Anyone who has ever had a porch roof with no peak over the steps will know what it is like when snow and ice build up on the roof only to slide off unexpectedly. First, there a huge amount of noise, in fact I'm pretty sure the pitter patter of reindeer hooves in the Christmas tales is actually the snow and ice avalanche caused by said reindeer. Second, if the slide is fast enough it can damage the roof especially if you have an old tin roof that isn't quite secured at the corners anymore. Third, it can be dangerous for any unsuspecting soul who is stand under the leading edge. And, finally, if you have just installed a nice new gutter the falling ice can and most likely will damage the gutter and/ or the downspout.
Many of the businesses around here use snow barricades which are essentially long sections of one inch pipe mounted a few inches above the roof. We looked into getting something similar mounted on our porch roof but found the cost and the look just didn't fit with the style of the house. While looking for other options we found a product called Sno-Gem that we thought would do the trick. A polycarbonate pyramid, they came in many colours or clear. For us the clear was the solution. We could mount them on the tin roof and they would blend in and not look so terribly out of place.
That was this weekend's big project. We mounted the Sno-Gems in a double row, alternating higher and lower, to covering a span of approximately ten feet. That worked out to cover a foot on either side of the porch posts bracketing the stairs, and extending past the gutter downspout by a foot.
If this works as well as we hope it will, we will extend the double row along the entire length of the porch roof line next summer. If it turns out that the double row isn't enough, we will do a third row of gems alternating every other panel on the tin but only over the steps. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that this will solve the problem of killer snow and ice slides from the front porch roof.