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Snow Retention - The Key to a Better Night's Rest?

12/01/2017 4:18 PM | CAI Rocky Mountain Chapter (Administrator)

By Gary Heslington, TRA Snow and Sun

Are you tired of dealing with damage caused by ice dams and icicles?  Are you frustrated with having to fix roof penetrations each spring that are damaged or broken off during the winter?  Does the thought of repairing or replacing one more rain gutter make you lose sleep at night?  Then you need to finish reading this article.  

For many, dealing with such problems has just become one of those annoying issues you are forced to deal with each year.  But what if you didn’t have to deal with it?  What if there was a permanent way to avoid these issues each year?   Well there is a solution!

It is called “Snow Retention Systems”.  That’s right – put a system on the roof that will hold snow and ice in place and keep it from sliding or moving.  Sounds a bit crazy at first, doesn’t it?  We always think we need to get that snow off the roof – not keep it on.  But think about it for a minute.  The problems we just talked about are all the result of snow and ice moving instead of staying put.

So, is this the trendy, new “fidget spinner” of the roofing industry?  No way!  In fact, snow retention has been around for centuries.  For some reason, the pendulum just swung away from it for a while here in the Western United States, but many architects and building designers are now utilizing it in their designs, especially in areas with heavy annual snow fall.  But there are a lot of buildings out there that should have it but don’t.   

I know what you’re thinking right now.  This sort of makes sense but are the roofs I deal with really going to hold all that snow?  Especially those years with really heavy snow fall?  Yes, they will, at least in most cases.  Due to updated building codes, almost all buildings constructed since 1975 were designed to be able to hold all that snow on the roof.  Good to know, isn’t it?

Now let’s discuss some issues related to snow and ice moving or sliding off roofs that you may not have considered.  To begin, go to this short YouTube video.  You will love it.  It will introduce you to a new concept – Roof-alanches:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rstKvsXSjzI

Pretty cool isn’t it?  Could you feel the power of all that snow cascading off those roofs?  Unfortunately, it isn’t too uncommon for people to be trapped and even killed in such occurrences.  When it does happen, insurance companies like to consider it an Act of God.  But is it really?  Especially when it is completely avoidable?  What a great reason to utilize snow retention!!  Use it to save lives and avoid the liabilities that, unfortunately, always follow.

Snow and ice cascading off roofs can also result in severe property damage such as crushing cars and A/C units.  It also regularly tears off gutters, balconies and patio railings. 

But snow and ice doesn’t have to come off in dramatic Roof-alanches to cause damage.  Sometimes it only slides from one part of the roof onto another.  For example, snow can slide from the main portion of the roof to a dormer.  When the sliding snow hits the dormer, it will many times stop, but the force of the moving snow will often cause severe damage to the dormer.  Sometimes you have no idea what caused the damage once the snow and ice has melted and the damage is visible.  With asphalt shingles, we often see an even more subtle type of damage.  Ice only has to move a very short distance to damage these shingles once the ice has frozen to the granules on the surface.  The ice pulls the granules free and then they are washed away when the ice melts.  The result is premature aging of the roof. 

I think you get the idea.  So how do you find out more about utilizing snow retention systems?  Simply contact a snow retention company and ask about a free engineered layout and estimate.  It is an easy, no cost way, to get started.  So, don’t’ delay!  Protect your properties with engineered “Snow Retention Systems” and start sleeping better at night.

Gary Heslington has been working for TRA Snow and Sun for nearly two years as their Business Development Manager.  TRA Snow and Sun is a pioneer in modern, fully engineered, snow retention systems and are leading out in establishing codes and standards in the snow retention industry.  For more information go to www.trasnowandsun.com.

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