Installing a Roof Guardrail System: What You Need to Know


Besides its highly aesthetic appearance, the guardrail plays a very important role when installed outside, especially on a roof. Installing a guardrail is a major safety measure, because this is the optimal way to prevent falls. Let’s take a look at how to install a roof guardrail system.

First of all, what is a guardrail?

A guardrail is a barrier erected along the edge of raised surfaces (roofs, balconies, mezzanines, and staircases) to prevent people from falling. The fall risk level varies according to the type of roof. A guardrail installed on a roof will allow for the safe, free movement of anyone, but especially the workers who are responsible for performing maintenance work on a roof, for example. It should be noted that the measures to take to protect workers differ based on whether the roof is flat or sloping.

Sloping roof (slope greater than 15%)

As you may have guessed, the fall risk level on a sloping roof is much higher than on a flat roof, precisely because of the slope. Besides that, sloping roofs usually need to have their gutters inspected and maintained. A fall protection system is therefore required to allow the worker to reach all the components of the roof safely and easily. 

Flat roof (slope less than 15%)

Working on a flat roof has a low fall risk level. It is therefore permissible to work without any fall protection more than 2 metres from any place where a fall risk exists; however, at a minimum, this area must be accurately marked off by a warning line. In addition, the guardrail remains the ideal fall protection system when performing work on a flat roof. It should be noted that there are permanent and temporary guardrails.

Learn everything before installing a roof guardrail system

Obviously, the roof guardrail system must be strong and reliable. Steel, stainless steel, and aluminum are therefore the most suitable materials for this type of use. Wood may not be suitable in Quebec because of the extreme weather conditions (frost and snow, mainly).

Installing the guardrail: be rigorous

To begin, it’s essential to take the exact dimensions of the roof. The anchors must then be installed perfectly. To ensure that the maximum safety conditions are achieved, anchoring the guardrail to the roof is obviously essential. To install the anchors, you will need to ensure that your drilling method is suited to the roofing material, that the holes drilled are properly cleaned, and that the anchors are placed at the same distance between each other from the edge. Finally, it’s time for the sealant, which can be chemical or mechanical (with anchor bolts or screws), still depending on the roofing material.


You can also choose a freestanding guardrail, which is a piece of equipment that is just as safe and reliable as a fixed guardrail. This element complies with all CNESST and National Building Code standards. As a freestanding element, the guardrail offers you a fast, effective, and inexpensive safety method to eliminate the fall risks in a specific area and along the entire perimeter of a roof. This system acts as a counterweight, and no perforation of the roof membrane is required for its installation. Designed for permanent use, the freestanding guardrail can also be moved and used temporarily.


Whether you want to install a fixed or freestanding guardrail on your roof, don’t hesitate to consult a professional to protect you from risks at height.

Delta Prevention is a manufacturer of non-penetrating fall protection equipment for rooftop. With innovative materials and industry leading versatility, Delta Prevention’s VSS System is the safest and most durable collective fall protection system on the market. Visit our website at


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