The Pitfalls of Home Made Snow Guards

By Brion P. McMullen, Bio

SnoBlox-Snojax was recently asked by a homeowner to consult on a snow guard failure in Wisconsin.  Unfortunately, when the system failed, it damaged the roof panels so severely that the entire roof is now being evaluated for replacement after just three years.  Our goal is to identify the contributing factors of the failure and to design a proven snow guard system that will last the life of the new roof.

As you can see in the pictures, the contractor used 1.5”aluminum angle to fabricate a makeshift bar system on a 9” r-panel.  The make shift snow bar was pre-drilled and roofing screws were used to mechanically fasten through the major ribs and down into the sub roofing.  The roof has a 6/12 pitch and only one row was used on this 50psf ground snow load project.  The system made it 3 years before failure and possibly ruining the entire metal roof.


Home Made Snow Guards Caused Severe Damage


Make Shift Snow Rail System Hanging

These types of homemade snow retention systems are very common and have a very high failure and roof damage rate.  The strength of this type of Snow Guard system is limited due to the attachment method and deflection strength of the under-designed aluminum bar.  This system also failed to equally distribute the snow load across the roof area while controlling the live load.

Failed Home Made Snow Guard System

Home Made Snow Guard System on The Ground.

Home Made Snow Guard Failure

Failed Home Made Snow Retention System

Solution : Once the customer has his new roof installed or repaired, he will have a couple of options.  The first will be an adhesive or screw mounted SnoBlox-SnoJax polycarbonate system comprised of multiple staggered rows of snow guards designed to equally distribute the snow load across the roof area and control the live load.

His other option will be a properly designed and installed SnoBar or ColorBar system.  We are able to use screw down brackets for r-panels and non-penetrating clamps for standing seam panels.  Each of these options are covered by our lifetime warranty.

We will keep you posted on the new roof and snow guard system replacement in the coming weeks.

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9 thoughts on “The Pitfalls of Home Made Snow Guards

  1. Mariam McBryde

    I constantly emailed this blog post page to all my contacts. Snow guards are very important when factoring safety into a metal roofing system.

  2. Bertie Urquhart

    I was actually just considering making my own snow guards in order to save on costs…but now that I have read this post, it is probably a better idea to leave it to the professionals.

  3. Darnell Krome

    My contractor assured me that his “custom” snow guards would work just fine. Thank God I stumbled on your company….I think it is time for a new contractor. I’m just glad he hasn’t started yet.

  4. Zelma Hadley

    I’m not sure why anyone would want to make their own snow guards. I looks like it is cheaper and easier to leave it up to the experts. I’ll be in touch soon. :)

  5. Carey McCarter

    Our old snow guards looked to be home-made by the previous owner. Most broke off of the roof…now I understand why.

  6. Tarah Knoll

    The snow guards on my home were home made by the previous owner. They look like garbage and that is straight where they are going too. I’ll be in touch.


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