New standing seam metal roof: How important are snow guards?

We finally got our new standing seam metal roof installed, some 3 months late. The whole house reno project has stretched on longer than anyone would have liked, and funds are running low. Having snow guards (those little devices that grab snow and keep it from falling off all at once, avalanche-like) added to the roof will still take at least a month due to supply lead times, and cost a couple of grand more than I’d like to spend right now.

This will be my first metal roof. How much am I gambling if I wait until next summer to put the snow guards in place? We live in NY’s Hudson Valley (though not at elevation in the Catskills or anything). In recent winters we’ve typically received two big storms (around a foot of accumulation each) plus smaller dustings. The house is a ranch.

If there are never people (or stuff) in the danger zone when there’s a risk of a roof avalanche, you’re fine. If not you risk someone or something getting seriously damaged.

If your house is only one story, you might want to buy a roof rake. That way you can at least clear it off when you know it’s safe instead of it falling when you slam the door and are now directly under it.

In fact, it might be worth seeing if you can get a couple to at least put over the front door (or wherever people might be likely to stand).

No snow guards? Might take your gutters away in an avalanche. Don’t have gutters to worry about? I’d at least put guards over the doorways. Think of the foundation plantings.


In theory your gutters should be just low enough to avoid that. If you place a straight edge on your roof (hanging off the edge), it shouldn’t touch the gutters, specifically for this reason.

Yeah, couldn’t get the gutters installed this year, so no gutters to lose. Also have no plantings, as the area surrounding the house is currently a construction-induced wasteland.

Our laundry room door (which has been our main access, as the previous owners never put in a front porch :roll_eyes:) is safe, as it’s in the gable end. The only thing I really worry about is the new back deck; I don’t want ice chunks to fall and damage the boards.

I might look into a snow rake…

I’d be surprised if that happened, but if it’s a concern, throw some plywood on the deck to protect it. You could even see if any local businesses have any pallets they want to get rid of and use those. A lot heavier, but a lot cheaper than plywood.

Oh-- other concern is roof vents; don’t want them ripped off… The chimney is at the peak, so not a problem, but the plumbing vents could be an issue.

We’ve had a metal roof for 20+ years. We love it, but I would highly recommend getting something to protect your plumbing vents. My husband created his own out of metal, welding, etc. I’m not sure how or what but it works. We don’t have any snow guards. The 2-story part of our house has a very steep roof, but the one-story addition does not. My husband uses a snow rake throughout the winter on the addition’s roof. The steep roof takes care of itself. As soon as the temps warm up a little, the snow will come crashing down but the way the doorway faces, the snow can’t fall on the stoop. It also doesn’t really pile up on the bushes next to the house, it falls a bit farther out.