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Snow guard mounting approaches: five approaches to mounting snow retention systems on roofs or using snow-retention coatings, brakes, clamps, and similar devices are described here. Detailed procedures for clamping or gluing snow guards to roofs are in companion articles listed here as well.
This article series illustrates types of snow guards or snow brakes or other snow retention devices used on metal, rubber, asphalt, and slate roofs and we explain and illustrate in photographs just how and where these devices are attached to building roofs. We give the reasons for snow & ice retainer use and their history.
5 Snow Retention System or Snow Guard Installation Mounting Methods
Individual snow guard mounting methods vary depending on the roof covering material.
All snow retention systems use one of these methods to provide snow and ice retention for building roofs.
[Click to enlarge any image]
Our photo (left) illustrates structurally-mounted snow brakes or rails on a tile roof covering the Oslo Folk Museum.
As Norway experiences heavy snow fall, you will observe that the snow brakes are installed in two tiers and a close examination shows that the rail brackets are secured to the roof structure below.
Structurally-connected snow retainer mounts: A snow retention device or its mounting bracket is fastened through the roof surface to the underlying roof sheathing or framing structure. For steel roofs the retainer mount may be welded to the roof surface.
For slate, tile, or shingle roofs, the leak risk of this approach can be minimal as the fasteners can be covered by subsequent courses of roofing material. For metal roofs we prefer not to puncture the metal roof surface.
Structurally-connected snow & ice guard system mounts should be used where the loads (weight) of snow and ice are very great such as on large roofs or in deep-snow areas, or where the snow rail is itself large and heavy.
Watch out: depending on the total loads imposed by snow and ice on a roof, failures are still possible with structurally connected snow retainer systems if the screws, bolts, or their connection points are not adequately designed & installed on the roof.
Clamp-on snow retainer mounts: for standing seam metal roofs, various patented clamps secure to the raised rib portion of the standing seam and in turn provide a base for mounting snow shoes, snow guards, or snow rails or fences.
The clamp mounting method for mounting snow guards & fences is also quite strong and has the advantage of avoiding penetrations of the roof surface. Of course clamps mount on standing seams of metal roofs, not other roof surface shapes.
However the weight of snow and ice trying to slide down the roof - the load - is carried by the roof covering, and is transferred to the roof structure only by the metal roof mounting clamps beneath the roof surface.
Watch out: metal roof manufacturers warn that because snow guards mounted on the standing seam of a metal roof transfer load to the metal roof covering, good roof installation will be sure during roof installation to locate metal roof mounting clamps at a location and spacing to be sure that the metal roof is well-secured to the roof deck below areas where a snow retention system may be mounted. Otherwise loads on the roof can bend or damage the metal roofing.
Adhesive-bonded snow retainer mounts: a snow guard or supporting mount for a more extensive snow retainer system is glued to the surface of a metal, glass, or plastic roof surface.
Watch out: Most snow retention system failures occur with glued-on snow guards that were not properly bonded to the roof surface.
Depending on the care of installation and other factors, some contractors report having difficulty keeping glued mounts in place, observing them sliding down the roof before the glue has cured or dislodging from the roof surface entirely later-on.
Note that most snow retention system product manufacturers warrant their system if it is installed according to their specifications.
The glue-on snow guard photos below show glued-on snow guards on a glass roof at a bank drive-through structure in Rhinebeck, NY in both summer (left) and winter (right). Installing snow guards over walkways or as in this case drive-through openings can reduce the chances of falling snow-and-ice-related injury to passers-by.
However we also photographed this same roof on a subsequent winter during which the bottom course of glue-on snow guards were pushed off of the glass roof surface by heavy snow loads.
Clip-on Snow Retainer Systems: Atas and others offer clips that mount to the horizontal rail of a snow or ice retaining fence or rail, providing an additional degree of snow and ice retention on roofs. On a metal roof one or at most two clips are mounted in the space between the standing seams. 
Snow-retention coating: for metal roofs, SnowGrip offers a patented abrasive-based snow-retention coating for metal roofing. The entire roof surface is coated with an abrasive material.
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 Precision Snow-Guards, AceClamp®, Standing Seam Metal Roof Supplies, Precision Snow-guards™ - c/o PMC Industries, Inc.
87 Spring Lane, Plainville, CT 06062
Tel: (860) 229-SNOW (7669) provides clear or colored plastic snow guards for metal and rubber roofs, available in "King" and "Queen" sizes. Tel: (860) 229-SNOW (7669). Website: http://www.snow-guards.com/snowguards.php
 S-5!® Snow Retention Systems, S-5! Attachment Solutions,
Metal Roof Innovations, LTD.
8655 Table Butte Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80908
(888) 825-3432, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: http://www.s-5.com/snow/
The company's products include milled solid block aluminum snow rail mounting clamps of varying shapes & designs. We are evaluating the S-5! clamps provided by this company. These clamps attach to the standing seams on a metal roof and in turn are used to attach a snow rail or snow fence. The company also provides solar panel hold-downs for metal roofs.- Ed.
 SnoBar™, Tel: 800-711-9724, Website: http://www.snobar.com/index.html The company's products include a patented one-piece roof clamp bracket & other brackets for attaching bars used as snow rails or snow fences. No street address was provided.
 Alpine SnowGuards®
289 Harrel Street
Morrisville, VT 05661 Tel: 888-766-9994, Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.alpinesnowguards.com/ [No direct retail sales]
 ATAS Snow Retention Products, ATAS Headquarters
Allentown, Pennsylvania 18106
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: http://www.atas.com/Company/Contact.aspx
 Pacific Sheet Metal,
Aspen Office & Shop,
401 Aspen Airport Business Center Aspen, Colorado 81611, Email: email@example.com, Tel: 970.925.2454. The company provides a line of very sturdy snow rails or fences that mount to the seams of a metal roof.
 Gough Snow Guards, Brookfield IL, Tel: 708-485-6272, Website: http://www.snoguard.com/ The company's products include copper snow guards installed on slate roofs and tile roofs, as well as standing seam metal roof snow retention systems.
 AMSI Supply 4333 Lynwood Ct, Douglasville, GA 30134, metal roofing components, Tel: 800-943-9771
 SnowGrip, 126 Woodward Ave.,
Iron Mountain, MI 49801, Tel: 06-396-7000, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.snowgripit.com/
 Eric Galow, Galow Homes, Lagrangeville, NY. Mr. Galow can be reached by email: email@example.com or by telephone: 914-474-6613. Mr. Galow specializes in residential construction including both new homes and repairs, renovations, and additions.
 "From Asbestos to Zinc, Gutters", Technical Preservation Services, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, web search 9./29.10, original source:
 Terry Anderson, "Snow Retention - the Invisible Code", web search 7/13/12, original source: http://snow.tra-mage.com/news-articles/snow-retention-the-invisible-code.html [copy on file as: Anderson Dec 2011 Interface.pdf ]
Roofing The Right Way, Steven Bolt, McGraw-Hill Professional; 3rd Ed (1996), ISBN-10: 0070066507, ISBN-13: 978-0070066502
Slate Roofs, National Slate Association, 1926, reprinted 1977
by Vermont Structural Slate Co., Inc., Fair Haven, VT 05743, 802-265-4933/34. (We recommend this book if you can find it. It
has gone in and out of print on occasion.)
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones
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