive but almost invisible, so they did not detract from the building’s appearance.
After years of testing for our new idea, we were awarded a patented on the world’s first screw down clear, non-corrosive, polycarbonate snow guard called Snojax®, now referred to as the Snojax I. In 1982 my father and I spent 6 months driving from one side of the country to the other promoting our new state of the art, patented, polycarbonate snow guard. Our purpose was to introduce our invention and educate architects, engineers, designers and contractors about the significant dangers associated with winter precipitation and metal roofing. The positive feedback received was astonishing and the seeds that were planted grew quickly.
Product Development Timeline
In 1984, standing seam floating roofs started to become popular. These roofing panels have a natural tendency to thermally expand and contract based on various weather conditions. The Snojax® company immediately saw the need to redesign its original Snojax I screw-down snow guard so that it could be adhesive mounted and would not compromise the integrity of the floating type metal roof panels. We designed a prototype, originally called Icejax™ which was actually a version of the Snojax I, with a special plate fusion bonded on the feet to provide a large interchangeable bonding surface. We knew that this method of attachment would eliminate potential roof leaks, seam impairments, panel damage, warranty violations, maintenance issues and call backs associated with installing snow guards on this type of roofing. In 1985 we discovered a suitable adhesive called Surebond SB-190. Within a year, we “tweaked” the design of the Icejax™, purchased another injection mold, and changed the name of the Icejax prototype to Snojax II.
We hired Pittsburgh Testing Labs to perform various laboratory testing on our “adhesive mounted” snow guard and we found the results far exceeded our wildest expectations. Before introducing this new product to the industry, we also performed our own field testing and analysis by installing them on the roofs of some of our existing customers. Once we received positive feedback from those customers, we were glad to introduce another first... a non-penetrating, adhesive mounted polycarbonate snow guard designed for standing seam floating metal roofs. Because of its unique design, it earned a U.S. Design Patent for the first adhesive mounted, polycarbonate snow guard. The metal roofing industry immediately embraced this new product and it was an overnight success!
In 2000, we introduced two uniquely designed patented SnoBlox® models, the “Ace” and the “Deuce”. These models were invented to offer the industry an economical snow guard solution that eliminated the confusion associated with minor rib straddling. They have a large, flat, forward mounted-face with a narrow base that fits in between closely spaced minor ribs. The SnoBlox® models also feature the industry’s first patented waffled base design that truly enhances the bonding power of the glue.
In 2002, we pioneered the way for the industry’s first patented stack and chimney vent saver products called the Ventsaver FB-151™ and the Ventsaver P-383™. These product became essential for us to inventory because we had so many customers that were misapplying snow guards in an effort to try to protect their roof vents and chimneys. These products have proven themselves to be the perfect solution to keep vent stack pipe and chimneys upright on the roof where they belong. In 2010 we released a heavy duty Ventsaver model called the Ventsaver HD that became extremely popular in areas where heavy snow loads are common. For standing seam metal roof applications we now offer the SS Ventsaver kits that feature a non penetrating attachment of the Ventsaver products to a standing seam metal roof.
In late 2004, after many requests for a high quality snow bar type holding system, we did extensive research and teamed up with the originator of the only "drop in" and first clamp on bar system that crimps on to a standing seam metal roof panel. The SnoBar® and ColorBar™ products install quicker than any other bar system and are extremely strong, time proven systems. The ColorBar™ with the original slide in color strip option is made from 6063 T-5 Aluminum. The SnoBar® is made from galvanized, Gatorshield® coated steel or 304 stainless steel and the clamps are made from 304 stainless steel or 6061 T-6 aluminum. Both bar systems can be color matched to your roof with fast turn around times. Unlike any other bar system on the market today, SnoBar® and ColorBar™ are the only systems to feature a super fast top loading clamp and an unmatched ice stopping system that keeps snow and ice from going under and or ramping up and over the bar! In 2016 we acquired the assets of Action Manufacturing, LLC which owned the patents for SnoBar®, ColorBar™ and RoofClamp™.
In 2005, we had requests for several other styles and sizes of snow guards. We decided to revive the Icejax™ name and introduced two different size models called the Icejax I and the Icejax II. These new models are based on the then, 22-year-old trusted Snojax II design. We hired the internationally renowned ATI professional testing laboratory to test ALL of our snow guard models and these tests proved, once again, that the Snojax®, SnoBlox® and Icejax™ brands are the strongest, best bonding snow guards in the industry!
2006 was now upon us and we were having requests for metal snow guards. We strive to meet the needs of our customers. The reason we invented plastic snow guards was because the metal snow guards that were available were expensive, too tiny to work or were fabricated from cheap cast metal that proved to get brittle and break in the cold. To provide the industry with a better option for metal snow guards we developed the SnowCatcher™ This large, 16 gauge, 304 stainless steel snow guard is available in decorative shapes in mill finish or many powder coated colors. Since there is not a bonding agent that is adequate for metal to metal snow guards attachment, this guard is intended for screw down mechanical mounting only. It comes with pre-drilled screw holes and an adhesive backed, precut V742 CCF PVC foam sealer base pad so installation is fast and simple, no silicone needed. The profile is similar to our popular SnoBlox® design and will fit most screw or nail down metal roof panels.
In 2007 we began carrying #14 snow guard screws for mechanical fastening snow guard applications. We also had a number of requests to make our snow guards available on a wholesale B2B level, so we did just that! We now offer our Icejax™ and SnoBlox® models with low minimum purchasing quantities at a wholesale price for qualified resellers (Call for more information). This is a great opportunity for many businesses to increase their profit margins while providing the industry with an amazingly simple, strong and effective roofing accessory that enhances safety and eliminates building and property damage.
In 2009 we added the 304 grade stainless steel decorative metal SnowCatcher™ lineup which included the Mustang, Fleur-De-Lis, Sun Burst and Maple Leaf SnowCatcher™ models. By partnering with a local powder coater we are able to offer the choice of 50 durable TGIC Polyester powder coat colors.
In 2009 we also released the snow guard industry's FIRST recycled snow guard called the EcoBlox™ made from 100% post consumer polycarbonate. This version of the trusted SnoBlox® Deuce model is made with "green" materials. Now you can be environmentally conscious and still know you are using a trusted and proven snow guard made with materials that are comprised mostly of recycled 5 gallon water bottles and compact discs.
In late 2009 we partnered with a local machine shop to produce the SlateGuard™ for tile and asphalt roofs. The pre-assembled, sturdy 304 stainless steel SlateGuard™ is an ideal retrofit or new construction solution for slate, asphalt shingle and composite tile roofs. Slots easily engage roof nails. Unique rolled tabs insure the SnoBlox® Deuce is held firmly on the strap and a sturdy rivet prevents lift out. Available with the choice of clear or 11 stock SnoBlox® Deuce snow guards.
In 2010 we released the patented SnowBreaker™, a revolutionary device we designed to split apart falling snow and ice. As the snow and ice slides on the roof, this cost effective product minimizes the danger by slicing the frozen precipitation into small pieces so it can safely come off the roof. The forward cutting edge and the tucked back rear support form a triangular shape that acts like a fin to split up the frozen precipitation. We also offer the SnowBreaker with a "Peel and Stick" 3M tape for convenient year round installation.
In 2010 we were also pleased to announce the release of the patented universal Roof Clamp™, a clamp for roof accessory attachment on metal roofing. With the clamp, installers can secure Satellite Dishes, Roof Walks, Conduit or HVAC lines. They can also be used to attach signs or awnings. The RCT model fits over 90 percent of the standing seam panels on the market so there is no need to stock many sizes of clamps that many other manufacturers require. The aluminum RoofClamp™ utilizes a Stainless Steel cup-tipped screw that does not pierce or penetrate the panel; therefore it will not void the manufacturer warranty.
In 2012 we disbursed the myth that round and oval tipped set screws do not leave a mark on a standing seam metal panel while proving that cup-tipped sets screws are the obvious choice for a roof clamp. The demo and explanation can be see here.
In 2014 the Standing Seam Ventsaver Plate was introduced as a solution for installing the Ventsaver stack and chimney protection devices to a standing seam metal roof panel without penetration. The already popular universal RCT RoofClamp was used for attachment to the panel, and adjustable stainless steel plate that spanned the seams of the metal panel was fabricated to mount various models the VentSaver. The adjustable plate is made from heavy 1/4" thick 5052 Stainless Steel and features a built in ice ramp to protect the base of the pipe while the Ventsaver fin protects the upper portions of the pipe. The two models accommodate most panel sizes.
In 2016 we purchased the assets of Action Manufacturing LLC of Colorado. This company manufacturers and retained the patents to the original drop in, clamp on, ColorBar,™ SnoBar® snow retention system and the universal RoofClamp™ metal roof attachment system.
Why We Are The Best:
Now that you know WHO we are, we would like to take the time to tell you WHY we are the leading supplier of snow guards and bar style snow retention systems. With so many new snow guard companies flooding the marketplace, choosing a qualified supplier can be difficult. There are several important factors to consider when selecting the proper snow guard for metal roofing applications. The most important features to consider are the height, width and shape of a snow guard or rail system. This determines its ability to hold back layers of heavy ice and snow. A pad style guard should have a flat, forward mounted face that measures at least 3 inches across and stands no less than 2.5 inches high. It must be mounted in the lowest portion of the roofing panel where the snow and ice actually moves, not on a high seam above the problem area. Snow guards mounted on a high seam will cease to be effective once the snow and ice compacts on the panel and becomes lower than the guard. A bar or rail system should always have a flat face or square tube made from extruded aluminum, stainless steel or galvanized Gatorshield® coated steel with a stainless or aluminum roof clamp mounted on every seam. It is also recommended to use an ice stopper at least 3 inches wide, mounted perpendicular to the panel flat in order to be effective. Installing the correct type of ice stopping device is the key to keeping the snow and ice from going under and over the bar.
The preferred method of attachment imposing the least risk of panel damage on a standing seam floating panel roof is the adhesive mounted pad style snow guard. This mounting method does not restrict the natural thermal expansion and contraction process of floating metal roof panels and in the event of severe snow drifting conditions, it provides a release feature that eliminates the possibility of panel damage. Glue mounted snow guards will never cause roof leaks and in the event of their release, they can always be reattached to the same spot with little difficulty. It is very important to remember that crimp on guards or rails have no release aspect and panel damage could occur if snow loads exceed the design capabilities of the clamp. These systems work well but are generally more expensive and can pose a risk of panel damage if under designed. They should always be installed in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations!
If aesthetics are a consideration, clear pad style snow guards are far less noticeable on a roof than colored ones. A color matched snow guard will act as a sundial and cast a conspicuous shadow. Think about this scenario, a person is standing in front of a building and is looking up at the roof. What do they see? They observe all the protruding objects that don’t blend with the sky, including nontransparent snow retention systems. Clear snow guards unify with the skyline and in most cases, are almost undetectable.
Another noteworthy consideration is the type of material from which the snow guard is made. Clear UV stable polycarbonate is virtually invisible and will not create corrosive galvanic reactions caused by dissimilar metals exposed to outdoor elements. Metal snow guards made of a dissimilar metal than the roof can deteriorate a metal roof quickly. The polycarbonate used to make all of our snow guards has an ASTM Brittleness temperature rating of 150° below zero. Because all plastics do not maintain the same characteristics when exposed to various weather conditions, the consumer should only consider using a product made from a virgin grade, UV stabilized, prime polycarbonate material. Our company uses the same type of polycarbonate, approved by NASA, and is used to make astronaut face masks. This is not the case with all plastic snow guard manufacturers. A really cheap price that is too good to be true is a red flag and the buyer should proceed with caution.
Losing money through misapplication
The most common snow retention problem that we encounter is misapplication. We have found that some newer snow guard companies are in fields unrelated to the industry and are in this business for a quick sale. They are very eager to tell customers that a single row of guards along the eave will suffice. To top it off, some even suggest using untested sealants and tapes that have no UV resistance. There are others claiming that there is a new “miracle” cold weather adhesive. We know, for a fact, that the manufacturer of this product discourages selling this sealant for adhesive mounting of snow guards in the winter – we know this because it is made by the same manufacturer that makes our recommended adhesive and if there was such a product that worked, we would be selling it.
The deceptive tactics used by others in relation to testing of snow guards is something to be aware of. Some companies are using the tensile strength ratings of the plastics and or adhesives to provide misleading information about the holding strength of their guards. We have had the holding strength of our snow guards and adhesive professionally tested by the internationally renowned ATI Testing Lab, and proudly publish these findings in our literature and our website. We feel that these tests along with over 42 years of field experience enable us to accurately design a layout for a snow retention system that will work in any situation. Always ask a snow guard company for third party test results to be sure!
With so many choices on the market, it is safe to say that there is not one type of snow retention system that is perfect for every application. Some types of metal roofing do not have the proper seam height and are not structurally suitable for use with a clamp down system. While it is always harmless to the panel to use an adhesive mounted system, weather conditions are not always ideal for proper installation. We have designed an on-line estimator program at snowguardspacingtool.com that will hopefully help set the industry standard and will help the end user determine how many guards should be placed on a particular project.
Lifetime Warranty - no fine print.
Last but not least, you must also consider a manufacturer’s warranty. When used in accordance to our instructions and recommended layout, our snow guard is warranted for a lifetime, without hidden fees and inspections. It is however, impossible to warranty workmanship; therefore the method of attachment is not part of our warranty. It’s that simple.
One of our competitors claims that they offer systems that are supposedly good enough to be warranted for the life of the roof, but what they don’t tell you is that there is a costly $1500 Issuance Fee plus 8% of the full invoice cost in order to receive their “Limited Warranty”! Issuance is then conditional to receiving a “Field Inspection Report” or a written waiver which must be obtained by the contractor, from the manufacturer. If this report is “unsatisfactory” or the manufacturer determines that they must conduct further Field Inspection(s) then the contractor, which represents the “owner” is subject to additional “Re-Inspection” fees as determined by the manufacturer. Of course, this fee is promised not to exceed the original Issuance Fee. If the manufacturer determines the system was under designed, as they usually are, then the manufacturer shall have no obligations or liabilities! Sounds confusing? It is! Not to mention the cost of this type of “Limited Warranty” could far exceed the original cost of the entire snow retention system! We have to ask, why charge for a warranty in the first place, if the product really works?
42 years later
Today, more than 42 years later, I am proud to continue my father’s legacy with integrity. All our products are "Made In The U.S.A." with nothing sourced overseas! SnoBlox® Snojax® and SnoBar® brands are recognized as the metal construction industry's leading metal roof snow guard systems. Since 1976, we have been nationally and internationally known as a trustworthy supplier whose predominant business is providing snow retention and accessory attachment solutions for metal roofing. By offering the best products along with outstanding customer service, we continue to provide the industry with the highest quality snow guard systems available, at the best possible price, with the best warranty! Our mission is to meet the constantly changing needs of the metal roofing industry with continuous research and development of professionally tested products. Being a second generation business, with the third generation currently in training, we plan to be of service for generations to come! Please feel free to message our award winning customer service department at [email protected] with any questions or suggestions.
By Brion P. McMullen, President & CEO