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Overlooked Considerations For Installing Snow Retention

Signs of damage from snow and ice slides can be seen at this building's eave, while a warning sign posted on the building advises others to stay clear.

By James Carpenter, VP of Operations, Sno Gem Inc.

Installing snow retention systems is about one thing: simply to save your customer money. Sliding ice and snow can become the cause of expensive damage.

If you’re installing a roof that can allow for the snow and ice to slide off, you owe it to your customer to present them with a snow retention solution. You want to be the expert, offering the best solution for any potential problems.

Trouble looms at the eaves of this commercial building as ice buildup at the edge of the roof threatens anything below.

When considering the installation of snow retention products, the important thing is to recognize everything that’s subject to the dangers of sliding and falling ice and snow. Any oversight can prove costly, both physically and financially.

It’s easy to spot some of the dangerous situations caused by ice and snow sliding off a roof. Sidewalks and parking lots located directly below the eaves, anywhere pedestrians may be, should be areas of immediate concern.

When ice and snow slide off a roof, it doesn’t care what’s below. Pedestrians can be injured, vehicles can be damaged and it can cost the building owner a lot of money. Take it upon yourself to educate your customers about the possible dangers caused by falling snow and ice. While some dangerous situations are easy to explain, your knowledge can prove very beneficial to you as well as your customer.

And always make sure you partner with a reputable snow retention manufacturer that can offer a variety of products and the correct layout for a specific roof.

On the ground
Homeowners and business owners take pride in the appearance of their homes and businesses. They may invest in landscaping, including plants around the perimeter of the building … directly in the path of snow sliding off the roof. Ice and snow coming off a roof can damage or, in extreme cases, kill these plants. The time and expense to replace those damaged plants in the spring adds up quickly.

Roofs with long runs can shed a lot of snow, snow that piles up next to the building. Piles can get high enough that the snow slides down the pile and into the building, possibly covering up any vents coming out of the walls or basement windows. When that snow starts melting, that excessive water can cause damage to the building and its foundation.

On the roof
It’s important to keep in mind that sliding snow and ice can be dangerous and damaging long before it gets to the eaves. You need to take a look up on the roof to determine if any penetrations on the roof are vulnerable to sliding ice and snow.

Vent stacks are a favorite target of sliding snow. They can be bent over or even sheared off at the roofline. If a vent stack is closer to the eaves, it’s more susceptible to damage from sliding snow and ice because there is more snow piled up behind it.

Any roof penetration, including vent stacks, skylights and chimneys, can all be damaged by sliding snow and ice.

Gutters can become a catch-all when it comes to sliding snow and ice. They can be torn off, causing extensive damage to the building fascia as well as the gutters themselves. Keep in mind, the greater the slope, the faster the snow and ice can move. Also, the longer the run, the more snow and ice sits on the roof.

One area of the roof that often gets overlooked as a possible problem for sliding snow and ice is any valley. Sliding snow and ice can damage the valley detail as well as the roofing panel on the other side of the valley. Heavy snow sliding into a perpendicular standing seam roofing panel can bend, flatten or even tear apart the standing seam.

When it comes to the need for snow retention, make sure nothing is overlooked. You are being counted on for your knowledge when you install a roofing system and any snow retention system.

About Sno Gem Inc.

Snogem_Logo_Supplier_DirectorySno Gem is a manufacturer/developer of snow retention systems for metal roofs, and also produces clamps to facilitate the attachment of various products to the metal roof surface. To learn more, visit www.snogem.com.

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