One Thing’s For Sure: Misconceptions Still Exist in Rooftop Snow Management

Over the past almost 3 decades we’ve heard our fair share of some of the misconceptions people have when it comes to managing snow on rooftops. To me, the one that always makes me shake my head is when people say something like, “I purposely got a metal roof so the snow would slide off easily. Why would I want to keep it up there with snow guards?” (and I totally understand, I mean, I was new at Alpine SnowGuards a little over 5 years ago and I had no idea why you would want to keep snow on the roof).

Well, for starters, metal roofs have more beneficial attributes than allowing the snow to slide off. There’s the longevity aspect of metal roofs – most lasting 40-70 years (as opposed to maybe 20 for asphalt shingle). Add to that the fact that metal roofs are energy efficient in that they reflect solar radiant heat, which in turn can reduce your cooling costs by as much as 25%. Metal roofs are also easy on the environment, due to the 100% recycle-ability of the roofing material.

When it comes to managing rooftop snow, you really don’t want the snow mass to slide off easily. Here’s why: when snow that accumulates on your roof starts to melt, the melting runoff acts as a lubricant between the panel surface and the accumulated snow mass above. Because metal roofing has no granules, like a shingle roof does, the entire accumulated mass will release and come barreling off the metal roofing in the form of a roof avalanche.

As you can imagine, when a roof avalanche occurs, gutters can be ripped off, expensive landscaping can be destroyed, cars and other items in driveways and on porches or decks can get damaged, and pets may be in harm’s way. Most importantly of all, that sliding, avalanching snow can become a serious hazard to people!

A proven way to mitigate that hazard is to have snow guards installed on your roof. While we don’t actually install the snow guards for you, we’re confident that by using our easy installation instructions and install animations, you won’t have any issues at all.

This brings up another great point – the importance of using the proper set screws on your clamp-to-seam snow guard projects. When you’re attaching anything to a metal roof – snow management systems, solar arrays, duct work, satellite dishes, and more – it’s important not to damage the roofing material in the process. To ensure you maintain the integrity of the roof, an appropriate clamp-to-seam option for the project will be needed, especially since using incorrect, or inferior clamps, will void the roofing manufacturer’s warranty.

Some additional key points to remember when choosing and installing clamps:

  • Choose clamps that don’t utilize adhesives and you won’t have to worry about temperature changes.
  • Before you install, always check that the roof panels are securely fastened to the roof, so they can do their job in absorbing the load that will be transferred by adding clamps.
  • Check your torque settings and be sure to use the setting that’s consistent with the installation instructions from the clamp manufacturer.
  • When installing clamps for snow management systems, make sure to leave a break every 100 feet to allow for thermal expansion.

I’m sure some of you out there were already aware of this, and I wanted to make sure it’s been touched on again, so there’s no question into the way things should be installed.

Next time, we’ll look into the difference between a recommended layout and a “per-piece” quote. Until then, if you haven’t signed up to start using our Online Project Calculator, now’s your chance. We’ve made a lot of upgrades recently, and we know you will be SO happy you did!

Take a look at our full line of snow guards for metal standing seam roofing and metal corrugated roofing.

And remember, if you need snow guards installed on your roof (new or existing), Alpine SnowGuards has over 60 models to choose from for every roof type. All of our systems are engineered to be rugged, versatile and attractive.

We keep snow in its place


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Alpine SnowGuards®  designs, engineers, and manufactures snow management systems from our facilities in Morrisville, VT. We work closely with leading roofing contractors, engineering firms, developers, and roofing manufacturers to ensure we deliver quality products that do what we say they’ll do.

Images from: Press Herald via Getty Images

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