Most people are unaware of what snow fences are and what they do. But those funny looking devices attached to roofs provide an important service for commercial building owners. Snow fences work to hold layers of snow on the roof. Without a snow fence, snow will build up on a roof and then suddenly break loose and fall to the ground. As the lower areas of the snow often compress into ice, the falling snow can rip gutters from the building, damage other property and even cause injuries. A snow fence will allow built-up snow to harmlessly melt when the temperatures begin to warm.
There are many different types of snow fences available on the market to fit a variety of applications. There are individual studs that attach to the roof at intervals, these are best for smaller roofs. There are pipe fences that stretch across the width of the roof. The pipe style generally provides the highest level of protection. There are also snow fences that are abrasive pads that lay flat on the roof and provide a surface for the snow to grip to prevent it from sliding. Snow fences attach in a variety of ways, from being nailed under shingles to clamping to standing seams on metal roofs.
Professionally installed roof snow fences are both functional and attractive. Commercial building owners can greatly limit their liability risks by added snow fences to their building.