Winter is not the ideal time to replace a roof. This is intuitively true for most people. However, what happens if you get a leak in your roof during the winter and you need a full replacement? Is it even possible to replace a roof in winter?
The answer is, yes, under certain conditions. Not only is it possible, but in the right conditions, it is preferable. If you need a new roof, it is preferable for you as a home or business owner. In addition, it can also be a good time for a roofing company, as winter is the down season.
Conditions for Replacing Your Roof in Winter
There are three major elements in replacing a roof. Each element needs to fall within the right parameters for winter roofing:
- Tools’ performance
- Shingle product and human ability
- Safety and morale
Tool Performance in Cold Weather
Some of the tools in the arsenal of a roofing crew won’t be affected by the cold. However, some of the most important tools will be – like air compressors and nail guns. The air in use by your compressor, which drives the nail gun, is affected by humidity.
Basically, that humidity will turn into water and freeze in below-freezing weather in the airlines. This can reduce the airflow in the line and affect the installation because nails have to be flush with the single when they are driven in.
Shingle Performance in Cold Weather
Shingles can be installed in cold weather if it is done carefully. Here are some things we would watch out for in cold weather:
- Asphalt material loses its ability to bend in cold weather.
- When shingles become more brittle they are more likely to be over-driven by nails.
- It becomes harder to gauge the pressure needed to drive the nails correctly, although having a conscientious crew can mitigate this difficulty.
- Applying shingles in cold weather increases the chances of blow-offs. This is because shingles come with a sealant strip which might not activate in cold weather.
- The crew should look out for this and hand seal with roofing cement in a caulking gun if the weather is too cold to activate the bond.
Human Needs in Cold Weather
Human needs are trickier when it comes to roofing. Keeping morale up is the key to a quality roof. Men (or women) who are miserable on the job, or are working in unsafe conditions, are more likely to cut corners to go home sooner. If tools are not working properly because of the cold, that’s when it becomes a question of doing the job when the weather warms up a bit.
Shoveling and ice-breaking on a roof is hard, dangerous work. Any roofing company would take precautions and ultimately say no to a job that needed to wait for warmer weather. Rain or snow would make the job unsafe and even scary, as it’s hard to keep footing on a slippery roof.
Additionally, there is a need for agility and the use of one’s hands and fingers to install a roof correctly. Roofers can only wear thin gloves and for this reason, it gets to be uncomfortable and even impossible to do the work in temperatures at or below freezing.
Having a new roof installed in the winter can be done. Although tools and materials do have sub-optimal performance, the right crew can do it in weather that is above freezing and not snowing or raining.
If you do need a roof replacement in the winter, it’s always good to ask. You will probably find a roofer who is willing to work with you to make it happen. As always, we would be honored to answer your questions. Please call today.