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Wire snow guards


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Today, I had a 58 year old house with a slate roof that had strange wire snow guards. I wasn't sure that they were snow guards until I googled "wire snow guards". Around these parts, cast 'Sieger' snow guards rule.

I didn't come up with much, other than to confirm that they were in fact snow guards, and that this type is intended to be distributed uniformly across the entire roof, instead of just one or two rows near the bottom.

In this installation, there was only one row, as would be done with a cast snow guard installation. Also, they all seem to be bent down, but the bend is pretty much uniform among all of them.

As they're installed on this house, it's pretty clear that they aren't going to be very effective, so I'm going to recommend that 'traditional' guards be installed. I was just curious if these wire guards are used in other parts of the country. I see a lot of slate, and this is a first for me.

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They're called "wire-loop" style snow guards. They were the most common style in the late 19th - early 20th century. They're not as common as the other styles now, but they're not unusual. They're still manufactured.

There's a formula based on pitch, but there should be a minimum of 50 per square. The guards in your pics are all bent.

From my 1899 A Treatise On Architecture And Building Construction Volume 3:

"Should this form of guard be bent down by the weight of snow and ice, it may be readily pressed back, without breaking, into its proper position. Guards are also manufactured of cast iron, but, being clumsy, they are not to be recommended".

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Those are all over the slate roof on the old elementary school in my hometown in Upstate New York. I know, because at the age of 11 I climbed up the qoins on the side of that building and used them to get a grip as I pulled myself over the edge of the cornice to get onto the roof and then drop down into the school through the skylight in order to do some mischief.

So began my long grounded period wherein I was sentenced by my father to work for his construction company afternoons, weekends, and every summer vacation until I graduated from high school.



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If there was any doubt before, it's been erased - you are certifiably nuts.[:)] I'll bet that the results of that one incident ended up changing your life in ways you couldn't have known at the time. There's certainly worse penance than learning construction at an early age.


Thanks for the post-1 am reply. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one on TIJ in the wee hours.

Now that I think about it, I have seen those wire guards before, but it wasn't on anything I was inspecting.

When I was growing up, in my neighborhood, Southside ..... er, I mean South Side Easton, PA, wood boards were commonly used as snow guards. There aren't too many of those left.

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