SnowBreaker: A Different Breed of Polycarbonate Snow Guard
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SnowBreaker: A Different Breed of Polycarbonate Snow Guard

Posted by Derek Gamble - SnoBlox-Snojax Specialist on Nov 29th 2023

A Single SnowBreaker Breaking Up Snow And Ice

The SnowBreaker is a patented polycarbonate snow guard product from SnoBlox-Snojax that differs from standard snow guards for metal roofs in several ways. Traditional snow guards are designed to hold the snow and ice on the roof, preventing dangerous roof slides. This type of system is meant to allow the snow and ice to melt in place and drain from the roof safely. Snow guards are regarded as a life/safety product and should have the same service life and durability as the roof, with either non-corrosive metal fasteners and cold weather silicone or an adhesive, like the  Surebond SB-190 product, to ensure compatibility with the roof material.

A snow guard with a different purpose.

The SnowBreaker, however, has a different purpose. This innovative, clear guard is designed to break up the snow and ice, allowing it to shed slowly from the roof in smaller pieces, thus minimizing the danger of potential roof avalanches. This product is ideal for customers who want to avoid heavy snow slides that can damage property or cause injury, without keeping the weight of the snowpack on their roof for extended periods of time.

Traditional snow guards should NEVER be installed in isolated areas like just above doorways, chimneys, HVAC units, etc. A standard snow guard or snow rail system requires protection for the entire length of the roof and often includes multiple rows up the slope of the roof to distribute the weight evenly. Because it does not hold weight on the roof, the SnowBreaker can be placed at a 45-degree outward angle over a desired isolated area to protect it, which is a cost-effective solution compared to conventional snow guard systems that require the entire roof area to have snow retention just to protect those isolated areas. This feature makes the  SnowBreaker a more targeted and efficient solution for preventing damage caused by snow and ice accumulation on metal roofs. We have a  guide for isolated placement of this guard. 

A Pictorial Diagram of The Area Affected By An Isolated Placement

A Diagram For Proper Installation of an Isolated Installation of SnowBreaker

Versatile Design

Because of its design, the SnowBreaker is incredibly versatile and can be installed on both screw-down roofs with exposed fasteners and floating standing seam roof panels.

Screw-Down Exposed Fastener Roofs

For Screw-Down Roofs with Exposed Fasteners (ex. R-Panel or PBR), you have 3 choices for installation.

Mechanical Fastener Installation

First, you can use the screw-down method with the SnowBreaker that fastens it down into a purlin or structural support below the metal panel with 2 screws each. We have mechanical fastener options for both wood purlins (2”  Master Grippers) and metal purlins (1.5”  Master Drillers). When installing with screws, it is important to use fasteners with neoprene washers and pair them with cold weather, neutral curing silicone, like the NovaFlex MR150 product that we offer. This will prevent roof leaks that can lead to expensive repairs down the line.

Glue Down Installation

Your second option would be to install the SnowBreaker with the Surebond SB-190 liquid adhesive. This is the industry standard for glue-down attachment of  polycarbonate snow guards. This method of installation allows the SnowBreaker to be mounted to the roof without penetrating the panels. It is important to keep in mind that the Surebond SB-190 adhesive has temperature restrictions, unlike mechanical fastening. When using our preferred adhesive, it will require approximately 28 days at 50 degrees (Fahrenheit) or above to achieve a full cure. Temperatures below this threshold will pause the process until the temperature rises again.

Double Sided 3M Tape Installation

Your third option for mounting the  SnowBreaker is with 3M double-sided tape. We market this as a separate product simply called  SnowBreaker 3M. Traditional snow guards that hold the snow and ice on the roof, should never be installed with double-sided tape, as the strength is inadequate for the pressure put on them over long periods of time. The SnowBreaker, however, does not hold weight, which allows the use of 3M tape for installations when roof penetrations are not desired but the temperature requirements cannot be met for the adhesive to cure. This method of attachment is perfect for last-minute installations and should provide adequate protection until the weather warms up again. We recommend that the system be removed and reinstalled with Surebond adhesive once the weather permits for a full cure to be achieved. The SnowBreakers can be re-used, eliminating the need to purchase them all over again.

Peeling The Backing off of a SnowBreaker 3M

Standing Seam Roofs

For standing seam roofs, the adhesive or  3M mounting options are the only choices for installation. It is never recommended to penetrate the panels of a standing seam metal roof. Doing so can cause damage to the roof panels and structure.

Additional Features 

An additional feature of the SnowBreaker that sets it apart is its ability to be reversed when mounted with screws or  SB-190 adhesive. This allows it to be installed in a reversed direction to act as a more traditional snow guard, holding the snow and ice on the roof. When considering the best snow guards for metal roofs, factors such as the panel profile, appearance, and cost should be taken into account. The SnowBreaker's unique ability to break up snow and ice, its reversible installation, and its cost-effective targeted protection make it a distinct choice compared to standard snow guards for metal roofs.

SnowBreaker Dimensions

The SnowBreaker, when used to break up snow and ice, has a unique layout pattern that involves straight lines of guards, unlike standard snow guards that require a staggered row formation to distribute weight equally . This staggered formation is recommended, however, when the SnowBreaker is installed in the reverse orientation. You can find out more about the SnowBreaker’s layout recommendations and  spacing guidelines at SnoBlox-Snojax.com, where you can place your order with a credit card or PayPal transaction. For Free instant spacing layout calculations, you can visit our newly re-launched site SpacingTool.com! You can also give us a call at 1-800-766-5291 to place an order with a live representative who will also be happy to answer any questions you might have about the SnowBreaker or any of our other products.