Snowfall can cause all kinds of damage to the roof and it remains dangerous as long as it stays on top of the house. The longer the snow stays on the roof, the greater the chance that it will turn in to ice and fall in a deadly sheet, but even loosely packed snow can cause personal injury and property damage if it falls off the roof without being slowed first. Typically there are three ways that homeowners can deal with the snow and keep their homes safe.
One very common way to take care of the snow is for homeowners to climb on the roof and shovel the snow off themselves. This tactic works in areas where the snowfall is irregular and for homes that have very slight inclines. The problem is that homeowners need a safe way to get on the roof to do the shoveling, and that is not very easy when there is ice and snow on the ground. Shoveling should be seen as a last resort, or something to be used in an area where homes are likely to only see snow once or twice a year.
A common type of retaining method for homes is the pipe guard or snow rail. This type is basically a pipe wall that goes around the outside of the roof. The piping is installed near the edge of the roof and breaks up big pieces of ice and snow as they begin to fall from the roof to the ground. These are commonly found in areas with very high levels of snowfall that build up high enough to be stopped by the pipe walls. There is an issue where snow and ice can be in a thin enough layer that it slips under or between the pipes in the wall, and that makes the wall a lot less useful than some of the other methods. Homeowners with this type of snow guard may wish to make a change by installing snow breaks on the reach from the pipe to the roof, or installing snow guards with adhesive to help stop the smaller snow falls.
Finally, there are snow guards that provide a much more stable and consistent level of protection for the home. These snow shields are a series of small shapes, usually either an “L” or a triangle, that breaks snow and ice into several very small pieces as the sheet moves down the roof. The triangular guards can retain hundreds of pounds of snow, making the sliding snow and ice more manageable before it hits the ground, and providing the best level of protection for homeowners. Most snow shields are simple enough to install that homeowners can do the work on their own.
Protecting the home and property from damage caused by snowfall is the responsibility of every homeowner, and these methods for dealing with the snow can ensure a higher level of safety than an unprotected roof.