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5 Common Blunders Made with Snow Retention Systems

Avoid These Five Issues by Using Levi’s Building Components New Mobile-Friendly Snow Guard Calculator

By Tim Martin and Cindi Kimmel


It is good to use snowguards to protect valleys. On this roof you see snowguards going up the valleys on the roof. This keeps snow from packing down into the valley and possibly damaging the roof.

Old man winter puts roofing systems to the test under large snow accumulations. Installing a proper system that retains snow and will hold up under many different types of conditions takes consideration of several factors, but it is the unknown variables that cause installers the most headaches. It is essential to have a plan for the worst case scenario your roof may experience. The best place to do this is on the job site.

To assist with on-the-job design of the ideal snow guard placement system, Levi’s has revamped their snow guard calculator, making sure it’s accessible and easy to use on any mobile device. You can accurately calculate how many snow guards are needed for your job in a matter of seconds by entering in key data. Then, easily download each Snow Defender’s installation instructions and you are set to deliver long term customer satisfaction to your client!

No snow retention. This picture speaks for itself. This is an ambulance / fire station in Cumberland County, PA where they decided snow retention was not important. Note the incredible build up of snow where the upper roof over hangs the lower. Also note the large amount of snow on the ground and hanging off the roof. This is a dangerous situation.

Steer Clear of These Five Frequent Snow Retention Mistakes

    1. Too Little to Late – When people decide snow retention isn’t important or is too costly to install. This common blunder puts people, landscape and cars at risk. Even though your project may be built in nice weather, plan for that snow storm to make its appearance. Thinking about snow after the fact is too late.

    2. Improper Layout and Design – The most common error seen in the field is placement of the second row just above the first which places too much weight on the second row of guards. By using Levi’s Building Components mobile-friendly snow defender calculator in the field to determine the numbers of rows needed to properly hold back the snow this wrong step can be avoided. The calculator determines the amount of snow guards needed based on peak-to-eave measurement, pitch of roof, rib spacing on panels and snow load. By positioning the second row of snow guards halfway up the roof it allows for even weight distribution between the two rows of guards.

    3. Insufficient Number of Snow Guards – By using isolated placement of snow guards or placing one or two rows on the bottom, failure of your snow system is pretty much guaranteed. Use multiple staggered rows, evenly spaced up the slope and protect valleys with snow guards placed going up. This will keep snow from packing down into the valley and possibly damaging the roof. Keep in mind that drifting may occur from a higher roof to a lower one and plan accordingly. Blowing snow is something to consider with correct guard placement.

    4. Wrong Type/Wrong Use – Using snow guards designed for exposed fastener panels on standing seam roofs is improper usage. Standing seam roofs should have snow retention that either attaches to the seam or is glued down, not screwed through the roof. This scenario sets the roof up for failure from the start.

    5. Reputation and Warranty – Make sure to use a seasoned system to guarantee superior performance. By this we mean tested in the field with lots of pleased customers. Seek out a manufacturer that is recommended by your peers and has a quality reputation. Information is vital to assuring a properly designed plan, one done in haste or from a non-reputable company is risky.

Using guards designed for exposed fastener panels on standing seam roofs. This picture shows several common mistakes. Using snowguards that are screwed down through the standing seam roof. This job did not use enough snowguards but they were ok on the part of the roof to the right. On the left, off the picture, there is a much larger roof that allows snow to pile up on the left of the pictured roof. Some of the snowguards are starting to bend due to the extra load on them. Another staggered row of snowguards on that side would have made this install ok. Although a standing seam roof should have snow retention that either attaches to the seam or is glued down.

Speed Things up with Levi’s Calculator

A Levi’s snow guard system provides both safety and visual appeal. By providing snow guards for all types of roofs in over 40 color match choices, Levi’s is one of the industry leaders in both quality product and quick delivery. Now you can order even faster by promptly tallying how many snow guards are needed for your roof.

Levi’s Building Components newly designed calculator will determine how many metal roof snow guards you need, right in the palm of your hand! You’ll love how user-friendly and efficient the retooled calculator is when accessing it from your Smartphone or tablet.

The use of snow guard calculators is very important to determine number of rows needed to properly hold back the snow. Levi’s Building Components, a leading manufacturer of metal roof snow retention, has a calculator online that calculates the amount of snow guards in their Snow Defender line of products which are needed based on peak to eave measurement, pitch of roof, rib spacing on panels, and snow load. Below is a picture showing a proper install on a large church roof in Lancaster County, PA. Note the proper position of the second row of snow guards approximately half-way up the roof. This allows the weight to be spread evenly between the two rows. The common mistake is to put the second row just above the first, putting too much weight on the second row.

Tim Martin is the Regional Sales Manager for PA, NJ, DE, MD and northern VA and
Cindi Kimmel is the Marketing Manager for Levi’s Building Components in Leola, PA.

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