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Why Are Pole Barn Snow Guards Important?

December 21st, 2020 | 10 min. read

Courtney Moore

Courtney Moore

After working in the banking industry for 5 years after college, Courtney realized she needed a change and decided to pursue a new career path. Growing up she has always been creative and enjoyed writing, taking pictures, or painting. Now as the Marketing Content Creator for FBi Buildings, she gets to utilize her creative abilities in her everyday work. In her free time, you can find Courtney at home reading a book, partaking in any and all outdoor activities, or traveling and photographing her adventures. Courtney resides in Northwest Indiana with Lacey, her red tick coonhound.

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Winter weather is officially here!

You know what that means...it’s time to put the snow shovels and ice scrapers to work.

Snowy TreesWinter coats and insulated boots are making their big debut as snow begins to fall, and we’re all dreaming of a winter wonderland for Christmas day.

Snow, just like everything else, is great in moderation.

Once the novelty wears off and we’re all anxious for spring to arrive, it can become an annoyance to some.

Even a few inches of snow accumulation can slide off roofs or fall off trees, landing on unsuspecting people and objects below.

In this article, we talk about the importance of pole barn snow guards and the role they play in post frame construction.


What Are Pole Barn Snow Guards?

Snow Guards on RoofThere are two types of snow guards you can install on your post frame building:

1. Snow Defender 1500

The Snow Defender 1500 snow guards are individual guards that are staggered across the roof of your pole barn.

They are made of stainless steel that is powder coated with an EPDM rubber seal on the bottom, which eliminates the need for caulking.

These guards are USA made and come with a 15 year warranty.


S-5 ColorGard Snow Defender2. S-5! ColorGard Snow Retention System

The McElroy Metal S-5! ColorGard Snow Retention System is a steel rail that runs along the eave of your pole barn near the gutters.

It is made of 29 gauge Galvalume steel and coated in Kynar 500 paint, which is what your FBi Buildings pole barn is constructed of.

This snow guard is also USA made, and it will last the life of the roof.

When done correctly, these guards eliminate personal and property damage and the need for snow removal.

It also eliminates the potential liability risk involved if said snow and ice avalanche were to hit a car or a person walking below.

Design Your Pole Barn_FBi Buildings

How are Pole Barn Snow Guards Installed?

Snow Guard 1For maximum performance, it’s best to install snow guards at 2 and 4 staggered intervals starting at 2 feet above the eave. However, roof pitch and the length of steel are also factors in determining how each guard should be placed.

If these guards are not correctly installed, the structural integrity of your pole barn could be jeopardized.

For example; if you put each guard exclusively by the eaves and call it good, this gives sliding snow the opportunity to build up velocity and damage the guards. It also allows for too much snow to build on the lower section of the roof which can potentially result in broken gutters or structural failure in the entire roof.

Every post frame building is designed with the proper snow load in mind, but failure to properly install snow guards still offers the potential for pole barn damage.

Newer versions of snow guards eliminate the need for multiple, smaller guards staggered across the roof of your post frame building. These rails are up to 10 feet of horizontal protection placed above the gutters.

These guards are easier to install and have a higher chance of preventing damage to your gutters or causing roof failure.

However, not every post frame building will require these types of snow guards.

Some pole barns, such as cold storage buildings or garages, might not require snow guards since people won’t be walking around the building where snow could fall on them.

Other pole barns, such as commercial buildings and post frame homes, should have these snow guards installed since foot traffic is higher.

For a building feature so small, snow guards have significant advantages. Below, we list five reasons why you should incorporate this feature into your building design.

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5 Advantages of Pole Barn Snow Guards

1) Lessens the Risk of Property Damage

Snow Covered JeepWhen you have objects under your pole barn and you don’t have guards on the roof to protect snow from sliding off, your items can become susceptible to damage.

For example; if you have two cars and a smaller pole barn garage that can only house one car, the second car is now liable.

Melting snow can slide off the slippery, metal roof onto your car which can cause a dent in the roof and hood and possibly a crack in your windshield if ice is involved.

Not only do you have to deal with shoveling the pile-up, but now you have to call your insurance company to repair the damages.

To alleviate this headache, snow guards are a great way to ensure you won’t have to make a call to your insurance agent at home.

We can’t guarantee the same for when you leave, though. We know how people drive when that first winter storm hits.


Snow Load 1

2) Lessens a Liability Risk

Not only do you need to worry about your personal belongings under your post frame building, but you also need to worry about yourself and other people.

This is especially true for commercial buildings like retail, dealerships, or professional services that see ample foot traffic.

The last thing you want is a pile of snow falling on top of you or someone else.

By installing snow guards on your post frame building you can prevent this circumstance from happening and avoid any legal issues that could arise.


3) Strengthens the Structural Integrity of Your Pole Barn

The number one priority in post frame construction is the structural integrity of your pole barn.

At FBi Buildings, we ensure every post frame building has been carefully designed by our team of in-house engineers and executed by our experienced crews to prevent building failure.

Snow guards help to promote structural integrity so that snow isn’t accumulating on the lower side of your building and wreaking havoc on your gutters when the snow slides off.

If the weight becomes too much for your pole barn to handle, it can jeopardize a portion of or the entire roof, leaving your pole barn unfit to stand in or around.

Now you’re left with calling your insurance company to file a claim on your pole barn, plus having the task of searching for a post frame repair company to repair the damage your building incurred.

This can become a costly situation that could have been avoided.


4) Easy & Timely Installation

Snow Guard 2

What’s great about snow guards is that this feature can be offered at any time.

If you design your pole barn without guards, you can rest easy knowing they can be installed at a later date.

Some guards are secured to the metal roof panel by a screw, while newer styles don’t penetrate the steel panels.

The FBi Buildings QYLFT building system makes the installation of snow guards easier.

Since the post frame building is low to the ground when the guards are installed, our crews will have a less challenging time securing the snow guards.

Plus, with the heightened safety measures that come with the QLYFT building system, our crews will have nets to catch them in case they lose traction on the roof due to snow and ice.

Design Your Pole Barn_FBi Buildings

5) Pricing is Relatively Inexpensive

That old saying “You get what you pay for” is of utmost accuracy when it comes to selecting the guards you want for your post frame building.

While plastic or acrylic is a much cheaper option, there is no guarantee that they are durable enough to withstand ample amounts of snowfall.

When you opt for aluminum or stainless steel, your chances of the snow guards failing from the weight of snow and ice are far less.

Smaller post frame buildings won’t require as many snow guards as larger buildings do, so larger buildings could see a heftier price tag as more snow guards are required.


Are Snow Guards Part of Your Post Frame Building Design?

Snowy Horse BarnNow that you know the importance of snow guards and rails, will you include this building feature in your pole barn design?

Our Midwestern weather can be quite temperamental these days, so it’s hard to say for sure just how much snow we’ll get these winters.

However, it’s better to play it safe than sorry and end up with more work later on.

If you have questions on snow guards and rails, you can give us a call and reach out to our post frame professionals for guidance.

No matter which route you choose to take, remember to always build with confidence.


Pole Barn Quote_FBi Buildings

Do you have more questions about pole barn snow guards that are not covered in this article? If you need help designing and planning, please contact FBi Buildings at 800.552.2981 or click here to email usIf you’re ready to get a price, click here to request a quote and a member of our Customer Engagement Team will help you determine the next steps of your project.