Massive snow accumulation on a roof creates the potential for an unpredictable avalanche-like effect. Metal is a great choice for your rooftop. It has a long life expectancy and can stand up to the harshest conditions. It does have a low coefficient of friction though–meaning things (including snow) don’t stick to it very well. But the notion that snow is intended to slide off a metal roof is misguided and can be dangerous.
According to Mr. Morandin, massive sheet metal snow guard failure is common in Northern Ontario. After tiring of “supplying customers with improper ice guard systems,” he discovered S-5!®
Tags: snow guards
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.
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?
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.
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.
With our roof pitch snow guard calculator, once you enter a few key points of data, our system will quickly calculate the exact number of guards required and the recommended snow guard spacing for your engineered application.
The calculator saves you time and money in the planning process. There is also an option to get a low-cost certified engineer stamp on your calculations. Read part one on why to use a snow guard calculator here.
Our two-part series is on the S-5! Snow Guard Calculator. Step 1 covers exactly why it is so important to engineer your snow guard system. In Step 2, we'll explain how to log on and get started with your calculation!
Snow retention systems go by many names in the industry. Roof snow fences, snow rails, snow stops, snow stopper, snow guards, snow clips, snow bar, and more. Regardless of the phrase, the intended purpose is the same: to reduce the risks associated with rooftop avalanches. By holding back the snow and encouraging it to leave the roof slowly through small amounts or melting, damage to walls and foundations can be reduced.
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?