< Browse more articles

How to reduce risk with a sleek, reliable roof system

No matter where you live in Canada, dealing with unwanted snowfall is just part of the winter experience. From shoveling and clearing, to salting and scraping, snow removal can be a huge hassle—not to mention a safety hazard if it’s not done correctly.

As a professional roofer, you’re likely well aware of the dangers of sliding snow and have heard countless reports of preventable incidents, and catastrophic accidents.  Aside from potential injury, sliding snow can damage landscape, gutters, adjacent roofs, and parked vehicles. It can lead to costly litigation and in extreme cases, tragedy.

The physics are simple: over time, snow will accumulate on rooftops and begin to slide off unexpectedly as sunshine warms the roof’s surface. The sun’s rays break the bond between the roof and the accumulated snow pack causing a dangerous snow “avalanche” that may strike at any point, hitting anything or anyone who happens to be beneath it.  

To prevent these common occurrences, snow retention devices have been used for centuries. In fact, the first snow guards originated in the cold regions of Scandinavia and the Alps. Back then, builders and homeowners placed stones and logs onto rooftops to increase friction with the snow. These items would be placed in such a way to facilitate the evacuation of rooftop snow in a predictable and controlled manner.

Since then, snow guard technology has developed considerably. But the reality is, despite serious advances in technology many of today’s devices aren’t built tough enough to counter the type of avalanching snow our Canadian climate is known for generating.

A custom, engineered approach

When dealing with significant snow loads, a snow retention system must be required to hold sizable weight. A snow retention system also needs to be ‘load-to-failure’ tested by an independent third party laboratory to assure it will perform in specific conditions. This load test must be performed using the same roof material, roof manufacturer, and product configuration used on the project to assure proper results.

S-5 Attachments is a leading company that employs these very techniques.  The resulting test data garnered can then be used to calculate whether the snow retention system will perform in the weather environment of the project. Without manufacturer-specific test data and a location-specific engineering calculations there is no way to determine if the system will protect people and property. The alternative could be catastrophic failure and significant injury or loss.

Systems you can trust

Depending on your specific needs, S-5 Attachments has a variety of system options. A few popular choices include:

ColorGard – Its unsurpassed holding strength controls snow migration with a perfect color-match that lasts the entire life of the roof. ColorGard is designed and engineered on a site-specific basis, and is guaranteed with a lifetime warranty.

X-Gard (2.0 and 1.0) – Can be designed as a one- or two-pipe system spanning up to 48 inches. No other pipe snow retention system on the market has proven stronger than X-Gard. It can be easily retrofitted to existing roofs or incorporated into new construction design. It can be installed any time during the year on almost any metal roof profile.  X-Gard can be finished to match the roof.

DualGard — a complete system created for those who prefer a 1 inch pipe-style snow retention system. DualGard can also be color-finished to match the roof. The system uses two anchor points per bracket, and can be calculated online using the new DualGard Calculator. DualGard is the most versatile and reliable pipe system on the market.

VersaGard – the only system that is compatible with almost any trapezoidal, exposed-fastened roof. With no messy sealants to apply and no chance for leaks, VersaGard comes with factory-applied butyl sealant already in the base, and a patented reservoir that conceals the sealant from UV exposure, preventing drying and cracks. VersaGard is a two 1-inch pipe system that can be colour finished to match the roof.

Find out more about these reliable snow retention systems, and a host of others at: www.S-5.com.

S 5logo