Winter Roof Install

When is It Too Cold to Install a Roof?

The short answer is it depends on what type of roofing material you want to install. Unlike asphalt roofing, metal and polymer roofs can be installed in temperatures below 40° without compromising quality or voiding manufacturer warranties. Asphalt roofs on the other hand, should be installed in warmer temperatures above 40° whenever possible. In any case, the roof must be free of ice and snow before installation can commence.

Why Should You Avoid Installing Asphalt Shingles in Very Cold Weather?

During temperatures below 40°, asphalt shingles:

  • Should never be bent, thrown or dropped. They may become brittle and possibly crack or break where bent (including when lifted to place the last nail at the end of the row).
  • May not lie flat after they are installed, causing the finished roof to have an uneven appearance. This usually diminishes once the shingles are properly heated by the sun, but it could take several months for the asphalt shingles to settle properly.

  • May not seal in a timely manner as they have a strip of factory-applied thermally activated sealant. Tabs may be lifted by winter winds if it has not been warm enough for the sealant to adhere.
  • May experience a condition known as “cold curl” where the edges curl up due to frigid temperatures.

What Should I Do If I Have a Roof Emergency in the Winter?

To complete an emergency repair or during long periods of very cold weather, it may become necessary to install or repair an asphalt roof in colder than ideal circumstances. In some cases, it may be better to perform an emergency repair to stop any leaking and then wait for warmer weather to replace the entire roof. Another option is to install a metal or composite polymer roof because they do not have the same temperature limitations as asphalt shingles.

When it is necessary to install or repair asphalt shingles under cold conditions, the shingles:

  • Still require a temperature activated underlayment that may need to be mechanically fastened, and/or a specialized winter underlayment may need to be used.
  • Should be stored on a flat pallet in a warm, dry facility if possible until shortly prior to installation.
  • May need to be hand-sealed (quarter sized amounts of roofing cement are placed in regular intervals under the shingles – too much roof cement can cause shingles to blister).
  • May require hand-nailing to reduce the chances of air driven nails from blowing through the brittle shingles, or the air pressure may need to be adjusted when nail guns are used.

It is more time consuming and expensive to hand-nail and hand-seal so your repair/installation costs may be higher in cold conditions.

What About Installing Metal or Composite Polymer Roofs in Cold Temperatures?

Many people are under the misconception that metal and polymer roofs cannot be installed in the winter. Metal and polymer roofing materials are not subject to the breaking, cracking and sealing limitations of asphalt shingles. The constraining factor when installing metal or polymer roofs is more about the safety and comfort of the installers rather than the outside temperature or the effectiveness of materials. Thus, with proper preparation, metal and polymer roofs can be installed year-round. You may even be able to save money by having a metal or polymer roof installed during the “off-season.”

There are two basic types of metal roofing: smooth vertical panels and stone coated steel panels.

Most people are familiar with standing seam, ag panel and other painted vertical panels that run from the top of the ridge down to the gutters of the roof.

Lesser known, but arguably better metal roofing materials, are stone coated steel panels. Stone coated steel roofs have a granular texture, are installed horizontally, and are designed to look like wood shake, clay tile or asphalt shingles. Stoned coated steel roofs have many advantages over most other roofing materials. Review This Article to learn more about stone coated steel roofing.

The other types of winter friendly roofing products are composite polymer materials. Polymer roofing materials are synthetic products that are manufactured from plastics or resins to look nearly identical to wood shake, stone slate, or clay tile materials. Like metal, these polymer materials have many advantages over traditional roofing products. Review This Article to learn more about composite polymer roofing.

In summary, winter is not the best time to install asphalt shingles, but it may be the ideal time for you to install a composite polymer or metal roof on your home.

Let One of the Experts at Roofing Force Give You a Free Estimate and Help You Choose the Most Optimal Roof for Your Needs.

Roofing Force is an expert installer of all types of roofing products in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma and Arkansas. We are one of the largest stone coated steel roofing contractors in the country and we install metal and polymer roofs year-round. Visit our roofing Material Comparison page and Gallery for more information , or give our headquarters a call at (913) 270-5440 and we will direct you to one of our professionals in your area.

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