Heat tape, spikes for metal roof?

Q. My barn has a metal roof with a gable running east and west. When snow on one side melts, it slides off, taking the gutters with it. Gutters are important to keep the ground dry where the animals congregate. Is there a solution? A heat tape would be expensive, since the area is quite large. In Minnesota I have seen spadelike spikes that were driven into residential roofs so as to keep the mass of snow from sliding. Would these work on a metal roof? If so, where are the spikes available? Jacqueline B. May Alderson, W. Va.

A. The heat tape may indeed be one way of solving the snow-slide problem, but that depends on the snow load and the steepness of the roof pitch.

When snow slides off one side of a gable roof and not the other, the roof is unequally loaded and runs the risk of collapse. This happened in southern Oregon a few years ago during an unprecedented snowstorm.

The Minnesota spade spikes might also work in West Virginia and on a metal roof. Perhaps our Northern readers are familiar with such spikes and could drop us a line.

I confess to unfamiliarity with snow spikes, because I lived in southern California for many decades and have just moved to extreme southern Arizona. Here, the saguaro cactus and mesquite are far more familiar than snow.

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