Roof Snow Guards, Are they Really Needed?

If you are familiar with roof snow guards you may be asking, “Are they really needed?”  Or perhaps you’ve never heard of them.  In this Roofing Tutor guide, you’ll discover what snow guards are and whether or not they make sense for your roof.

What are Snow Guards?

Snow guards are devices installed a foot or so above the edge of a sloped roof.  There are several styles of snow guards in use.  The most common are individual guards shaped like a triangle or mushroom with a flat top.  They are installed with the wide side facing the peak of the roof and are usually spaced 6 inches to 12 inches apart.

Rail-type snow guards are also made.  The look like miniature split rail fence standing 2-4 inches high.  They usually use 2 or 3 rails though some have a single flat band of metal.  They are installed in horizontal sections along the roof, 1 to 2 feet from the edge.

There are other variations of these snow guards, but most are similar to these 2 styles.

What Do Snow Guards Do?

They are designed to hold snow on the roof so that it won’t avalanche off the roof, possibly damaging decks, shrubbery, other property, or even causing personal injury.  The idea is that they hold the snow up, allowing it to gradually melt off your roof or fall in small, harmless chunks.

When Should Snow Guards Be Used?

Snow guards are most often used on metal, slate or tile roofs of any pitch and asphalt shingle roofs with steep pitches such as 6/12 and above.  They make the most sense where large amounts of snow fall in areas where winter sun or temperatures above freezing can cause melting.  They are also a good idea for use on metal roofs on poorly insulated homes.  The heat from inside the home melts the snow, causing a layer of water between the roof and the snow which easily leads to an avalanche of snow.

When Should Snow Guards Not Be Used?

On low-pitch asphalt-shingled roofs snow guards are probably not necessary.  On shingled roofs where snow dams are a problem they should NOT be installed.  They have the potential to facilitate snow dams or certainly make them worse.  Don’t install snow guards on any roof with snow dam problems until the cause of the dams is fixed.


If cascading and avalanching snow has been a problem on your roof, consider having snow guards installed.  They can be added to existing roofs as well as incorporated into new roofs.  Don’t install them on roofs with snow dam problems, but on roofs with a steep pitch, slick surface, and sunny winter days, snow guards may be a very good idea. For more information and pricing check  Amazon snow guards.

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