Tag Archives: snow guard designs

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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions from a Snow Guard Specialist

At SnoBlox-Snojax we take hundreds of calls a week from customers, like you, asking about our snow guards. I would like to answer some of the more common questions that we hear on a daily basis. For answers to any of your questions, please feel free to call us at 1-800-766-5291 and one of our representatives will happily assist you.

Q: How many snow guards do I need?

A: The amount of snow guards that are necessary for your project is based on a few different factors. Some of these include:

1) PANEL STYLE – Different roof panels have particular methods that work best for installing snow guards. Corrugated panels, for example, allow you to install snow guards with adhesive or mechanically. Standing seam roofs, on the other hand, require non-penetrating methods like adhesive or clamp on bar-type systems.

2) METHOD OF ATTACHMENT – Adhesive is very strong in its own right, but often we find that mechanical attachment methods require lower amounts of guards. Bar systems, usually require the least amount of rows on any roof, but it does come at a higher cost than individual guards.

3) LOCATION & SNOW LOAD - Geography has a big impact on the amount of snow that certain regions receive. In some cases these changes are drastic enough that 2 identical buildings in neighboring towns could have completely different snow guard requirements. A few pounds of difference in snow loads may have a surprisingly large impact on the layouts required for these structures.

4) BUILDING DIMENSIONS – The dimensions of your roof play a large part in determining a proper layout for your project.  Panel lengths, roof pitch (angle), and the overall building footprint are all considerations when creating the proper layout for your project.

Once we have received all of the information for your roof, we will calculate a layout and quote for you. For those DIY-ers out there, you can also visit www.SpacingTool.com and work your way through our online calculator.

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Q: Can you match your products to the color of my roof?

A: The answer to this question depends on which of our products that you are looking to install. Our metal SnoBar, ColorBar, ColorRail, and WindBar systems can be matched to any roof color through the use of powder-coating. This is also true for our lineup of standard and decorative stainless steel SnowCatcher products. Typically, this can be achieved by the customer sending us a physical sample. Emailing or texting images of your roof color is not recommended as different monitors and devices will change coloring depending on the settings. A physical sample is always preferred. We have a wide range of stock colors. If your shade is a bit more unique, discontinued, or if you are trying to match a faded color on an older roof, we can also custom match for a small surcharge.

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The individual polycarbonate guards in our catalog are normally clear, but we do offer 11 stock colors for our SnoBlox Deuce. If you are using the Deuce and are unsure of the color-match, we can send you a free sample for you to compare. Otherwise, we typically recommend sticking with the clear.

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Q: Can I order less than the recommended amount from you?

A: Yes. We provide layouts to our customers at no charge and hope that they will be followed. As such, all snow guards that are installed according to our instructions are covered against guard-breakage for the life of the roof. We understand, however, that sometimes it is just not in the budget. In these cases, we will happily provide our customers with whatever they request. We do remind you, in these cases, that deviation from our proposal will result in forfeiture of your warranty for the guards. Normally when a customer purchases less than we have advised, we like to recommend adhesive attachment due to the fact that guard failure with glue does not damage the panel. It simply requires re-application.

Q: I see lots of clear snow guards out there by tons of different companies. Should I be leery of plastic guards?

A: When dealing with clear guards (or any guard for that matter), it is incredibly important to do your research first. Make sure that you are looking for companies who use 100% virgin polycarbonate in their manufacturing and ideally are made in America. There are many distributors of clear snow guards, but not all of them are of high quality. That often is the reason for their lower pricing. The use of more brittle materials, like acrylic, and manufacturing in foreign countries, like China, can lead to inferior products that look identical to their high quality counterparts. The products often break and discolor rapidly. It is easy to allow pricing to sway your decision making. When it comes to the safety of people and property that could be impacted by the dangers of falling snow and ice, you don’t want to pinch pennies. Saving a few dollars could lead to huge lawsuits and fines if and when something goes wrong due to a system failure. It is better to pay a little more initially, than to have to constantly replace guards due to failure. You will save money in the long run by purchasing the best products the first time.

These are just a few of the most common questions that we get. Once again, if you have any questions or concerns about any of our snow guard products, please feel free to call us at 1-800-766-5291 and one of our representatives will happily assist you. Spring is right around the corner, so why not purchase now so that you can be ready.

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Snojax I – The Guard That Started It All!

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For over 35 years, we have been bringing you the best in polycarbonate snow guards for your roof. However, the Snojax I is the one that started it all! This cornerstone of the non-metallic snow guard industry was invented by Jack McMullen in 1976.

Jack had been a metal building dealer for the construction industry for many years. He had seen the materials and methods that homeowners and contractors were using to retain snow. At the time, people in snow areas fought rooftop avalanches by attaching small upright strips of wood or metal across the lower part of their roofs. While these attachments often worked, they led to other troubles for home and building owners alike. Wood would soften and rot while inexpensive cast metal guards would often lead to ugly stains on rooftops. Jack began researching better materials to improve snow guard performance and reliability. Polycarbonate had just recently become available, a clear, UV stabilized thermoplastic resin that has high impact strength and excellent resistance to extreme heat and cold. After testing and prototyping with this new material, the Snojax I was born.

The Snojax I is the “original” clear snow guard designed to be mechanically fastened through the roof panel into a structural purlin or support below. Because of the unique straddling design, they fit most brands of mechanically fastened 36” panels with three 12” flats of four 9” flats. Molded mounting holes are provided in the base of this guard for mechanical fastening and eliminate the need for pre-drilling when used with a self-tapping #14 screw. Because of the narrow design of the feet, adhesive mounting is not recommended. Professional independent testing demonstrated that the Snojax I holds 1,800 pounds when attached with #14 screws. All tests were performed simulating realistic snow loading conditions applied to the face of the guard.

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This patented product has stood the test of time and is an aesthetically appealing, low cost solution to the problem of sliding snow and ice on metal roofing. The Snojax I has been a proven and reliable solution for decades and is still popular with our contractors and DIY homeowners alike. The Snojax I remains a staple among the snow guard industry and is still heralded for its high quality and unique styling. This clear guard is still a top seller even after all of these years. We have the originator, Jack McMullen, to thank for that.

Start your project with a FREE Layout at www.SpacingTool.com.

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OUT OF SIGHT SHOULD NOT BE OUT OF MIND (WINTER IS ONLY 7 MONTHS AWAY)

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Snow guards are about the last thing on any consumer’s mind, now that the warmth of spring is upon us. Winter’s snow and ice are being forgotten as hats, gloves, and boots are being replaced with windbreakers and sandals. This winter, however, was a big one and should be remembered. If you are a home or building owner, this is the most important time of the year for you to begin thinking about and researching snow retention while it is still fresh in your mind.

Many of our customers assume that we are busiest during the winter months, but that simply is not true. This is due, almost entirely, to the fact that many of our products cannot be installed during the winter. Now that the temperature is beginning to rise, we are heading into the perfect time for installation of our polycarbonate guards with adhesive.  Surebond SB-190 is the industry standard for snow guard installation and the one that we trust for use with our products. Its tensile strength, long life expectancy, and ease of application make it the preferred adhesive here at SnoBlox. Warm temperatures, however, are critical for this adhesive to function properly. Surebond SB-190 requires approximately 28 days at 50 degrees (Fahrenheit) or above in order to achieve a proper cure. While temps below 50 degrees will not harm the adhesive or guards, it will extend the curing time.

Some of our competitors attempt to discredit polycarbonate snow guards with horror stories of failures. The part that they won’t tell you is that these failures are almost always attributed to not obtaining or following a manufacturer’s project-specific spacing layout. Every roof is different and the slightest change in pitch, panel length, or ground snow load can have a major impact on the performance of your system. Not every roof can get away with a single row of guards (regardless of the method of installation). Most projects require multiple staggered rows up the slope of the roof. The main purpose of a high quality snow guard is to hold snow and ice in place, allowing it to melt and then drain into your gutters. This field-style layout allows the weight of the snow and ice to be equally distributed over the entire roof’s surface. Snow guards that are only installed along a roof’s eave are often tasked with playing goalie to heavy, high-momentum snow and ice packs. These fast sliding avalanches will often disengage snow guards from the roof and can also cause them to break. This is considered improper installation and often results in higher costs for repairs than what may have been saved by initially cutting corners.

When planning your snow retention system, the first step should be to visit www.SpacingTool.com. This free and user-friendly site will walk you through creating a proper layout for your project. Simple step-by-step instructions make this process quick and painless. Your project specific layout can be completed in a matter of minutes. An email will be sent directly to you with a shopping list and a pictorial diagram showing the proper spacing for your roof. Once you have finished and selected the snow guard that you will be installing, you can then order directly from www.SnoBlox.com or give us a call at 1-800-766-5291 to speak with one of our friendly sales staff.

Your snow guard order will be processed and shipped out same or next day. Installation instructions are included with every shipment along with a coupon code for any additional products that may be needed to finish the job.

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You want to spend your time enjoying this weather and cooking with that expensive grill…not worrying about it getting crushed this winter by sliding snow and ice. Act now and get back to enjoying your spring!

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Break Up Dangerous Sliding Snow and Ice With SnowBreaker

 

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Winter Storm Jonas recently blanketed the East coast with historic snow levels, rivaling snowstorms of the recent past. Over 14 states received more than a foot of snow. Mount Mitchell, North Carolina took the crown at 66 inches from the storm — a new record for them, beating the 50 inches they measured during the Blizzard of 1993.  At least 6 locations in the East reported their largest record snowfalls ever as well. Allentown PA, BWI, Harrisburg PA, LaGuardia Airport, JFK Airport, and Newark NJ all beat previous records dating as far back as 1888. Storms like this one can be a harsh reminder of just how critical snow retention is for both new and pre-existing buildings.

Typically, our customers are able to solve their roofs’ snow and ice problems with one of our standard snow guard systems. Whether polycarbonate or stainless steel, the majority of the roofs that we sell products for can accommodate a guard system that equally distributes the load of snow and ice over their entire surface. This allows for the snow and ice to melt in place and drain safely from the roof into the buildings’ gutters and downspouts. There are circumstances, however, when our customers may choose to not keep the snow and ice on their roof for an extended period of time. In these cases, a different product is needed to help the snow and ice safely shed from the roof.SAM_0473

IceBlox Inc. has developed the perfect solution for these situations with our revolutionary product called SnowBreaker. As snow and ice shed from a roof, these cost-effective products minimize the danger by slicing the frozen snow and ice into small pieces.  The forward cutting edge and the tucked-back rear support form a triangular shape that acts like a fin to split up the frozen precipitation.  SnowBreaker’s design allows the snow and ice to slowly shed itself from the panel while the guard slices it into safer, smaller pieces before reaching the roof’s edge.  This can be most beneficial in areas where winter weather conditions can sometimes exceed the roof snow load design.

An added benefit for our customers comes from the ability to install this product using 3 different methods of attachment. Those with standing seam roofing, where mechanical attachment is not an option, can install the SnowBreaker using Surebond SB-190 adhesive. (Keep in mind that installation using this method requires 28 days at approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit to achieve proper curing). Customers with exposed fastener roofing have the choice to use the adhesive method or mechanically with screws. The SnowBreaker’s design includes molded starter points for easy installation using #14 self-tapping fasteners. For customers who do not wish to penetrate their panels, but also cannot meet the temperature requirements for Surebond SB-190, there is still one other method of attachment available.

The SnowBreaker 3M – Peel and Stick, uses pre-attached 3M brand adhesive tape. The cutting edge design reduces significant sheer load so it is an ideal peel and stick solution for year round and/or winter time installation. Customers who purchase the SnowBreaker 3M are provided with adequate sealant for application around the entire perimeter.

The SnowBreaker and SnowBreaker 3M are revolutionizing the industry one building at a time…will yours be next? See our entire line of snow guards here.

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What Is A Snow Load And How Important Is It?

Proper snow guard layouts are vitally important to ensure a successful installation.  Without a professional layout, customers run the risk of under-designing their system and possible system failure.  Spacingtool.com was created to help architects, homeowners and contractors determine proper guard spacing. Project specific dimensions and local “Ground Snow Loads” are calculated along with the testing strength of the various snow guards to produce a proper layout for snow guards.  This free design service also helps you determine the correct guard recommended for the specific project and panel.

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A Thorough Walk-Through Of SpacingTool.com (Part 3)

Welcome to Part 3 (the final part in our series) of our walk-through of SpacingTool.com. In the last step, we had input the dimension information for the projects multiple roof areas. In the next step, you will be asked to input your contact information and some information about the project such as its location and zip code. One question the our customers normally have trouble with is determining their “Ground Snow Load”. This is a unit of measure for snow that is expressed in “PSF”. You can typically call your local building inspector to obtain this information. You can also elect to use an online service, such as the one at www.groundsnowbyzip.com. At this site, you enter your project location and it does the rest. For our test roof we are going to use Nashville, Tennessee as the project location. Nashville has a ground snow load of 10psf.snowload

Now we can enter the info for our project.

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Once completed, click “Calculate”

In the next screen SpacingTool will give you a comparison list of the snow guards that will fit your roof. It will also show the amount of guards and pricing for each style. In our case, however, only one guard will fit this panel. That is the SnoBlox Deuce.

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Click the checkbox next to your selected guard to complete the SpacingTool Layout. The next screen will show your complete layout with pricing information, a shopping list, and the layout for your specific roof areas.

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Be sure to print this out and keep it for your records. Doing so, will entitle you to free lifetime replacement for any guards that crack or break for the life of your roof. Read over your layout thoroughly, prior to ordering / installing the product. If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding the SpacingTool, please call us at 1-800-766-5291 and one of our representatives will be glad to help you. Once you are ready to place your order, you can do so by visiting www.Snoblox.com or by giving us a call.

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Mid-Faced Snow Guards Stops

Snow guards can be found in various shapes and sizes.  There many new start-up companies going into the snow guard business every year that are starting off on the wrong foot with their products shaped like the image on the right.
Mid-faced snow guard designs allow the load to leverage the front of the base up and away from the attachment point.  It only takes a fraction of an inch to allow water to infiltrate underneath the base, freeze, then expand and pop the guard off the roof.

Guards with flat, forward mounted faces tend to have better leverage against heavy, sustained snow loads.  The faces should be perpendicular to the roof panel for maximum holding strength. The image on the left shows the forward-faced snow guard design that we incorporate into all SnoBlox, SnoJax, Icejax and SnowCatcher snow guards.  The horizontal screw holes are located just behind the face and as far forward as possible. As the load presses against the face of our snow guards, the base is leveraged downwards towards the screws or adhesive.

Flat Faced Design -vs- Mid Faced Design

Flat Faced Design -vs- Mid Faced Design

Before marketing our products, we send all of our guards to the ATI professional testing lab in York, PA. Our tests have achieved strength ratings up to 6300 lbs.  Visit www.SpacingTool.com for a free layout and estimate for your project.  Our guards are guaranteed for the life of the roof!

 

 

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