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What Are Snow Guards (Cost, Installation, and More)

November 22, 2021 | 5 min. read

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The winter can be a beautiful time of year. Colorful lights adorn houses; the sparkling snowfall makes your neighborhood look magical.


However, the magic is ruined when that heavy, wet snow avalanches off of your roof, coating all of your lawn decors and potentially breaking them. 


You are not alone if you have ever had snow avalanche off your roof and onto unsuspecting passersby or even onto an innocent garden gnome. And the frustration you feel every time it happens can lead you to ask: what can I do to prevent this? 


Rescue My Roof has worked for over a decade in the nasty Wisconsin Winter, and we’ve helped people just like you – People who are at a loss for what to do  to stop the heavy snow from destroying their yards. 


As always, we are here to help. This article goes over one of the best tools for the job, snow guards, and everything you need to know before deciding to purchase. And at the end, you’ll be able to decide whether or not snow guards are for you and take the next steps to get an estimate. 


What Are Snow Guards?


Prism Snow GuardSnow guards are used on rooftops to prevent giant sheets of snow from sliding off at once, potentially causing damage to items and people below. 


Snow guards are designed to allow snow and ice to drift off your roof in small amounts rather than all at once.


Without snow guards, a snow avalanche could cause damage to your gutters, lower roof area, and objects below.


3 Types of Snow Guards


  1. Clip Style


Clip Style Snow GuardClip-style snow guards are triangular-shaped metal pieces that are installed in a straight line across your roof. They hold a metal bar that spans the length of your roof that will stop the snow from avalanching onto the ground below. 


These snow guards can be installed on the flat part of your roof or even clamped to a metal roof’s seam


You will see this style of snow guard most commonly used on metal panels and shingle roofs. 


For installation, they are attached to the roof using a strong liquid adhesive or tape. Roofing contractors may also use screws to install them, but this will create more penetrations in the roof and lead to leaks.


  1. Bar Style


Bar style snow guardBar-style snow guards are a metal, rectangular bar that sits horizontally across your roof to form snow and ice barriers. 


Typically, only one row of bar-style snow guards is needed, but more can be installed if you are still experiencing issues with snow and ice. 


A roofing contractor will install brackets across the roof that will hold the metal bar in place. This bar will hold back snow and ice and prevent them from falling. 


  1. Fence Style


Fence Style Snow Guard Fence Style snow guards are similar to the bar style, except they do not hold a bar.


This style of snow guard comprises of two tubes instead of a metal bar. These tubes look very similar to a split rail fence. 


If your home is not modern in appearance, then fence-style snow guards will give you a toned-down look compared to other styles. 


How Much Do Snow Guards Cost?


If you experience snow sliding off your roof in the winter and have felt the pain of broken property, damaged gutters, or even injured people, you may want to invest in snow guards.


But the question always comes up: how expensive are they?


Individual snow guards like the fence-style or bracket-type snow guards can be anywhere from $3-$5 per piece, depending on the material. Plastic snow guards are going to be less expensive but not as durable. If you are seeking high-quality snow guards, metal snow guards are the more expensive option. 


However, if you decide that a bar-style snow guard best suits your needs, they can cost upwards of $100 per eight ft. sections, not including the cost of labor. 


There is an additional option: copper hanger snow guards for slate roofs. Those are approximately $50, but they are exclusive to that roof type. 


What Factors Impact the Price of Snow Guards?


As with many things in the roofing industry, prices tend to fluctuate.


Sometimes this is because of material market prices or because the cost of labor has increased.


However, there are a few common reasons why you will see a higher quote for snow guards. 


1. The Material You Choose


As we discussed before, metal snow guards are going to be more expensive than plastic snow guards.


In this case, you pay for what you get. Metal snow guards are going to be more durable than plastic. So if you have to endure nasty winter weather, metal snow guards may be the best option for you.


2. Installation Time


Installation time varies for every project, so it is essential to know that the longer the project takes, the higher the labor costs.


The installation will take longer if you have a steep roof, low accessibility, or a complex roof type. 


However, once those issues are conquered, installation times are typically low. Individual brackets take a few minutes to install per bracket. Rails take longer, but you will get more coverage from snow avalanches. 


Typically, the project will only take two to three hours to complete. 


What You Need to Know About Snow Guard Installation


We’ve covered the important basics like price and snow guard types, but now it comes down to the stuff you need to know before installation happens. 


Snow Guards Are Not Just For Metal Roofs


Snow guards are most commonly seen on metal roofs. However, that does not mean they are exclusive to that roof type. 


Snow guards can be installed on metal, slate, clay, composite, or even asphalt roofs. If you have an issue with snow slides and want to increase your property’s safety, don’t let your roof material stop you..


Snow Guards Will Not Help With Ice Dams


If you struggle with both ice dams and snow avalanches on your roof, then you may be looking for a two-in-one solution. Unfortunately, there isn’t one.


Snow guards are not designed to help with ice dams on your roof. They are solely designed to stop snow and ice from crashing onto belongings and people below your roof.


However, there are other solutions you can combine with snow guards to solve both issues. Using heat cables or even calling a professional for ice dam remediation will help cover your bases with ice dams. 


Snow Guards Do Not Have to Be Installed Everywhere


You’ve seen the prices for snow guards, so you might be concerned about the amount you will need.


Snow guards do not have to be placed along every edge of your roof. They are ideal for high-traffic areas where people may be hit by falling snow or places where you commonly place important shrubbery or lawn decorations. 


When deciding how much coverage you will need, pick the problem areas and high traffic areas, and you will be set.


Do I Need Snow Guards?


If you are struggling with heavy snow sliding off of your roof and damaging your gutters or belongings, then it may be time to install snow guards. 


Keeping the price in mind – snow guards running anywhere from $3-100 – evaluate your budget, how much coverage you need, and then call a roofing contractor for an estimate.


If you have a lower budget, there is the potential that there are more cost-effective options like plastic brackets that can help solve the snow slides. 


If you have more room financially, metal brackets and bar-style snow guards could be in the cards for you. It all depends on the severity of the problem and how much durability you need. 


Learn more about winter roofing issues you could face with “Ice Dams: The Main Culprit Of Winter Roof Issues” and “Preparing Your Roof for the Winter: 5 Things You Need to Know.” 

Ready to install snow guards? Contact Rescue My Roof today to schedule your free estimate! Work with one of our roofing professionals to get the quote you need.