S-5! Snow Retention

Installing S-5! Snow Retention The Right Way

Prior to the foundation of S-5! Attachment Solutions, snow guards often failed and upon their failure purveyors would generally respond all in the same, “You didn’t use enough.” or “You must have installed them incorrectly.” No company offered objective, definite insight as to how many snow guards were actually enough. In 1992, S-5! resolved this age-old problem, de-bunking the myths and mystery surrounding snow retention with some simple math and science.


A properly installed snow guard system is one of the most important safety considerations of having a metal roof. Without one, snow can damage property in ways that property owners may not even think of—crushing windows, damaging HVAC systems, breaking gutters, ruining landscaping and allowing water buildup against a buildings’ foundation that causes flooding.

The most common mistake made when installing snow retention systems, is the failure to design the frequency of snow retention devices to the actual sliding or gravity loads to which they will be exposed in service. These factors vary on a site-specific basis so it is imperative that job-by-job, the correct data is considered.

To install snow retention systems The Right Way, S-5! encourages installers to consider the following: 

  1. The design roof snow load in pounds per square foot (not ground snow)

2. The sine of the roof angle.

3. The tributary load area.

4. The allowable load for the snow guard (determined by applying a reasonable factor of safety to appropriately tested and documented ultimate failure loads for the device). 

S-5! even offers a Snow Retention Calculator that is capable of computing side-by-side comparisons for ColorGard®, DualGard™, X-Gard™ 1.0, and X-Gard™ 2.0.

What you will need to use the calculator:


Snow retention system failures could also be caused by faulty layouts and configurations. According to studies done by both the Army Corps of Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers, layouts should be based on the following design considerations:

  • Rows should be spaced uniformly. Multiple rows of reasonably strong snow guards are preferred over one very strong last line of defense placed near the eaves.
  • Multiple rows of snow guards spaced well apart up the roof are better at holding snow in place (i.e., avoiding the large dynamic loads created by sliding snow) than one row of last-resort snow guards placed near the eaves.
  • A short snow guard on a long roof without other snow guards must be able to resist all the snow located within outward 45-degree angles up a slope of its location. The loads at the ends of such a snow guard are about twice the average load on it.

A systems’ first priority should be to hold the snow and ice in place with multiple rows up the roof, so the snow and ice can gradually melt or come off the roof in smaller quantities, not to stop the snow from sliding entirely and are holding the snow in place—which can cause extensive damage to the roof structure and even result in collapse due to the heavy weight.


When installing a S-5! snow retention system, there is an even greater incentive to ensure proper installation. Virtually every snow retention company boasts about product superiority. But it’s increasingly difficult to distinguish fact from confusing sales hype and empty claims. Only ColorGard from S-5! offers a snow retention system warranted for the life of the roof—or 30 years! That’s not an empty claim—it’s a total, written assurance of system performance that no other manufacturer can match. Obtaining  ColorGard System Warranty is can be completed within four easy steps: 

Step 1: Calculate and print your system requirements using the S-5! ColorGard calculator. You are responsible for the accuracy of the input fields of the calculator.

Step 2: Fill the S-5!; ColorGard Warranty Online Application Form. The Application Form must be completed by the contractor that purchased and installed the ColorGard Snow Retention System.

Comply with all requirements and instructions on the Form and send it, along with all the related documents and the warranty application/inspection fee, to: 

ColorGard Warranty

Metal Roof Innovations, Ltd.

8750 Walker Rd.

Colorado Springs, CO 80908

 Step 3: Download the Inspection Criteria Form. These tips will help ensure you pass the inspection.

Step 4: Once a satisfactory Field Inspection Report is provided by a designated representative of the manufacturer, you will receive your ColorGard Limited Lifetime Warranty by mail. Download a sample.

There are additional costs associated with the warranty inspection. Questions and concerns regarding the cost of obtaining a Field Inspection report may be directed to our team. Contact us via email at info@rapidmaterials.com or call (770) 405-1060, Monday-Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM. S-5! Snow Retention FAQs may also address your additional questions.

S-5! Attachment Solutions provides a variety of snow retention products and resources to support proper installations and protect metal roof investments. There are many benefits of Installing Snow Retention on a Metal Roof and with the knowledge of S-5!’s expertise and warranty it’s clear that when it comes to snow guards, S-5! is the right way! 

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