Metal Roof Innovations Central

Do Plastic Snow Guards Work?

Do Plastic Snow Guards Work? Blog Feature
Posted by Kimberly Reichert on Nov 8, 2018 3:58:52 PM

At S-5!, we don’t recommend installing adhesive-mounted snow guards on metal roofs. From both an economic and design perspective, glued on plastic snow guards typically have low holding strength and are unable to handle harsh weather-related elements. The bond weakens over time and when it fails, the guard can rip away paint and protective roof coatings, potentially leading to corrosion.

Less Conspicuous?

Clear plastic snow guards are a misnomer in name too. Manufactured with petroleum derivatives, oils and plasticizers leach out of the material and cause the guards to yellow over time. In bright sunlight, they are highly reflective, so they tend to glow like light bulbs.

Beyond aesthetics, the progressively low failure load of plastic snow guards requires an over-populated (polka-dotted) design on the roof to prevent failure. When compared with our mechanically attached products, load test failure data has shown it can take up to 10 adhered parts to equal the strength of just one row of our ColorGard® system.


Keep Snow on the Roof

A snow guard system’s number one purpose is to hold snow back and allow it to leave the roof slowly, (in small amounts or as melt water). So, obviously a snow retention device must actually remain on the roof - for the life of the roof. But as S-5! has witnessed countless times over the years, adhesive-mounted snow guard systems generally fail long before the roof does.


We’ve put together a quick video to show viewers some examples. 



The Definitive Source Also Agrees

The MCA (Metal Construction Association) technical documents are an additional aid for snow guard selection criteria. Document downloads are free. Visit MCA (then click on “Metal Roofs”) for more information. Download this comprehensive technical bulletin for invaluable information for helping you evaluate snow guard products and systems for proper performance and durability for the life of the roof.


So, What’s on Your Roof?

A quality snow guard system will help preserve your roof and allow snow pack to exit the roof in a more controlled manner. Learn more about installing snow guard systems and weatherproofing at


Tags: snow guards, plastic snow guards, metal roof, standing seam metal roof

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