Plastic Snow Guards for Metal Roofs - Small Profile

When and why you should use plastic snow guards on metal roofs

Alpine Snowguards PD30

One of the most popular profiles of snow guard is the small profile plastic version such as the Polar Blox Little Bear or the Alpine Snowguards PD30

These products can be found at virtually any home improvement store or warehouse and many top snow guard manufacturers have it in their line-up. We define a small profile snow guard as any with a pad face area of approximately 5 square inches or less.

There are a few advantages for using this snow guard on your metal roof. 

The small profile plastic snow guard is exceptionally inexpensive and therefore the go-to option for the budget minded homeowner. They come in a clear or colored plastic which makes it harder to detect on the roof when the color is matched. Another benefit is that installation can be as simple as adhering them with a high-quality tape or sealant. 

Many however, include holes so they can also be mechanically attached to the roof in greater snow load or steeper pitched scenarios. They are very useful in many low snow load (a few inches or less a year) and/or very low pitched roof (2/12 or less) situations.

Shapes and sizes of the smaller profile plastic guards vary greatly from manufacturers. You will have everything from a simple trapezoidal shape like those seen on the SnoGem Original Mini 1.5” wide , to a larger “face” such as the Levi’s Building Components Snow Defender PC240

All of these designs function essentially the same, the most important aspect in regard to design of your system is to install the recommended number of snow guards and specific pattern recommended by the manufacturer for the particular load requirements of that snow guard design on your project.

SnoGem Polycarbonate 1.5 Junior Snow Guard

We have discussed the advantages to the smaller profile plastic snow guard but as with any product, there are certain disadvantages as well. 

The main issue we have seen with the use of plastic snow guards occurs when the snow guards are simply adhered to the roof. This is an excellent option, in theory. But in reality, this installation method will only work in certain low snow load and lower pitched situations. The adhesive must also be applied at the right temperature (roof and outdoor) and allowed to cure before moisture gets to it which can be a challenge in many locations. 

Glue and tape are a much weaker connection point than mechanically fastening with screws into the roof deck. Another disadvantage to the plastic snow guard is the fact that the clear snow guards tend to yellow over time, even with UV stabilizers.  

Small profile plastic snow guards are an excellent overall option when utilized in the right conditions. The best way to ensure that these are a good option for your metal roof is to consult a roofing professional or snow guard manufacturer who can help with design and guarantee the layout and quality of the product. 

We recommend contacting our office for any further assistance and any questions you may have regarding your snow retention project at 720-376-7756.

Levi's Building Snow Defender PC240

Polar Blox Little Bear Mini Snow Guard

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