Installing a roof in the winter is very different compared to installing one during the summer. There are a lot more precautions to focus on when trying to install a roof when the temperature drops. A customer can call and want a repair service and the roofing contractor realizes that they need a full roof replacement. Some homeowners may want to wait until the spring to get their roof replaced, but some situations call for an immediate replacement. A homeowner would have to consider this if the heating of the home is being affected by the damage for the winter season. Roofing in the winter can seem intimidating, however, taking the right precautions will make the process simple, safe, and painless. The good news is that most materials will perform up to a certain point with just a few tweaks to your technique. If you adjust your work style to construct a roof designed to last through cold temperatures, being careful to not damage the roofing materials, you can be sure that you can count on your new roof even during the harsh winter.
Do Roofing Contractors Work In The Winter?
Roofing contractors do work in the winter. You may be wondering, isn’t it dangerous for a roofer to work on top of your home in icy conditions? Roofing contractors need to work in the winter as well, and what you may not know is that some roofers actually prefer to work during the winter than in the summertime. When they are working on your roof during the summer time and it’s about 90 degrees outside, it is actually about 120 degrees on your roof. If your roof has an accumulation of snow, it would probably take about 30 minutes to an hour to get all of that snow off, depending on the size of your roof. After that is done, the roofing contractors can get to work.
Winter Roofing Contractor Safety
There are ways to carefully and safely take advantage of the business boosting benefits of working year-round, by understanding how to minimize the drawbacks of winter weather. Roofing contractors should follow safety standards published by the OSHA to ensure everyone’s safety. Never under any circumstances should a roofing contractor put your work before personal safety. Finishing a job is never worth risking a life, so when a roofing contractor deems it unsafe to work on your roof due to weather conditions, be sure to respect the limits.
Snow And Ice Make For Slippery Surfaces
Roof surfaces can become slick and slippery due to snow, ice, or frost. This means roofers must take extra precautions when working on a roof by wearing roof-fall protection equipment, working methodically and carefully, and wearing high-performance gear such as winter-rated work boots which have been tested for wet and cold conditions.
A common winter consideration before starting a roofing project is the snow removal or de-icing of the roof surface after a storm. This requires extra time, extra caution, and different equipment of which workers need to be trained on, along with increased monitoring while the removal is taking place. After all of that, the asphalt roofing manufacturers association warns, even on a freshly cleared roof, there may be nearly invisible ice or frost build-up on the roof or deck surface, which can make it extremely hazardous for anyone to work on. It is advisable to wait until the roof surface is free of ice and frost for safer roof installation. Ensure that the attic space is adequately ventilated. Often, what appears to be a roof leak is actually a considerable amount of moist interior air drifting up into a cold, improperly ventilated attic.
Snow Can Hide Hazards
Pay close attention to where you work and walk to ensure you don’t accidentally step on or fall through any hazards you may find on a roof such as a skylight, pipe, or any materials hidden under the accumulation. Make sure to clear surfaces before working and pay close attention to the location of objects while disposing of snow and ice.
Cold Weather Can Be Hard On The Body
Working in below temperatures can put a strain on the body, making your heart and lungs work harder, while at the same time putting the roofing contractor at an increased risk for hypothermia or frostbite. Roofers should work shorter hours, planned around the sunshine and warmer weather forecasts. Adjust the schedule to avoid uncomfortable cold temperatures and potential snow or ice storms. Roofing contractors should always wear layers of warm clothing that is breathable but provides ample coverage, hides exposed skin, and insulates against wind.
What Types of Roofs Can I Install In The Winter?
Now let’s get to the heart of the issue. Roofing materials all behave differently in conditions below 40 degrees. There are types of materials that should not be installed in these conditions and some that can be installed any time of year, regardless of the weather.
Here’s what to do depending on your home’s roofing material.
Can I Install A Flat Roof In The Winter?
There are two flat roof systems that can be properly installed during the winter and they are PVC and TPO roofing systems.These thermoplastic single ply flat roofing products are mechanically installed and are hot air welded instead of using adhesives. However, with rubber roofs like EPDM, it is a completely different scenario when it comes to installing these systems. With a rubber roof, it should not be installed in temperatures below 40 degrees because the adhesives that seal it will freeze and not bond. Contractors who say they can and will conduct rubber roof projects are ignoring manufacturer suggestions and proceeding with this project can result in roof leaks and voided warranties. It is a good idea to hold off on winter roof replacement if you’re looking at rubber roofs until it gets a bit warmer to allow for proper adhesion of the roofing material.
Can I Install Asphalt Shingles In The Winter?
The short answer is that shingles can be installed in cold weather, however, there are some precautions that must be taken when it comes to the installation. Roofing contractors must be careful not to bend and crack the shingle.The asphalt material in the shingle may lose its flexibility and resistance as the temperature goes down. Therefore, it becomes harder to bend the shingles and to cut them straight. With that in mind, the shingles might end up being more brittle, which could cause the shingles to end up being overdriven by nails when using regular pressure in the system. However, with a professional roofing contractor, they would be extra cautious of that and would take their time to do it right. There are ways to deliver a proper installation during the winter.
Another important consideration is whether the cold weather application of the shingles will increase the chances of the shingles being blown off. The shingles are lined with an adhesive that most of the time requires the sun to activate to bond the shingles, which would in return prevent the wind catching them. Depending on the manufacturer, the glue may activate at different temperatures. The manufacturer may specify that the shingles will not bond properly due to temperatures below 40 degrees, therefore, the roofing contractor would have to apply an adhesive of some sort underneath every laminate shingle with a caulking gun and then press the shingles into the adhesive. Winter in North America can get pretty bad, which means asphalt shingles are also susceptible to ice dams, which are large ice formations along the eaves of roofs caused by poor ventilation or inadequate insulation in the attic. An ice and water shield membrane is a great method to prevent ice dam leaks, but it also requires the sun’s heat to properly adhere to the roof deck, so some of the same shortcomings may apply. In the end, roofing contractors must take these precautionary steps in order to help prevent wind from blowing the shingles away before there is sufficient heat for them to self-seal, as well as prevent any ice build up which would lead to leaks.
When roofers work on your roof they use so many different roofing tools. Generally, some are not affected by cold temperatures, however, there some tools such as nail guns and compressors that can be affected by the cold temperature. When air is compressed and is released into your roofing system, the humidity will turn the air into water. However, if it’s winter time and it’s freezing, that water would end up freezing in the airlines and reduce the airflow that the roofing contractor is trying to get in the roof. When it comes to nails, they need to be installed flush with the shingle, not overdriven or under driven.
Can I Install A Metal Roof In The Winter
Metal roofs can be installed in the winter without compromising quality. Cold conditions do not affect metal roofs since they won’t crack due to improper handling. They are designed to allow for expansion and contraction, so the outside temperatures won’t make a difference. Just be sure to use a premium breathable synthetic underlayment to combat moisture caused by poor ventilation and always upgrade intake and output ventilation whenever possible. Whether you need winter roof repair or replacement, metal roofs are safe during any season.
Roofing contractors understand that you want your roof repair or replacement done as soon as possible so you can get back to your everyday life. However, understand the limitations that come with working on a roof during the winter season. A roofing contractor will work when they feel it is safe to do so and will make sure all the proper steps are taken to ensure the best quality for your roof. If a contractor denies doing any service due to winter weather, it is to make sure the quality of the work and materials are at their highest for your roof. Contact your local roofing contractor for more information on their winter weather roofing projects.