How to prevent snow from sliding and tearing off gutters.
There is always the potential for sliding snow on metal roofing. The snow can accumulate and suddenly break loose and slide down the roof and tear off the gutters and damage anything in it's path or underneath including you or your family. The roof does not need to be steep for this to occur. We have done repairs where snow slid off a metal roof at a 3/12 pitch. Even though the roof was not steep the snow still slid off, ripping off the gutters, and damaging the deck rail below. The way to prevent snow from sliding off a metal roof is to install SNOW GUARDS!
Snow guards come in many shapes and styles and at various price ranges. There are snow guards made of solid copper, brass, plastic, aluminum and steel. There are individual snow guards that can be placed in a particular spacing pattern or a rail type system that goes all the way across the roof.
The most popular and economical snow guards are the hard and durable clear plastic ones that we purchase from Berger Building Products. These work well for the typical V- rib metal roofing. The manufacturer recommends installing a course along the eave just above the load bearing wall. Then install an additional course every 8 to 10 feet up the roof. The reason for this is that the snow guards are not designed to catch sliding snow. As it accumulates on the roof and around the snow guards it is forced to melt slowly where the water can go into the gutters and not cause any damage. So if your roof run is 30 feet, you would want to install a course at the bottom then another course about 10 ft from the ridge. If you only install a course at the bottom, then the snow up higher on the roof can still slide down and rip off the snow guards and cause damage.
This cabin was only a year old when a snow storm caused damage to the new gutters. It had heavy duty hidden hangers. They did not use stainless screws and spaced the hangers on three foot centers. When the snow broke loose there were places where the screw that holds the hanger to the fascia was completely broken, and other places where the hanger held but the snow ripped the gutter.
(Snow slides off metal roof and rips gutter)
The homeowner hired Grace Home Improvement to first replace the damaged gutter and install Leaf Relief which is a better gutter guard than the aluminum screens.
It wasn't long after completing the repair work that another snow storm was coming.
The homeowner was rightfully concerned that the snow storm would tear off the new gutters again and was looking for a long term solution. So I downloaded some pictures and information and sent him an email explaining the snow guards and how much it would cost. I knew the cabin needed two courses across the roof but the snow was on it's way and we only had X amount of time. So he replied to the email and agreed to have the first course installed immediately. So I rushed to Knoxville and picked up the snow guards then proceeded to the cabin. When I got there the snow was already coming down the mountain. The top of the mountain was already white. It became a race against time.
It was already snowing when I began the install. It was a process of wiping off the snow, cleaning the metal roofing with alcohol, screwing the snow guards down, then sealing around them.
The first course of snow guards goes just above the load bearing wall. It is recommended to use a staggered pattern approximately fifteen inches apart. In this case we staggered two rows on the first course with the smaller mid grade snow guards then every seventh one dropped to a third course with a heavy duty larger snow guard.
You can see they are like little cups that catch the snow and prevent it from breaking loose and sliding down the roof.
It was dark when I got the last snow guard of the first course installed on the front porch.
The above picture shows the heavy duty Berger Building Products Snow Guard. It can be installed using the sealant/adhesive method or by using mechanical fasteners. It's not uncommon that when using the sealant/adhesive method the snow guards will unattach and fall off over time. It's always a good idea when using the mechanical method of attachment to coat the bottom of the snow guard with some sealant then put a bead of sealant around the snow guard when attached.
After installing the first course of snow guards in a last minute effort to protect the new gutters and gutter guards from the immediate threat of snow, we went back a few days later after most of the snow had melted. The pictures above show that the effort paid off. The gutters were protected. The snow guards are holding the last bit of snow on the roof and forcing it to melt and go into the gutter without damage. That snow storm was about 6 inches of snow. So to be sure, the homeowner had us install the second course. This is a steep roof, with about a 25 foot run. To prevent a hard and heavy snow from sliding from the top of the roof and crashing into the snow guards below, we installed the second course.
Snow guards are a great investment if you have metal roofing. They will prevent snow from damaging your gutters and pay for themselves the first good snow.
If you would like to have snow guards installed on your home or cabin, please feel free to call or fill out the Free Online Estimate form.
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This page provides information about SNOW GUARDS and Installing Snow Guards, for home or cabin owners in the Sevierville TN, Knoxville TN, Pigeon Forge TN, Gatlinburg TN, Lenoir City TN, around Norris Lake, Jefferson City TN, Smoky Mountains, and or Middlesboro KY. Snow Guards, Berger Building Products. Gutter Repairs from snow damage. Metal Roofing and Snow Guards.