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Alpine SnowGuards® FAQ




What are snow guards?

Snow guards are rooftop devices that allow snow and ice to drop off in small amounts or melt completely before falling to the ground. Alpine SnowGuards® prevent damage caused by avalanching snow and ice while enhancing the beauty of any roofing system. Historically used with slate roofs, snow guards are a practical, cost-effective addition to any sloped roof in cold-weather areas.


Why use Alpine SnowGuards®?

Snow Guards by Church parking lot and walkway.
  • Simplified installation, whether new construction or retrofit.
  • Pad and pipe styles available for every type of roof (In general, pad styles are typically used in residential applications, while pipe styles are more common in commercial/institutional applications and when especially steep roofs are involved.)
  • Innovative, flexible designs allow for custom pieces as necessary.
  • Available in painted steel, copper, lead coated copper, plain or painted aluminum, galvalume, or zinc.
  • Will not yellow or break down like plastic
  • Extensively tested in the field.
  • Recommended layouts and other technical support provided free of charge by our roofing experts.
  • Backed by the exceptional reliability and customer service of Vermont Slate & Copper Services.


Where should snow guards be used?

Alpine SnowGuards® are installed on/in all roof surfaces to protect against snow and ice damage below. It is especially important to install them above:
  • Entryways, walkways, and gathering spots
  • Parking lots and drive-through areas
  • Expensive landscaping
  • Ground mounted mechanicals
  • Lower roofs, valleys and crickets
  • Gutters and roof protrusions, such as plumbing vents


Who installs snow guards?

Snow guards are generally installed by roofing contractors and gutter installation companies. We recommend installation by a trained professional as proper attention must be paid to fastener strength, the structural integrity of the building and proper flashing of the product.


Where can I buy snow guards?

Alpine SnowGuards® are available at many local building supply companies or directly from Alpine SnowGuards®.


Do Alpine SnowGuards® keep all the snow and ice on the roof?

No snow guard can keep 100 percent of the snow and ice on a roof. Snow guards are designed to prevent an entire load of snow from dumping at once. Small amounts of snow and ice will still melt and slide off.


Wouldn't heat cable accomplish the same thing?

Heat cable melts snow and ice, usually in an effort to resolve an ice damming problem. Snow guards can protect heat cable from damage caused by sliding snow and ice.


Do snow guards prevent or cause ice damming?

Snow guards can not cause or cure an ice damming problem. Ice damming is caused by improper ventilation.


Is the height of the snow guard relevant?

No. Snow and ice sheds when a film of water builds up between the snow and the roof surface. The water acts as a lubricant causing the roof surface to become frictionless. Snow guards prevent the snow and ice from shifting at the roof surface, therefore preventing an avalanche.


How many snow guards are needed?

That depends on several factors, including roof slope, rafter length, building orientation and snow load. Give us a call or fill out our online layout request and we'll walk you through the calculations.


What is the difference between pad-style and pipe-style snow guards?

In general, pad styles are typically used in residential applications, while pipe styles are more common in commercial/Institutional applications and when especially steep roofs are involved. Both styles perform equally well when properly installed.

Is the shape of the snow guard relevant?

Yes. The snow pad should be perpendicular to roof surface and supported in a way that will prevent the pad from bending backwards under a load. The support should also be longer than the pad is high.


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