Should Your Building Have Snow Retention Devices?

The Tell-Tale Signs in Spring That You Should Install Snow Retention

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The winter is slowly fading into Spring, but as the snow and ice melts off your roof, there might be some signs that you need snow retention:

Are you noticing large pieces coming off in big chunks?

Do you hear it slipping? (This can be pretty loud and frightening when it happens unexpectedly!)

Are pieces of your gutter coming off due to ice tearing it off as it slipped off your roof?

Are there high spots of snow and ice piled at the eave line on the ground? This might mean that snow or ice has come off that place during the winter.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, continue reading.

People die due to snow and ice sliding off roofs. This is extremely tragic and often avoidable. Use roof snow retention for these reasons:

  1.  Damage/Injury – People and property can be struck by snow and ice falling from the roof. Property damage and injuries, even deaths can occur when snow is not properly retained on a roof.
  2.  Limited Access – Entrances to buildings can be blocked by snow and ice that falls from a roof.
  3.  Roof Damage – When snow and ice masses slide off a roof, costly damage occurs.

Damage from Slidding Snow & Ice

It is especially important to install snow retention above:

  • entryways
  • walkways
  • gathering spots
  • parking lots
  • drive-through areas
  • expensive landscaping
  • ground mounted mechanical
  • roof protrusions such as plumbing vents

Can Your Building Support the Weight of Snow Retention?

You might wonder if your roof can support the weight of snow and ice staying on the roof. If your home is less than 40 years old, the answer is probably yes.

During the 1970-80’s, most states adopted building codes that required structures to support the weight of the building materials (dead load) and the weight of the snow, ice, water, people, etc. (live load). By the year 2000, international building codes were universally adopted with similar standards. So, if the structure was built post 1975, you are unlikely to have any structural problems when keeping snow on the roof (it also helps insulate your roof, saving heating costs!).