Roof Snow Guards and How to Protect Gutters From Icicles

Damage can be caused by snow coming loose from the roof (like an avalanche) and hitting the gutters causing them to come loose from the fascia. Or the gutters can be damaged by long and heavy icicles that hang from them.

Some countries will be well adapt to this type of occurrence while others may only experience this type of issue quite rarely.

Below you can find some suggestions on how to prevent gutter damage caused by icicles, I always get additional work after heavy snowfall, it’s usually because the gutters have buckled/snapped. I have seen icicles several metres in length and usually hanging from a flimsy plastic gutter! Don’t forget, you may be able to make a claim on your house insurance for this type of damage.

Damage to gutter caused by icicle

1) Keep the gutters clear of blockages, sounds obvious but this tip will often protect your gutters from this type of damage. Rain water has enough problems passing through the gutter when it is full of ice, let alone leaves, roof moss and other bits of debris such as collapsed gutter guards, pine needles and the like. If the gutter is congested it is more likely to overflow, if that happens then icicles will appear in cold weather.

2) Ensure gutter support brackets are spaced closely together. These brackets are designed to support the weight of the gutter and any water or debris that may collect in them. If they are spaced greater than 800mm apart the gutter may sag under the weight of icicles or snow build up. Some inexperienced installers may not be aware of this and it is common practice to ignore the snow/icicle risk, especially in a warm or mild country such as the United Kingdom. See the photo, the sag was caused by a large icicle.

3) Knock off icicles with a broom handle, this is another common sense tip, obviously you will want to be careful and do this from inside of a window and take care not to disturb the snow on the roof top.

Roof Snow Guards

Snow guards to fix to the roof

Photo courtesy from Klober

These guards are usually made from metal and are secured to the roof timbers beneath the tiles and will prevent snow on the roof from coming loose and falling onto the ground below, they can work with snow depths in excess of half a metre.

These guards are not too difficult to install and are usually universal so they should fit most roofs. They should be installed near the lower part of the roof – on the first or second course of tiles.

Installation – Most snow guards have similar fitting instructions although some may vary. The Kloeber metal snow guard (see photo to the right) requires a 50mm nail fixing the timber batons beneath the tiles. Five fixing brackets should used for every 3 metre section of snow guard rail.

The guards are usually purchased in black colour, dark brown, red and galvanised are also available upon request. A joining bracket must also be purchased should you wish to install more than 3 metres

Why Use a Snow Guard?

These guards can be used to protect pedestrians who walk underneath the roof overhang as well as fragile low level buildings such as conservatories.

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