Does Your Roof Need a Snow Retention System?

December 16, 2014

Snow rail, fence, guards, and shoes are all types of snow retention systems that prevent large sheets of snow or ice from falling off a pitched roof. The systems hold the snow on the roof so it can gradually melt off.

Low-slope roofs with parapet walls naturally keep snow and ice on the roof. On a sloped roof, however, large chunks of snow and ice can slide off as the snow melts. Avalanching snow is probable on roofing systems with a steep enough slope and/or a low coefficient of friction. This is especially dangerous for pedestrians walking below.

Snow retention systems are available for all types of roofs and come in a variety of options. The specific snow retention equipment recommended for your roof will depend on the type of roof system installed, the pitch of the roof, budget, and snow load.

Snow rail and snow fence systems clamp or fasten onto an existing standing seam or R-panel metal roof.

Snow guards are surface-mounted and fastened into the structure on a metal deck with insulation or a single-ply, EPDM, or built-up roof system.

Snowshoes are an adhered system for any type of sloped roof system. They are designed to give way at 500 pounds of force.

Snow retention systems are most commonly installed at building entry or exit locations, above overhead doors (e.g. shipping and receiving), and over pedestrian walkways. The pattern, spacing, and quantity is determined by the retention system manufacturer once your roofing contractor has performed a site visit and taken measurements.

Installation in spring or fall ensures optimum safety for roofing technicians. Depending on the slope, height, and location of the snow retention equipment, crews may perform the work out of a lift; otherwise, fall restraint and a horizontal lifeline will be used.

Inspection is necessary once a year to ensure that the system will perform as designed. Especially when snow shoes have been used, it’s important to replace any that are damaged or no longer adhered.

Contact D. C. Taylor Co. today for more information.

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