Installing the first snow guard (C) Daniel FriedmanGlue-On Roof Snow Guards
How to install adhesive snow guards on smooth-surfaced roofs

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Glue-on roof snow brakes & snow guards: this article describes the steps in a successful glue-on type snow brake system for smooth surfaced roofing, using a metal roof as an example. Adhesive-bonded snow brakes are used on a variety of smooth surfaced roofs besides metal, including glass, plastic, and some other roof covering materials. We explain why some glue-on roof snow guards fail - being pushed off of the roof by snow loads, and we describe how to make sure the glue-on snow guards will work on your roof.

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.

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How to Install Glue-Down Snow Guards on a Metal, Glass, or other Smooth-Surfaced Roof

Snow guards at work on a metal roof, Vassar College (C) 2013 Daniel Friedman

We agree with opinions encountered among roofers that it's better to glue snow guards to a metal roof (or use device that clamp to the standing seam) for two reasons:

  1. Leaks: Even though some snow guards are sold with pre-drilled holes for mechanical fastening of the retaining device to the roof surface, every nail or screw is another hole in the roof, and another potential leak.
  2. Thermal damage: Mechanically bonding a flat-bottomed snow guard to a metal roof may result in roof damage, tearing, leaks, connector hole elongation during wide temperature swings on the roof.

    Thermal expansion differences between the snow guard itself and the metal roof surface may be substantial. Superbond's SB-190, in contrast, can tolerate significant thermal change without damage.

Steps in Gluing Snow Guards to a Roof Surface

Plastic snow guard from Gerber (C) Daniel Friedman

Because of the problem of poor adhesion of the snow guard to the roof that later come loose or creep down the metal roof, manufacturers offer tips for a successful installation including:

SureBond SB-190 Everseal adhesive sealant recommended by our snow guard manufacturer (C) Daniel Friedman Clean snow guards before gluing them to the roof surface (C) Daniel Friedman

Installing the first snow guard (C) Daniel Friedman

Eric Galow, Galow Homes, Poughkeepsie NY, prepping the roof surface for snow guard installation (C) Daniiel Friedman Eric Galow

Above Eric is using alcohol to clean the area where the snow guard will be bonded to the roof. We worked as a team, one man cleaning and marking, the other gluing, pressing, and taping each snow guard in place.

Watch out: Some other solvents such as acetone are not recommended as they will dissolve paint or other coloration on the roof, while other recommended solvents such as xylene may work well but can be highly toxic and thus more dangerous to handle.

We used simple denatured alcohol to clean the metal roof surface as well as the surface of plastic glue-on snow guards.

Berger snow guard glued in place on a low slope standing seam metal roof (C) Daniel Friedman Eric Galow

Berger snow guards taped in place on a metal roof (C) Daniel Friedman Eric Galow Poughkeepsie NY 2014


Plastic snow guards showing adhesive runout (C) Daniel Friedman Eric Galow

Plastic snow guards on standing seam metal roof - temporary tape removed (C) Daniel Friedman

Watch out: What happens if you defer installing snow guards on a roof where they're needed? Take a look at SNOW GUARD FAILURES and at PLUMBING VENT REPAIR and you can see both damage and how that damage was later repaired.

Snow Guard & Snow Brake Articles


Continue reading at SNOW GUARD SPACING & PATTERN or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.


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