I have always loved old houses. They seem like works of art compared to their modern counterparts. Take for instance, the roofs – instead of a sea of boring asphalt shingles, many historic homes boast a variety of scalloped-edged tiles, rows of different colored shingles, proud turrets, cupolas or brackets, depending on the style.

Our inn is a Federal home of 1848, with a no-nonsense, balanced approach. When we replaced the beautiful diamond-patterned roof (made of concrete-asbestos tile that had lasted 80 years) we opted to save the snow guards.

I had always seen those on historic buildings and thought they were pretty.

In the last five years, we’ve replaced three of our porch roofs as well with metal, standing-seam roofs. For some reason, the roofing company neglected to ask us about installing snow guards – or maybe it was that bad B word – the “budget” that made us skip them. Whatever the reason, we quickly learned that snow guards are not only decorative but serve a very important purpose.

We don’t get a lot of snow in Lancaster County, but about once a year we are almost assured a decent snow. It was then we learned the lesson that the snow guards taught. Because we had new smooth surfaces on which the snow could accumulate, and then the sun could melt, the areas between the seams formed massive glaciers.

The side porch was particularly dangerous. The morning sun would heat up the roof and, just about check-out time, would discharge a massive avalanche onto guests as they were departing. It was uncanny that the roof would release its glaciers just a moment before or when guests walked under it, causing snow and ice to block the sidewalk, or actually hitting guests in the head. They could be heard screaming and protecting their hair with purses. And we were forced to shovel several times a day to keep up with the accumulating snow.

Something needed to be done. The time had come to install snow guards. They would hold the ice an snow in place until it melted. It’s a good thing we have friends in high places


– frequent guests at the inn own their own roofing company in New Jersey. And so they came to our rescue and installed the guards on the three roofs, guaranteeing no measurable amount of snow for probably the next three years.
No matter. I still think they look pretty!


So if you find you need some snow guards, give Paul a call at the number above, and tell him that Jan and Bruce from The Artist’s Inn sent you!

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