Home Improvement

Snow Bars for Metal Roofs – Reduce Liability by Preventing Dangerous Ice Slides


In extremely cold weather, it is necessary for the contractors as well as building owners that have metal roofs to take into account the potential danger of ice and snowfall. And on winter days, when there comes a break in snow falling and the sun rises, it starts melting the ice on the roof panel surface. And when the water from the snow gets melted due to the heat of the sun, it produces oil which is the major reason for ice and snow to slide. And this risky sliding is one of the main causes of severe injuries, and it can even lead to death to pedestrians, destroy automobiles, bend gutters, livestock, HVAC tools, and other property below these roofs. So it is necessary to install snow bars for metal roofs which are also called snow guards for metal roofing applications.

When it comes to installing these guards, there are numerous factors that need to be considered first. The initial things to take into consideration are the width, height, and shape of a rail system or snow guard. These are specially designed, and they have the capacity to hold the heavy layers of ice and snow and prevent them from falling down. There are different styles of guards available in the market, and the most common is a pad-style guard. So when you decide to install a pad-style guard, go for a flat yet forward-mounted face and stands. The mounted face should be at least 3 inches across, whereas the stands should be at least 2.5 inches high.

A pad-style guard must be installed in the lowest area of the roofing panel where the snow moves. Most people install these guards above the actual problematic area, which will not be effective as it will not hold back heavy ice and snow. It is better to install these guards in the lowest area where the snow actually moves. A rail system always comes with a flat face, or it has a square tube that features an ice stopper. The ice stopper is mostly 3 inches wide, and it is highly recommended to install perpendicularly to the panel flat. If you install the right type of snow retention device, it will help keep the snow and ice from going repeatedly and under the bar.

As mentioned above, there are different styles or types of ice-stopping systems are available in the market. Pad-style guards and rail systems are the two most widely used types of snow stopping systems. Pad-style guards are preferred to install in the panel flats, whereas the rail snow retention system crimps to the seams. But when it comes to standing seam metal roofs, it is highly recommended to use the adhesive mounting technique. The best thing about this type of mounting is that it never restricts the regular thermal contraction and expansion of floating metal roof panels. Additionally, in extreme snow drifting situations, this adhesive mounting option also delivers a release feature that can exclude the chances of panel damage.

The crimp on the rail system or snow guard system is another method. The difference between this system and pad style system is that the crimp on rails or guards has no release factor. So in this option, if the snow loads go beyond the design competencies of the clamp, then panel damage could occur. So these systems are only installed in strict conditions under observation and in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Now back to the considerations, the type of material is another noteworthy thing to take into account. There are different materials used for these snow-stopping systems, and clear polycarbonate is one of them. It is a virtually invisible material, and it has the ability to not create acidic galvanic reactions when it is uncovered to outdoor elements.

With so many options of snow bars for metal roofs available in the market today, it is quite difficult to choose the right option. It is recommended to search well and ask for recommendations while choosing the one. Consider your needs and budget as well.

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