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To people who live in areas where harsh winters are the norm, accumulated snow and ice cascading off a roof's edge onto the ground below is not an unfamiliar sight. Unfortunately, these avalanches sometimes result in damage to property or injury to passersby. The purpose of snow guards is to retain snow on a roof so that it has time to melt slowly or at least break up into smaller chunks before sliding off the roof's surface. Snow guards can be included as part of a new roof installation or attached to an existing roof. Homeowners wondering if they need snow guards should consult professional Essex County roofers for expert help with making this decision. If snow guards are deemed necessary, they aren't a do-it-yourself job; only experienced roofers should install these.

Snow guards are made from metal or plastic materials and come in many shapes, from small devices that resemble mushrooms to larger bar types that look like mini rail fences. There are several factors that go into determining if snow guards should be placed on a roof. The areas below the roof where snow has historically tended to build up need to be examined. Snow guards are only necessary when landscaping, automobiles, pets or pedestrians are threatened. A sudden snow release isn't a problem if there's nothing for the snow to crash onto but bare ground.

The roofers from All Professional Remodeling of Essex County NJ can assist you with any questions regarding roofing, siding or gutters.

The second element to look at is the type of roofing material. Snow guards are often unnecessary on roofs with wood shakes, asphalt shingles or rustic clay tiles. When snow moves against the granular, uneven surfaces of these materials, there's more friction. This helps to inhibit avalanches. In fact, sometimes brooms or rakes are necessary to get snow off these types of roofs. Metal, slate and synthetic roofing materials, on the other hand, have smoother finishes, so snow retention is more important for structures with these materials. Metal roofs in particular are prone to cascading snow releases because they heat up more easily than other roofs and the snow that holds up the snow pack is more apt to melt.

Another deciding factor is roof slope. Gravity will have a bigger effect in causing a snow cascade on roofs with higher slopes. Roofs with slopes of 5:12 or less are at a low risk of avalanche, so snow guards are usually not installed. Steep roofs, even those with asphalt tiles, are prime candidates for snow retention measures.

When a roofing contractor evaluates a roof for snow guards, drawbacks will also be considered. Retaining the snow pack on the roof for extended periods of time requires a roof that is structurally prepared for this added weight. Ice dams are also a more frequent problem on rooftops where snow guards have been installed. These issues need to be weighed against the need to mitigate the dangers presented by sliding snow.

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