Have you been carefully (or not so carefully) monitoring that gravity-defying overhang of migrating snow that sits atop your roof? Glistening beautifully in the sun, it has stayed up there for days; it will surely stay up a bit longer, right? Sorry, no guarantee. Avalanches are unpredictable and catastrophic events. The snow will fall wherever and whenever it wants to – on you, a loved one, your car or sidewalk.
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It’s time! IRE – the International Roofing Expo has started in Nashville, TN. It officially runs February 11-13 in Music City Center. The exhibit hall in the Center is located in downtown Nashville – incredible roofing products and within walking distance to restaurants and local music venues. What could be better?
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It is a sudden release of snow off a rooftop. Falling snow forms a temperature-sensitive bond to the surface of a metal roof. As that roof is warmed, (through sun or building heat loss), the bond with the snow is broken and a thin film of melt water lubricates the roof. This sudden release from a rooftop can dump many tons of snow below the eaves in a matter of seconds, endangering building elements, landscape, vehicles and pedestrians.
Qualifying Snow Retention Systems for Metal Roofing, from the Metal Construction Association discusses the rooftop avalanche in the following terms:
Metal roofs provide durable, long-term solutions and have been preferred by many for use in challenging northern and alpine climates where snow and its migration on and from the rooftop is a normal occurrence. Such climates can pose unique challenges for any roof. Pitched roofs of a material that has a slippery surface can pose sliding snow and ice hazards below eaves. In many instances, snow retention systems are installed on these roof types in order to reduce the risk of sudden rooftop avalanche and mitigate the hazards present in the discharge areas below the eaves.
Tags: Snow Guards, Snow stops, sliding snow, plastic snow guards, metal roofs, snow retention, metal roof snow stops, metal roofing, snow rails, snow stopper, snow clips, snow fence, rooftop avalanche
Snow retention helps preserve your metal roof and allows snow drifts and snow melt to exit the roof in a more controlled manner (i.e. in small amounts, evaporation or melt water), avoiding the potential calamity of the rooftop avalanche.
According to the Metal Construction Association's technical document Qualifying Snow Retention Systems for Metal Roofing, a snow retention system, also known as a snow guard system, is a series of unitized snow-guard devices or continuous assemblies installed for the purpose of retaining snow on a roof and allow the snow to evacuate slowly via thaw and sublimation rather than suddenly and unexpectedly via rooftop avalanche.
This is a two-part series featuring the S-5! Snow Guard Calculator. In Step 1, we covered exactly why you should engineer your snow guard system and utilize our online calculator to get the job done. Here is Step 2, where we'll explain how to logon and get started! Missed Step 1? Read it here.
This is a two-part series featuring the S-5! Snow Guard Calculator. Step 1 covers exactly why it is imperative to engineer your snow guard system and to utilize our online calculator to get the job done. Below, we'll walk you through exactly the calculator's purpose. Then in Step 2, we'll explain exactly how to logon and get started!
Your roof has been developing a perfectly rounded overhang of migrating snow right over your door. It glistens beautifully in the sun and seems to defy gravity as it gets bigger and bigger. But all you can think of is when it is going to fall. That is a smart premonition; because it will at some point. Snow avalanches can be unpredictable and catastrophic events. And the snow will fall wherever and whenever it wants to – on you, a loved one, your car or sidewalk.
This is Part Two of a two-part series on qualifying snow retention systems.
Recap of How Snow Retention Works
In Part 1 of What’s on Your Roof? we discussed how, unfortunately, there aren’t any snow guard police out there patrolling the industry. This creates a two-fold problem: One, that you can’t count on there being building inspectors to check a go-to-market system for structural adequacy; and two, architects and installers of these systems can potentially be sued for personal and property damage from faulty snow retention systems they specify or install.
But the light at the end of the tunnel comes in the form of the recently published Qualifying Snow Retention Systems by the MCA (Metal Construction Association). This technical guide bridges the gap between the free-for-all snow guard market and building owners, installers, and architects, who demand knowledge, strength, and a well-engineered system. So, what exactly constitutes a well-engineered system?
This is part one of a two-part series on qualifying snow retention systems.
There is a new (and much needed) document recently published by the Metal Construction Association (MCA): Qualifying Snow Retention Systems for Metal Roofing. This new industry consensus document is perhaps the most valuable tool in your toolbox if you are involved with any aspect of snow guards for any metal roof application.
In places where it frequently snows a lot and even in places where it doesn’t, metal is a favored material in protecting a house or other structure. On the surface, snow might appear to be rather innocuous, as it gently falls from the sky like the ending scene in the movie, White Christmas. But what the movie doesn’t show, is all through the night and much of the morning (if not longer) the light fluffy stuff piles deeper and deeper on top of the roof, incrementally increasing its own weight. Then, when the sun comes out, an avalanche of snow tumbles down onto unsuspecting persons, vehicles and landscapes below.
Our new SlideShare offers the best ways to mount snow retention.
When a snow avalanche falls off of a rooftop, it can damage anything in its path! This sudden release of snow can be dramatic—dumping tons of snow in mere seconds. Falling snow forms a temperature-sensitive bond to the surface of a metal roof. Then, when that roof is warmed, whether from the sun or from building heat loss, the bond between the snow bank and roof is broken and a thin film of melt water serves to lubricate the slide.
A several-ton blanket of snow suddenly sliding off the roof can have dramatic results on anything in its path—gutters, the roof itself, landscape, vehicles and even people. Once it is piled up down below, that same snow bank can continue to cause additional troubles (e.g. repeated snow removal; direct damage to building walls; indirect damage caused by funneling melt water into, rather than away from the walls and foundations, etc.).
The Reason for Roof Snow Guards
This is what makes snow retention devices desirable: They keep snow in its place allowing it to leave the roof slowly, either in small amounts, evaporation or as melt water, avoiding the potential calamity of the avalanche.
Learn more about the three methods available for mounting snow retention systems to metal roofs with our new SlideShare. Click here or on the link at the end of the SlideShare to read the entire blog.
Recently, we had a contractor using our on-line snow retention calculator ask this question. He had done a number of planning calculations to customize applications of our ColorGard® system for a particular project, and noticed the field for “Safety Factor” on our load information table and also the calculator. What is this? And what does it do? He wanted to know.