Q&A: A Guide to Snow Guards

You’ve got questions on snow guards … and we’ve got the answers! Here’s everything you need to know about how valuable snow guards are for homes with composite roofing.

Snow GuardsDoes snow slide off of a DaVinci roof?

Snow tends to slide off all roofs, but is more likely to slide off metal, natural slate, glazed tile, and composite/synthetic tiles (like DaVinci roofs).  This is due to some of the same physical characteristics that help to make DaVinci such a long lasting beautiful roof.

DaVinci composite roofing products have smooth surfaces and don’t absorb water. This means that snow and ice have no place to “grip” as it might with some other roofing products. When snow begins to melt from a warm attic underneath and the sun’s rays above, the snow blanket on top may slide off the roof all at once.

What is the solution?

Installing a pattern of snow guards, or attaching snow fences near the eave, can reduce or eliminate snow slides on composite roofing. Snow guards work by adding friction to the roof. Snow fences on the other hand, create  a barrier to prevent snow movement.  Snow guards are the preferred product for most geographic areas with composite roofing while snow fences are used in very high snow areas like ski resorts.

Who should consider snow guards?

Snow guards should be considered in parts of the country where accumulating snowfalls occur. Many composite roofs or parts of roofs may not need any snow guards at all. In fact, some structures are designed so that snow will slide off of the composite roof, reducing the stress on the structure.   

Snow GuardsDoes my house need snow retention?  

It all depends on what the snow may fall on as it slides off of the roof. The installation of snow guards should be considered on composite roof areas where sliding snow might land on people or property. Decks, walkways, valued landscaping and driveways are obvious examples of such areas.

What snow guards should I use?

There are many different types of snow guards. Snow guards for use on DaVinci composite roofs must have an attachment strap and be manufactured of long-lasting and non-corrosive metals. The best types to use with DaVinci products are manufactured of copper, stainless steel or coated aluminum. Plastic snow guards, typically used on metal roofs, are not recommended for DaVinci roofs.

What if my composite roof is already installed without snow guards?

The best time to install snow guards is when your DaVinci roof is being installed. But if your composite roof is already installed, don’t worry. There are snow guards available that are specifically designed to be installed after your roof has been installed.  These are known as retro-fit snow guards and this type of snow guard won’t compromise the integrity, warranty or longevity of your beautiful DaVinci roof. Contact your original roofer and ask for their company to evaluate your composite roof for snow guards and present you with an estimate for installation.

Are snow guards difficult to install and will my composite roof need to be changed to install them?

No, snow guards are not difficult to install. They can easily be retrofitted by a roofer. Our lightweight composite roofing materials can be used with a wide variety of snow guards. This gives you more flexibility when shopping for these devices without worrying that your roof design will be negatively affected.

Snow GuardsWhat are other benefits of having snow guards?

It is also important to note that excessive snow and water in eaves and gutters can cause them to become clogged. This can damage your gutter system or the interior of your home by causing leaks. Snow guards help prevent this from happening.

Snow guards also distribute the weight of the snow on your composite roof to ensure that its structural integrity is not compromised because of overloading. With snow guards and DaVinci’s composite roofing installed on your roof, you will get two superb systems working together to give you more comfort and less worry.

I understand the value of snow guards, but I’m not sold on how they look on a roof.

Snow guards don’t have to be intrusive on your roof. Companies like Rocky Mountain Snow Guards specialize in offering a variety of options that look good and work effectively with composite roofing material. And, they can powder coat the snow guards to match the color of your DaVinci roof!

What kind of costs are we talking about for snow guards?

Lars Walburg, President of Rocky Mountain Snow Guards, offers this insight: “Painted aluminum and steel snow guards generally cost between $5 and $6 each, while copper snow guards cost between $8 and $10 each. Then, the roofer will charge for installing the snow guards. Depending on the roofer, they may charge between $3 to $6 each for installation.”

Your roofer can work with experts like Walburg to determine exactly where the snow guards should be placed on your composite roof, in what type of pattern and how many are needed. The pitch of your roof is important when deciding where snow guards will be placed. Another placement consideration is to plan on having snow guards located over key walkways, entry areas of the home and landscaping elements.

Ask your contractor if you need snow guards.  The final decision on whether or not to install snow guards rests with you and your contractor.

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