What Temperature is Too Cold to Put On a Roof?
There’s nothing worse than a roofing emergency in the dead of winter — the cold is getting into your property, the snows are on the way (or already here), and roofing contractors are hesitant to come and help you out… but what temperature is too cold to put on a roof?
Well, although no one – save the man in red – enjoys being up on a roof battling against bitter winds and slippery surfaces, it’s not just a distaste for bad weather that gives us pause.
It’s actually more to do with the installation process and the materials we use.
A lot of people don’t realize it, but temperate weather is absolutely essential to the proper installation of many types of roofs. Ignoring this will only lead to further roofing emergencies, more stress, and, of course, more expense.
Let’s discuss the matter in more detail, so you’re never caught out when old Jack Frost rolls into town.
When is it Too Cold to Roof?
You may be wondering what temperature is too cold to put on a roof? Even if the wind is mild, the snow is yet to fall, and all have the correct safety equipment to get the job done safely, 30° Fahrenheit is considered too cold to perform repairs or install a new roof.
In fact, you’ll find that most roofing contractors draw the line at 40 degrees F, as this marks the industry-standard warranty threshold of most roofing materials.
This can, of course, be infuriating when you need a quick fix, but disregarding these warranties can be irresponsible, and may leave all involved parties out of pocket.
Why Is it Problematic to Roof In Cold Temperatures?
What temperature is too cold to put on a roof? There are three main reasons why attempting to roof in temperatures below 30 degrees F is a pretty bad idea.
The top layer of most roofs is composed of little tiles known as asphalt shingles. They’re durable and easy to work within temperate climates, but when the knee-knocking weather comes around, they become brittle, liable to snap or crack during the installation process.
To install shingle roofing, you need to form a base layer and an exterior layer. The base layer is secured to the roof deck with nails, which can be an issue if the surface or air temperature has rendered them brittle, and that’s not even the real trouble.
The top layer of shingles is fitted to the base layer with a thermally activated sealant. This sealant needs the heat of direct sunlight to cure properly and form a strong, long-lasting bond.
Without a sufficient amount of heat, the shingles will never fully adhere to the sealant, and strong winds could tear them away, revealing the under-layer. The threshold for being too cold for roofing is below 30 degrees F.
Rainwater and snowmelt will then seep into the attic via the nail holes in the first layer of shingles — not good!
Labor Difficulties and Expenses
Is it too cold to roof during winter? Due to the nature of the job, when the chill rears its ugly head in wintertime, roofing businesses are often left with no other choice but to increase their rates.
We all have to take the proper precautions to ensure our safety during a cold-weather project. These measures include…
- Clearing snow or ice from the work area
- Wearing heavier boots and protective clothing
- Working slowly to avoid mistakes, protect materials, and minimize risk
- Properly venting the attic below
- Checking for and unveiling hidden hazards such as skylights
- Taking breaks to sufficiently rehydrate and improve focus
- Possibly splitting the job into smaller sessions if the weather becomes too dangerous to work through.
Is Putting on a Roof in Cold Weather Completely Out of the Question?
As long as the weather isn’t so extreme that it would be dangerous to do so, it is possible to roof with the temperature-sensitive materials mentioned earlier, but it’s an exceedingly tough job.
Not only will all involved have to work slowly and with a light touch, but all materials will also have to be hand sealed with a cold-weather adhesive, as thermal sealant is no longer an option.
Things are a little easier if a roof requires metal, wood shingles/shakes, or slate, as these materials do not need to be glued in place, rather, they’re nailed to the roof bed, but it can still be a complex and unpleasant task in cold weather.
Is Roofing in Cold Weather Worth It?
We take pride in our work here at B&M Roofing, and we’re not happy unless you’re happy. You deserve our very best efforts, but when nature is working against us, we can only do so much. If at all possible, it’s much better to wait for a warmer time of year to repair, install, or replace a roof.
What’s the Best Time of Year for Working on a Roof?
The best time of year for roofing is either spring or autumn. These are the mildest of the seasons, neither too hot nor too cold, and the weather is often stable for days on end.
For asphalt shingles, manufacturers typically recommend waiting for 70–80° heat, and not just for installation, but for a few days after the fact as well, just to be sure the sealant has fully activated, and your roof is as robust as it could possibly be.
When is it too cold to roof? Temperatures below 30 degrees F are considered too cold for thermally-activated sealant to perform its job correctly.
Roof Maintenance: Winter Checklist
Here’s what you can do to make sure you’re ready for the winter in plenty of time
- Contact us for a free inspection and estimate on any work that may need doing.
- Check that there are no blockages in your gutters and that water is flowing freely.
- Check your attic is sufficiently insulated.
- Check your roof for visible cracks, missing shingles, and areas that could develop ice dams.
Cold Weather Roof Emergencies: What Are Your Options?
No matter how prepared you are, some incidents are unavoidable – and winter can come with its own set of roof problems.
Perhaps a tree fall has caused damage to your roof, or you missed a loose shingle during your checks… whatever the issue, here are some pro-tips for getting through this trying time…
- Get yourself and your family to safety. If you have somewhere else you can stay for a while, do so.
- Cut off the power supply to the affected area. I’m sure we don’t need to tell you that moisture and electronics don’t mix, so if your roof is compromised, get them out of there, or at the very least, shut them down.
- If it’s a minor leak, you can try and stop it temporarily.
- Call us! With over 70 years of experience in the roofing industry, if there’s anybody capable of conquering the bad weather and saving your home from further damage, it’s us. We’ll send out our very best to assess the issue, and even if the weather is too extreme for us to make immediate repairs, we’ll be able to advise you on what to do next.
B&M Roofing Colorado: Here to Help
So, what temperature is too cold to put on a roof? Well, roofing in sub-zero temperatures is always to be avoided whenever possible, but we’re not going to abandon you in your time of need. If the worst does happen, and you’re left with a serious roofing issue in the dead of winter, we’ll do everything in our power to help you out.
However, the best course of action is to schedule regular maintenance with B&M Roofing in spring and early fall, so we can winter-proof your home well in advance, and you can enjoy the holiday season worry-free!