Getting snow guards for slate roof--any tips/lessons?

slateberry51July 30, 2009

I'm 120 years into a 200 year slate roof. I can't believe it doesn't have snow guards; in one place there is a run from the high peak above the third floor to the eaves of the first floor porch; easily over 25' at 45+ degree angle. Watching snow slide off that baby was like watching a space shuttle launch, well, upside down I guess. But dramatic. Shrubs around these areas break branches every winter. Gutters nearly ripped off and leaking.

So, I want to get snow guards. But I'm wondering, which ones. And how do I know the installer won't damage surrounding slates in the process? I'm tempted to get the slate bible and diy. At least I'll care.

So, any advice/reflections would be appreciated, and recommendations for installers if you live in the greater boston area. tia

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check out this thread from a few days ago...

Here is a link that might be useful: slate roof

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 5:25AM
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Thanks lido, I had read that, and it's a great preservation brief. I gathered from it that snow guards are quite typical on slate roofs, and that any work/maintenance to a slate roof risks further damage. This is one of the reasons I'm considering a diy, since I'd work more slowly, maybe more carefully, than someone on the clock. I don't feel good about the company that installed new flashing last summer. They've maintained the roof for the past 50 years, so I went with them based on the previous owner's recommendation, but I can see cracked slates they missed (they were supposed to replace any cracked slates while they were up there), and just from talking to them, I got a funny feeling that was confirmed when they did the work. Quick and dirty would be my best description. I just wish I could find a slate craftsman/woman who takes their work seriously.

I'm hoping someone out there has done a snow guard retrofit and found a product that could be attached with minimal disruption to the existing slates. I pasted below a link to one I'm considering. Also here is a thread from allexperts that is relevant to my situation.
Otherwise, a couple of retrofit guards are available that might work for you. One general type is mechanically fastened in the exposed joint area between slates and through the underlying slate. Fastener heads are sealed and then have a bib or cover slip of sheet metal that is applied over the fastening point. Other versions just screw thru the joints between slate and rely on the sealant at the fastener penetrations to keep things watertight.O Another type has a long leg with angled slots that you attempt to slip under the slate and hook over an existing fastener. There are also guards that slip under the slate and hook over the top edge of the underlying slate but you need to know the depth upslope where the hook action is to take place (e.g., 9", 10", etc.).

As for the hook on type which grab a fastener or hook over the top edge of the slate, recognize the real slate are normally loose when installed in that they more or less hang on fastener(s). This allows the slip-on retrofit guard to be more easily installed. Often synthetic slate are attached 'hard" where the fasteners are driven tight, making it harder to slip a guard into place.

A google search of "retrofit snow guards for slate" will yield more specific product info.
So, good info, but I'd still love to work this thread with someone who's "been there, done that."

Here is a link that might be useful: retrofit snow guard

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 9:05AM
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