Snow Guards for Metal Roofs

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. It’s essential that roofs are built to withstand years of use and harsh elements like heat, rain and of course, snow. 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?

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. In a nutshell, snow guards are a must-have for safety, quality, and liability purposes. 

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. S-5! offers some of the most reliable snow retention systems on the market, guaranteed to help prevent catastrophic injuries and property damage. S-5! systems are up for the challenge, holding strong against even the heaviest amounts of snow. You can be confident that your S-5! snow guards will be built to last, thanks to their guaranteed, comprehensive warranties.

Types of Snow Guards 

There are a variety of different snow retention systems on the market, so it’s important to know the differences and benefits of each system in order to make the best decision for your project. Something else you’ll want to keep in mind is the material used to create the snow guard. For optimum results and strength over time, we would recommend opting for stainless steel, brass or extruded aluminum. Weaker materials like cast aluminum or plastic can weaken over time with wear and tear, and ultimately break. 


Clip-Style snow guards are a widely popular choice, as they’re used quite often. You may hear them referred to as snow birds, snow dogs, snow jacks or other monikers. 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.


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, to not damage the roof or finish, and to exactly match the roof color. 

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. They 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. 

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. 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. Fence Style is the most ideal selection for areas that are known for record-breaking snowfall and blizzards for optimum protection. 

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.