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Metal Roof Snow Guards Spacing

Snow Guard Spacing Theory:

Snow and ice can avalanche dangerously off glossy-coated metal roofing. Snow guards are installed to help prevent the dangerous sliding of snow and ice. Our recommended approach to snow retention placement involves positioning the snow guards throughout the entire roof to keep snow and ice from shifting initially. Once frozen precipitation loses its grip on a metal roof and begins a down-hill slide, it is exposed to inertia, and as such, a row of guards or rails placed just along the eave or gutter edge of the roof is not always enough protection against a dangerous roof snow and ice avalanche. If snow and ice are held in place with an effective snow guard layout, the load will be evenly distributed on the roof, and the threat of avalanches can be effectively mitigated. An evenly distributed snow load will also preserve the long-term integrity of the structure and snow guard installation. Snow guards should never be isolated on partial roof sections, such as just over doorways and partial roof sections. Snow guards installed on just partial roof sections may be overloaded since the weight from the unprotected roof area can be easily transferred to the partial areas that have snow retention devices. There are products, however, such as the VentSaver, which is designed to protect roof vents, chimneys, and masts without using snow guards.

Snow guard spacing refers to the distance between individual snow guards or snow retention devices installed on a roof. Snow guards are used to prevent snow and ice from sliding off a roof in large sheets, which can be dangerous to people and property below. Proper snow guard spacing is essential to their effectiveness and the overall safety of the building.

The optimal spacing for snow guards can vary depending on several factors, including:

Roof Pitch

Steeper roofs typically require closer snow guard spacing and multiple rows going up the roof to prevent the sudden release of snow and ice buildup.

Snow Load

The expected amount of snowfall in a region plays a significant role. Areas with heavy snowfall may require closer spacing and multiple patterns of snow guards going up the roof.

Roof Material

The type of roofing material can affect the spacing. Metal roofs, for example, may require closer spacing and more rows than asphalt shingles.

Roof Design

The architectural design of the roof, including valleys, dormers, and other features, can influence snow guard placement.

Local Building Codes

Some areas have building codes or regulations that specify snow guard requirements, including spacing.

Generally, snow guards are spaced evenly across the roof, usually in rows of staggered patterns, to distribute the weight of snow and ice more evenly. Common snow guard spacing ranges from 12 inches to 24 inches apart, staggered horizontally and vertically along and up the roof, although it can be closer or farther apart depending on the factors mentioned above. Consulting with a reputable snow guard company, knowledgeable roofing professional, or engineer is advisable to determine the appropriate snow guard spacing for your specific roof.

A snow guard installation should always be performed by experienced professionals familiar with local building codes and best snow retention practices.  Improper spacing and installation can lead to roof damage or failure.




Snow Guard & Snow Rail Spacing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Snow Guard Spacing Tool

Snow guards are intended to avoid the unexpected release of snow and ice from metal roofs. This can help protect gutters, vent pipes, HVAC systems, vehicles, and pedestrians below from damage. The correct layout should be established based on your project's specific data for a successful installation.


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