In regions where snowfall is a regular occurrence, the installation of snow guards on metal roofs is not just a recommendation; it’s a necessity. The sleek surface of painted metal roofs, especially those treated with kynar paint systems, closely resembles Teflon in its ability to let snow and ice slide off unpredictably. This phenomenon can lead to dangerous situations, causing potential harm to people and property below. This comprehensive guide delves into the importance of snow guards, their types, and the considerations for selecting and installing the right system for your metal roof.

Understanding the Need for Snow Guards

Snow guards are designed to prevent the sudden release of snow and ice from metal roofs, a common issue that can result in damage to landscaping, vehicles, and even pose a risk to pedestrian safety. By retaining the snow on the roof, these devices allow it to melt gradually and drain off in a controlled manner, mitigating the risk of ‘roof avalanches’ that can occur on slick metal surfaces.

The Risks of Snow Slides

Injury to Pedestrians: Walkways and entrances below the roofline are particularly vulnerable to snow slides, posing a significant risk to individuals below.

Damage to Property: Sudden discharges of snow can destroy landscaping, damage vehicles, and even affect the structural integrity of lower sections of the building.

Types of Snow Guard Systems

Snow guard systems fall into two primary categories, each with its own set of advantages and considerations:

Individual Snow Blocks

These are typically made from plastic or metal and are installed in the flat areas between the ribs of metal roof panels. Their primary function is to disrupt the smooth surface of the roof, effectively trapping snow in place.

Pros: Easy to install on existing roofs; a variety of designs available.

Cons: Potential for adhesive failure; mechanical fasteners can compromise the roof’s waterproofing integrity.

Continuous Rail Systems

Consisting of metal bars or rods that span the width of the roof, these systems are attached to the tops of the panel ribs using non-penetrating clamps. They are designed to catch and hold back large volumes of snow and ice.

Pros: High durability and capable of handling significant snow loads.

Cons: More complex installation; may require structural reinforcement in areas with heavy snowfall.

Selecting the Right Snow Guard System

When choosing a snow guard system for your metal roof, consider the following factors:

Roof Size and Slope: Larger roofs with steeper slopes will require more robust snow guard systems to effectively manage snow retention.

Local Snow Load Requirements: Ensure that the chosen system can withstand the typical snow loads experienced in your area.

Aesthetic Preferences: Snow guards come in various styles and colors, allowing for a degree of customization to complement your building’s design.

Installation Implications: Opt for systems that do not compromise the roof’s integrity or warranty. Continuous rail systems are generally recommended over individual snow blocks due to their durability and minimal impact on the roof structure.

Installation Considerations

Proper installation is crucial for the effectiveness and longevity of snow guard systems. It’s recommended to work with experienced professionals who can accurately assess your roof’s needs and ensure that the system is installed correctly. Factors such as panel type, roof pitch, and the specific layout of your roof will influence the placement and quantity of snow guards required.


Snow guards are an essential component of metal roofing systems in snowy regions, providing critical protection against the hazards of snow slides. By understanding the types of snow guards available and the factors involved in selecting and installing the right system, property owners can ensure the safety of individuals and property below while extending the lifespan of their metal roof. Partnering with a reputable roofing contractor, such as Rhino Roofing LLC, guarantees that your snow guard system is installed with expertise, offering peace of mind through the winter months.