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6 Things to Avoid When Selecting the Right Snow Guard
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6 Things to Avoid When Selecting the Right Snow Guard

Posted by SnoBlox-Snojax on Dec 6th 2021

In many parts of the country, snow and ice accumulation on a pitched metal roof poses a problem. Snow accumulation on a roof generates sliding forces which can cause the snow to fall suddenly. This effect can result in roof avalanche, destruction of property, or danger to people below the roof.

Snow guards are designed to prevent snow from slipping off roofs unexpectedly.

These devices are also known as snow stops or snow rails. They secure metal roofs from rooftop avalanches and protect a building from damages such as the landscape, gutters, skylight, and more. Besides that, snow guards protect homeowners from potential liability or personal injury, or death.

Emphatically, the importance of snow guards is to store snow until it can safely depart the roof. However, with dozens of snow guard suppliers claiming that their product is the best, it can be daunting to know the best snow guard for your roof.

So, what are the features to consider and avoid when selecting a snow guard? The answer to this question is a concern in the heart of many contractors and designers.

This article has compiled six different things to avoid when buying a snow guard. Possibly you aren't a building contractor, yet you don't want to regret your snow guard purchase. This article is for you!

You won't want to miss this!

Let's proceed!

Six Features To Avert When Selecting Your Snow Guard

1. Low-quality Materials

Snow guards are regarded as a life/safety product. Therefore, they should have the same service life and durability as the roof. However, snow guards with incompatible or fewer quality materials can't serve this long.

Material options include plastic, extruded aluminum, stainless steel, brass, and cast aluminum. However, extruded aluminum, stainless steel, or brass (for copper roofing) systems are the best choices. Aluminum, stainless steel, and brass roofing systems will last as long as or longer than the metal roof itself.

Plastic and cast aluminum grow brittle over time and crack or fracture.

According to the Metal Construction Association, snow guards for metal roofs should be non-corrosive metal. Also, independent studies have shown that metal roofs endure 40 years or more than other roofing materials.

2. Wrong Fastenings

The snow guard Fastenings should be thoroughly examined to avoid the destruction of the rooftop warranties.

Mechanically attached snow guards should be secured with fastening methods that do not pierce the roof's weathering membrane. Furthermore, the fastening should not damage the protective metallic coatings on steel panels.

In addition, the fastenings should not produce scoring, which could result in roof material breakage or premature corrosion.

Also, screws with a "cup point" pierce carbon steel panels' delicate protective metal coatings. This effect exposes the bare metal to corrosion.

3. Short Performance Life

In most conditions, galvalume®-coated steel has a performance life expectancy of 40 years or longer.

Aluminum is projected to have a longer service life than steel.

These material types should be considered when selecting your snow retention system.

Many of the snow guards on the market today are made of corrosive metals or plastic and have nowhere near the intended service life. These devices must be replaced multiple times before the roof life expires.

Also, several devices rely on dyes or air-dried paint to color match architectural roofs. While the color match is ideal, it can be unnecessary later.

The snow guard's inferior colors and resins fade quickly over time, creating an ugly contrast with the roof panels' stable PVDF factory finishes. It is necessary to consider the snow guards with the best painting.

Finally, the connection mechanism must be durable enough to withstand the roof's life.

Mechanical attachments are not affected by the passage of time. But yet, chemical attachments (adhesives) deteriorate with age and exposure when the chemical bonds are broken down by UV, moisture, and heat cycling. This is a chemical fact that cannot be overlooked.

4. Low Holding Strength

The number of snow guards on the market today not tested or have been tested incorrectly is worrying.

Just as you know, rooftop and snow guard equipment is subjected to a calculable force from snow. This is why roofing material's holding strength is critical and should be tested by an independent laboratory to allow for correctly engineered installations.

The Metal Construction Association (MCA) recommends three to five safety factors for adhesive installations and two to three for mechanical attachments. Many snow guards manufacturers focus on their tensile or breaking strength rather than their holding strength.

The actual holding strength for snow guards varies greatly, and we've seen test results ranging from 60 pounds to over 4,000 pounds!

5. Difficulty In Installation

Installation errors can disfigure even the best snow guard. This fact is why you must consider a snow guard that is easy to fix.

6. Glue-on Snow Guards

Snow guard systems that attach mechanically are stronger than snow guard systems that use adhesive. Due to the holding strengths and the need to spread the load across and up the roof, a single row of mechanically connected snow guards can usually be erected at the roof's eave rather than many rows of glue on plastic snow guards.

In addition, the Metal Construction Association recommends that you use a mechanically attached snow guard rather than a snow guard attached with glue.


It is recommendable for homeowners and contractors new to snow guards to hire a professional who has expertise installing them. You can ask questions and receive advice from a specialist.

It's also critical to fully comprehend the type of roof on which you'll be placing snow guards. Some roofs that look like standing seam metal roofs are batten roof systems, frequently misunderstood.

To avoid installation error or futuristic danger, seek knowledge and don't assume.


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