Understanding Snow Guards for Metal Roofs

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Your metal roof might look sleek and stylish, but it should also be incredibly practical to protect the building structure. There are many components to consider when embarking on a roofing project — all of which are crucial to the longevity, safety, and quality of the finished product. Roofs must be built to withstand years of use and harsh elements like heat, rain, and of course, snow.

Outfitting your metal roof with snow guards can ensure that the heavy winter snows don't cause damage to your property or endanger anyone using the space underneath.

Snow retention systems, or snow guards, have been used throughout history to manage snow and ice buildup while allowing it to melt slowly off of the roof. Learn more about why snow guards are an important feature of metal roofs and the different types of snow guards available.

Why are Snow Guards necessary?

You may have heard of snow guards, but you may not be sure how they benefit metal roofing. Snow guards are a simple product designed to provide extra protection from the weight of accumulated snow and ice on a home or commercial building’s metal roof.

Not only do these products help alleviate some stress associated with potential performance issues caused by excessive snow loads, but they also play an essential role in preventing dangerous avalanche-style slides that can occur when built-up layers of ice melt and release all at once.

Every location that receives even the tiniest bit of snow each year needs snow guards installed on both residential and commercial roofs.

Snow retention and snow guards are necessary to protect the roof itself by reducing the amount of precipitation accumulation on lower-level roofs. This limits the snow’s impact on the structure and also helps to diminish the pressure high amounts of snow can cause, thus protecting you or your client’s investment.

Snow guards also help to prevent other damages, as snow that’s trapped on a roof can quickly create a hazard for the ground below, both in terms of landscaping and bodily injury. Snow guards on metal roofs also prevent what’s known as a “roof avalanche,” which is when a large volume of snow falls from the roof above to the ground below.

Snow Guards and Liability Protection

Snow guards are not only important for preventing snow and ice buildup on roofs, but they are also crucial in terms of legal and liability issues. Without them, property owners could face serious consequences.

One of the biggest risks of ignoring the need for snow guards is the potential for personal injury or property damage. Falling snow and ice can be extremely dangerous, and without proper protection, people could be seriously injured.

In addition, property damage is also a risk as snow and ice can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage to roofs, gutters, and other areas of a building. To avoid these risks and potential damages, it is important to ensure that proper snow guards are installed and maintained on all roofs.

Snow Guard Attachment Methods

When it comes to attaching the snow guard to your metal roof, you’ll want to choose the equipment you can trust. Some systems utilize adhesive or sealant to attach the guards to the roof, while others use mechanical fasteners.

One particularly reliable option is the S-5! system, which uses clamps to attach the guards directly to the seams of metal roofs.

S-5! offers some of the most reliable snow retention systems on the market. Not only is this method known for its durability, but it also allows for easy installation and maintenance.

Perhaps most importantly, S-5! offers comprehensive warranties to ensure that their customers can have peace of mind knowing their snow guards will stand up to the elements. When choosing a snow guard attachment system, it's important to prioritize reliability and trustworthiness to protect both your roof and the people below.

Types of Snow Guards
When it comes to snow guard construction, the choice of materials is critical in ensuring durability and reliability. Stainless steel, brass, and extruded aluminum are commonly used materials in snow guard construction that are known for their longevity and strength. These materials offer the ideal balance of toughness, corrosion resistance, and aesthetic appeal that make them suitable for use in different snow guard designs.

Caution should always be exercised when considering weaker materials like cast aluminum or plastic, which may not offer the same level of durability and protection against harsh weather conditions. It's advisable to go with high-quality materials like stainless steel, brass, or extruded aluminum to guarantee the longevity and effectiveness of your snow guards.


Clip-Style snow guards are a widely popular choice. You may hear them referred to as snowbirds, snow dogs, snow jacks, or other monikers. These small but mighty devices are designed to hold back snow and ice from sliding off a roof, preventing dangerous avalanches and potential property damage.

Clip-style snow guards are popular among commercial buildings and high-end residential properties, as they offer a sleek and subtle design that doesn't detract from the overall aesthetic. These snow guards are usually attached to the metal roof in a pattern and can be attached seamlessly to standing seam metal roofs. While these clips can technically be installed with liquid adhesive, it’s best to attach them using screws to ensure a stable installation. Proper installation is key to ensure maximum effectiveness, with best practices including proper spacing and ensuring proper contact between the guard and the roof surface.

Overall, clip-style snow guards are a valuable investment for those in snowy areas, providing peace of mind and protection during harsh winter seasons.


Bar-Style snow guards are quite true to their name, as they are essentially a large, continuous horizontal bar that’s installed across a metal roof. The S-5! Colorguard dramatically reduces the risks associated with rooftop avalanches and maintains the clean colorful appearance of the roof with perfect color and finish matching, which can last as long as the roof itself.

ColorGard is the only snow retention system designed and engineered on a site-specific basis; guaranteed to perform, not damage the roof or finish, and to exactly match the roof color. Plus, with site-specific engineering, you can trust that these snow guards are tailored specifically for the unique needs of your roof. Say goodbye to snow and ice buildup and hello to peace of mind with Bar-Style snow guards.

Fence Style

Next, we have Fence Style snow guards, which are similar to Bar-Style, however, these snow guards feature a few tubes that are aligned vertically to resemble a split rail fence. These uniquely designed snow guards feature a fence-like pattern that not only enhances the look of your roof but also provides efficient snow management. Their strength and durability make them a suitable option for regions with heavy snowfall, ensuring that your roof remains intact and safe during the winter season.

Fence Style snow guards are typically installed with metal brackets as they are designed to be able to hold firm against the elements. This style of snow guard tends to be the strongest and is perfect for areas that receive large volumes of snow year-round or in the winter months. Plus, with their easy installation process, snow fences are a convenient and effective way to safeguard your roof from snow and ice damage.

How do I choose the right snow guard?

Now that you’re aware of the different snow guards available and the installation methods, let’s determine how to choose the right snow guard for your project. Keep in mind your roof style, roofing material, visual preference, and most importantly, the amount of snow you experience in a given time.

When it comes to selecting the right snow guard system, one of the most critical considerations is finding a system that matches the specific needs of your roof.

This means taking into account your roof’s style and the type of roofing material used, as well as any unique aesthetic preferences you may have. Another important factor to consider is the regional snowfall trends in your area, as this can impact the type of snow guard you need to effectively prevent dangerous snow and ice buildup on your roof.

Bar-Style snow guards are often used for commercial buildings, but homeowners may also opt for these snow guards as well to protect against snowfall. Clip-Style snow guards are ideal for standing seam metal roofs. The Fence Style is the most ideal selection for areas that are known for record-breaking snowfall and blizzards for optimum protection.

By carefully evaluating these factors and selecting the right snow guard system for your needs, you can ensure your roof stays safe and secure even during the harshest winter conditions.

Snow guards are certainly an incredibly important feature to consider in your next roofing project. Let ASMI be your guide to learning more about snow retention systems, proper installation, and all things metal roofing. Browse our full selection of S-5 snow retention systems here.

Contact Us to learn more about superior-quality metal roof snow guards!