When Strength Really Matters

snow falling on carsIce_dam_slate_roof

Keeping snow and ice from avalanching off a roof requires a system of superior strength.  When strength really does matter to save lives and prevent damage to property, how does a home or business owner know what snow retention product is strong enough?

How does someone decide what product measures up?

How does one decide the best method of installing a safe and reliable roof snow retention system?

If your answer to these questions is, “I can find that out.  I’ll just look it up online under building codes or ask my roofing contractor.” 

Well, good luck.

There are NO codes for roof snow retention!  None.  Nil.  Nada.  (Our owner, Terry Anderson, is serving on a committee right now to finally establish standards.  Watch for updates on this in the future!)  If a contractor starts sitting codes or standards, be wary.  The contractor might have his own standards, and we sure hope they all do, but there are no national or international standards for snow retention.

This makes it very important for owners, architects, engineers, and contractors to take extra care when designing a snow retention system. At TRA Snow & Sun, we seek to offer high-quality snow retention devices ENGINEERED for the unique snow & ice and building conditions relative to each specific project.

Snow retention as a science has emerged as a technological know-how for human safety. The laws of physics have to be used when holding back lots of destructive snow and ice. Annual assets and personal damage from destructive sliding snow and ice is in the millions, however, the price of a human life is incalculable.  If someone dies as a result of no snow retention or faulty snow retention, the liability threat to household owners and business proprietors is astronomical.

By retaining snow on the roof of a building and allowing even snow melt-off, injuries to residents/guests and property below the roof of a building can be avoided, saving money and limiting the possibility of personal loss. By installing snow retention you can:

  • Prevent danger to residents and guests.
  • Prevent costly roof and property damage.
  • Maintain safe access, keeping entrances/walkways free of snow and ice.
  • Promote energy efficiency by retaining snow which is a good insulation blanket.
  • Trust in the best with the highest quality snow retention devices.

How does one avoid the potential pitfalls to a bad snow retention product?

It can get perplexing with several hundreds of different snow guard types and designs to consider from. With a TRA snow retention system, you know you’re safe because we have gone through extensive product testing. Our products are built to last to the fail point of the snow retention system, not just the product. Unlike other plastic type snow guards that turn yellow and fail over time, TRA’s snow retention systems are superior in strength. Our superior snow retention is designed to manage snow migration on any type of roofing is made of stainless steel or brass.

plastic vs TRA



In simple terms, a first-rate snow retention product coupled with a reliable and safe FREE engineered spacing layout will help lessen the legal responsibility related to the unexpected slid of snow and ice from roofs. All requesting clients can receive free engineered layouts within 2 working days for each project’s specific requirements. For a free layout, data sheets, specs & quote contact us at 855-542-1861.


TRA Division 07 7253 Snow Guard Specifications Have Just Been Updated

Spec Logo

TRA Snow and Sun knows how important it is that specifying roof snow retention be as worry free and easy as possible for architects, designers and homeowners. So over the last several months we worked hard with our partners to improve the quality and ease of creating a good, safe, and specific roof snow retention specification.

We are proud to announce that our Division 07 7253 Roof Snow Retention specifications have just been enhanced and updated!

Designers and contractors can now read and download the snow guard specifications using MasterSpec or with SpecLink. They can also contact TRA Snow and Sun via phone or through our contact page at anytime and we will e-mail the new snow guard specifications which can be merged into master specification documents.

With our updated snow guard specifications, designers  have the necessary knowledge base to create the perfect snow retention system for their unique project design. We have made it as easy as ever!

TRA Snow & Sun roof snow retention products provide superior benefits to building designers and contractors because they get a safe SYSTEM, not just a good product. We test and engineer our products based on the components of their specific roof system (snow guard, sheathing, attachment, slope, snow-load, etc.). This dramatically decreases the designer or contractor’s liability!

TRA provides a FREE, no obligation, ENGINEERED LAYOUT within 2 business days – 855-542-1861. Website:

Choose from zinc-plated steel, copper or stainless steel. All steel can be powdered coat to match the roof color. Roof types include metal panel, asphalt & cedar shingles, corrugated metal, flat granule metal, simulated slate, single ply, slate, tile & wood shake.

The Vandelay Project

Snow Retention Case Study – Providing Engineered Snow Retention Solutions for HALF THE COST!

TRA Snow and Sun solves problems!  It’s not just our motto to provide Engineered Solutions.  We really DO IT!

On an addition to a home in Northwest Montana with a high snow load (100 psf); how do you retain snow on a cedar shake roof with a 12/12 pitch, whilst keeping it economical, aesthetically pleasing, and in line with the existing design?

After reviewing their options, Vandelay Construction was ready to order from a competitor, but was concerned about the high cost of the snow retention system, so they did one last internet search of roof snow retention.  They found a project with TRA Snow and Sun snow retention in Bozeman, Montana, liked our product and designs, and contacted us.

Using the information the contractor provided to us, we increased the thickness of the copper from the standard ¼” to 3/8” and designed a 3 rail snow retention system (D3H Deck Mount Snow Fence) specific to the project – cedar shake, 12/12 slope, copper, attaching to 16” OC rafters.  Copper was used to match the decorative end caps on the heavy timbers in the construction of the building.

Not only did the homeowners get a beautiful, warrantied system, but OUR SYSTEM WAS HALF THE COST OF OUR COMPETITORS.

We love the result.  See for yourself.



At TRA, we provide Engineered Solutions to all kinds of problems.  Let us help you with your snow retention needs!

Should Your Building Have Snow Retention Devices?

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


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!).

Snow Retention Systems for a Metal Roof

Installing a snow retention system on your next metal roof can provide protection for the building owner and extra income, credibility and market share for you.

As the winter build-up of snow and ice begins to thaw, and even in the dead of winter in some places, building owners run the risk of a heavy avalanche of snow or ice falling on property or people as it slides off the roof.  You can see “Caution: Sliding Snow and Ice” signs in front of some buildings every year and probably witnessed a YouTube video of this happening.  Deaths and injury occur every year when people are hit by the heavy ice and snow build-up.Sliding Snow on a Metal Roof

Anticipating and addressing this liability with your customer can provide them with valuable protection from the risk of snow and ice damaging property or even killing a person and could establish you as the contractor that goes the extra mile for his customer.  It’s not a time consuming or expensive add-on when you follow some simple guidelines and understand the issues involved.

Metal roofs have different properties from other roofs when it comes to sliding snow and ice; namely, metal roofs shed it quickly with little warning!  This is partly due to the lack of friction provided by metal as well as its conductive properties.

There are several “Don’ts” when it comes to putting any type of snow retention on a metal roof:

  • Be wary of gluing snow guards on the roof.  Adhesive-attached snow retention must be installed on perfectly clean surfaces and at certain temperatures.  Even when applying them correctly, glued-on snow retention devices they are vulnerable to release during freeze/thaw cycles.  Mechanically fastened snow fences are a better and less labor-intensive method
  • Do not use dissimilar metals.  If your roof is steel, use steel snow retention.  Don’t put copper or aluminum on a steel roof and vice versa.  By mixing the metals, you risk galvanic action (corrosion).
  • Never penetrate the roof system!  This will void the manufacturer’s warranty on the metal roof.
  • Do not assume that you can place one or two rows of snow retention near the eave of the roof.  This is a common mistake and can result in snow fence failure due to using a system that was not engineered.  When the snow releases on this type of amateur design, it can take penetrations, gutters and the snow retention devices off the roof.  Sometimes whole panels slide off.  Various factors must be considered when safely laying out your snow retention


There are some basic “Do’s” to a good snow retention system on a metal roof:

  • Use systems that clamp on seams.   Besides maintaining the manufacturer’s warranty by not penetrating the roof system, clamps with 3-4 ” of contact with the rib will provide more security for the snow fence system
  • Clamps should attach under the hem on the seam.  This prevents twisting and detachment when the snow fence is under pressure from the weight of snow and ice.
  • Part of the clamp should sit on the base of the metal panel.  This helps keep the clamp and rib stable and upright, preventing the rib from bending sideways.

Single and Double Rail Clamp On Snow Fence, Nita Lake Lodge, Whistler Canada 2011 16

The Importance of an Engineered Layout

Snowload -Either listed on the plans or obtained from the local building department.Engineering the snow retention system is of paramount importance to protect the roof system, the owner and you.  Don’t be afraid of the word “engineering!”  Some reputable roof snow retention companies provide this free.  All it takes is gathering a few facts:

  • Roof Slope – Obviously a 12/12 sloped roof will need a different layout than a 4/12 but the actual layout should never be left to guesswork.
  • Rib Type – Different clamps are designed to work with different rib types.
  • Rib Spacing – Rib spacing affects the number of clamps needed.  The strength of the snow fence depends on how far apart the clamps are spaced
  • Method of Panel Attachment – If a panel is attached with a clip which does not stop vertical movement, the snowload can cause the panel to fall off the roof.  Knowing how the panel is attached will affect what type of snow retention to use.
  • Eave to Ridge Length – This affects how much snow that area will be supporting which will determine the number of snow fences needed up the span from eave to ridge.


Correctly installed snow retention is a good idea for the owner because it protects property and people from significant damage or even death.  By adhering to a few simple Do’s and Don’ts and using an engineered layout, it could also be a significant way to enhance your business.

Terry Anderson has been in the roof consulting and roof accessory business for over 30 years.  He is a Registered Roof Consultant, member of TRI and co-author of Concrete and Clay Tile Roof Design Criteria Manual for Cold and Snow Regions and the owner of several roof accessory patents including the original Snow Bracket and Ridge Riser®.  His company, TRA Snow and Sun, Inc. manufactures snow retention devices for all types of roofs, solar mounting systems, and flexible ventilation and flashing products.

Published: Metal Construction News April 2014

TRA Snow and Sun Announces New Cost-Saving Deck Mount Snow Fences

TRA Snow and Sun, Inc., is now offering new Deck Mount Snow Fence designs that will save the end user money.

TRA Snow and Sun, Inc., well known for their Snow Bracket snow guards and engineered snow retention system, has developed new lower cost deck mount snow fence called the Mount Shasta and Diamond Mount.

Terry Anderson, President, explains why the company, which also offers individual snow guards and other snow fences, decided to expand their product line.  “Our other snow fences have been very successful but we wanted to provide a less expensive option.  The Mount Shasta Deck Mount fits this need while still providing superior protection from sliding snow and ice.”

snow fence, snow retention, heavy duty snow fences, snow rails

The new deck mount system is designed for installation on most stick framed roof types and works with 3/4” X 3/4” square fence pipe (Diamond Mount style) or 1” (1.315”OD) fence pipe (Mount Shasta style).  Customers can choose from one or two rail designs.

The engineers at TRA Snow and Sun always take the snow load, slope of the roof and roof type into account when calculating how many snow fences are needed and how far apart they are placed on the roof.   The heavier gauge, larger snow fence mounts as well as this new mount are considered for each job.

All three factors determine which snow fence system is recommended.  If, for instance, a roof calculates out to require 1.2 fences from eave to ridge using TRA’s original deck mount snow fences, then two fences are specified because you cannot disregard the need for the .2 of a fence that would hold back snow.  If the new Mount Shasta deck mount snow fence calculates out to 1.8 fences from eave to ridge, that would also mean two snow fences, but the new snow fence clamp is less costly, still ensuring a safe system with less expense to the customer.

The Mount Shasta and Diamond Mount Deck Mount Snow Fences are available in steel, copper and Cor-Ten®, with finishes in raw steel, electro-galvanized steel, hot-dipped galvanized steel, mill finish copper, mill finish Cor-Ten®.  Powder coating is available. These snow fences are used on: asphalt shingle, cedar shingles, flat seam metal, granule metal, metal panel, slate simulated slate, tile roofs and woods shakes.

TRA Snow and Sun, Inc., located in American Fork, Utah, offers Roof Snow Retention Devices, Solar Mounting Systems and Roof Flashing Solutions. They supply to all types of customers, from the individual homeowner to the big developer and offer free engineered designs of all their systems. For more information call Jacob Anderson at TRA Snow and Sun at 800-606-8980 or visit

Download PDF

Why Keep Snow on Your Roof?

Common roof architecture of homes in snow regions typically something look like the traditional A-frame or at the least has very steep angles and sides.  This is due to the mistaken belief that steep roofs are best because you want to shed snow off the roof, thereby making the entire home safer and less at risk to snow or water damage.

But the truth is far different!  At TRA Snow and Sun, we have a fundamentally different belief from the traditional view in that we KNOW that keeping the snow on the roof is far safer for both the home and those who live in the home.Snow Retention 1

The process of keeping snow on the roof of a home is called snow retention.  Snow retention can offer a wide range of advantages to a home owner, including the following:

  • Accumulated snow on the roof serves to further insulate the home, cutting costs on heating and protecting the home from periods of bitter cold.
  • Keeping the snow on the roof means less damage to the roof itself.  When snow and ice move down a roof and eventually fall from it, the damage to the roof can be severe.  One needs only to think of the effect of glaciers on mountains to understand the destructive power that moving rivers of snow and ice can have.
  • When snow does fall from the roof, it can be extremely dangerous to persons below.
  • Snow retention allows for an even snow melt off during the spring.

The Perfect Time to Install Snow Retention Devices

Snow sitting on top of a roof can be volatile and dangerous. Like an avalanche, you can never be quite sure when it will all come crashing down. In several cases, adults and children alike have been unlucky enough to be underneath the heavy avalanche of falling snow. Many don’t survive, and those that do are often injured by the icy nature of the snow.

The snow has been through several melting-freezing cycles by the time it comes tumbling off your house. It’s no longer the light, fluffy stuff it was when it first fell. It’s dangerous.

If you live in a home that tends to accumulate a lot of snow up top, you have two options. You can either brush it all off or set up a few snow retention devices.bracket 1

Brushing the snow often requires a dangerous adventure to the slippery, slopped roof. Many folks have found this situation to be similarly precarious to standing under an avalanche of falling snow. When done properly, it can protect those that may venture under the eaves of your house. But there is a safer way, and now would be the best time to implement that way on your roof.

Snow Retention Devices

Snow retention devices are pieces of technology you install on your roof to hold the snow there.  With a roof snow retention system, snow and ice drop off in small, harmless quantities or melt completely before falling to the ground, thereby stopping a disaster before it even happens.

They are more commonly installed during the summer and fall months while roofs are dry and safe to ascend to. The best thing is that once they’re installed, you don’t have to get on the roof again during those slippery months to push the snow off. The devices have the same effect without endangering your life.

There are a number of different kinds of snow retention devices you can put on your roof. They come as clips, brackets, rails and fences. Each helps out in a different way and should be chosen according to your individual project circumstances. For a full list of what we offer, check out our snow retention product line.

New Utah Scheels Store Boasts Striking Design and Snow Rail Safety System

June 6, 2012

The 24th Scheels All Sports store, located in a prime location along I-15 in Sandy, Utah, at 4500′ elevation, shows off striking roof design and TRA-Mage’s snow rails.

snow retention, scheels Utah

Scheels Utah

From the flagship Scheels store in Fargo, North Dakota to the nearly completed Sandy, Utah store, this 110 year old company, is known for some unique attractions inside like ferris wheels and aquariums, along with the hundreds of sporting goods products.  However, what drivers on Interstate 15 notice about the newest store are the attractive architectural features – the three story glass entrance, expanses of skylights, and a pitched tile roof with copper and stainless steel snow rails and Snow Brackets™ to hold back the snow that falls each winter.

Lead Architect, Vern Cleveland of architectural firm R L Engebretson, explains why he chose the pitched roof design and the snow retention accessories when flat roofs are the norm for buildings of this size (220,000 square feet).  “We chose the high pitched section of tile roof because we wanted a design that would set the building off and make it enticing to visit.  Scheels is in this to stay in business for a long, long time so we chose building products that are long-lasting, attractive and safe.   We specified snow retention products at the entrances under these pitched areas so that our customers would not be hit by falling snow and ice.”

Southam and Associates, the Roofing Contractor, of American Fork, Utah, suggested using copper Snow Brackets™ and stainless steel snow rails from TRA-Mage, also of American Fork.  The shiny, long-lasting stainless steel snow fence and copper Snow Brackets™, which will patina over time, fit in with the crisp and durable feel of the three story edifice and provide the necessary protection from ice and snow sliding off the pitched entrance.

snow retention, snow rails

Snow Retention Products at the Entrance

TRA-Mage’s Regional Sales Manager, Jacob Anderson, says, “The contractor recommended our snow fence because it does not require any special flashing and no replacement or removal of the tiles.  They also liked our particular Snow Bracket™ because it extended all the way down to the headlap of the roof tile.  We worked closely with Southam and Associates and Vern Cleveland to engineer and design a system they were happy with.”

The result is the newest addition to the Scheels All Sports family of stores.  It’s a striking building that customers will be excited to visit in September 2012 and safe to enter and exit even during the cold snowy months.

snow rails

Southam and Associates installing snow rails

Southam and Associates Architectural Sheet Metal is a family owned and operated company located near Salt Lake City, UT that has been in business over 30 years. Our main focus is staying ahead of the architectural sheet metal market place, incorporating new ideas, materials and panel systems to satisfy the most demanding architects and owners alike. For more information call Patrick McClellan at Southam and Associates at 801-796-1600 or visit

TRA-Mage, Inc., located in American Fork, Utah, offers Roof Snow Retention Devices, Solar Mounting Systems and Roof Flashing Solutions. They provide all customers, from the individual homeowner to the big developer, free engineered designs of all their systems. For more information call Jacob Anderson at TRA-Mage at 800-606-8980 or visit

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