The question of snow guards for metal roofed houses often arises in Toronto as heavy snowfalls and freezing rains are very common in Ontario (Canada) during winter seasons. The volume of ice and snow quickly accumulating on a roof can be measured in hundreds of kilograms. Once snow begins sliding, it can cause significant damage to the lower roof, gutters, landscaping, cars or pedestrians.
That is why structure owners are encouraged to install snow guards onto their metal roofs to prevent rooftop avalanche. A snow guard is also referred to as ice breaker, ice stop, ice rake, or sometimes as snow stop, snow block, or anti-snow barrier. When the melting mass goes down the snow fence, it breaks the snow in chunks, thus preventing it from crashing in one large swoop.
Metal guards are widely used in Canada, including Ontario province and Toronto. Snow rails vary in their material. Typically, snow guards are made of stainless steel, zinc-coated steel, copper or aluminum, but sometimes they come in polycarbonate and plastic. Roof Experts strongly recommend installing zinc-coated steel guards as they proved to be heavy-duty, durable and have reasonably price. Over time, plastic and polycarbonate snow guards will become breakable: they chip or fracture.
Aluminum snow guards are not heavy-duty and not able to keep big amount of snow. Stainless steel and copper roof safety systems are expensive and have a longer life span equal to or greater than the metal roof itself. There have been independent researches that proved that metal roofs last over 50 years longer than other roofing materials.