Several factors can determine the quality level of a roofing project. Though weather might seem unrelated to roofing, certain conditions can make a roofing project more challenging. Roofing in harsh weather conditions requires additional tools, experience, and expertise to perform the job safely and the right way. Is there a temperature that is too cold for roofing?
Ideal Roofing Conditions
A perfect day for roofing should be warm, with minimal wind, and without any chance of rain. Roofing projects are more suited during early fall, summer, or spring, when the days are long and temperatures range between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature drops below 40 degrees, it is too cold for roofing.
What Are the Challenges of Roofing When It Is Too Cold?
You could easily end up with a poorly installed roof if you work in conditions that are too cold for roofing. Cold temperatures bring numerous roofing challenges, affecting various roofing project areas, such as:
Cold temperatures will have different effects on the roofing materials you use. It can make them brittle and easy to break, affecting the quality of your roof and shortening its lifespan.
For instance, asphalt shingles tend to lose some of their flexibility, becoming difficult to cut. Pneumatic guns will also be affected because pneumatic guns need different pressure settings in cold conditions.
Another issue you will face when roofing in cold temperatures is when activating the sealant. Sealants are responsible for sealing the roofing materials together and are activated by sunlight and heat. When installing asphalt shingles in cold weather, the adhesive will not form a perfect seal because it won't reach the needed elasticity.
The roofing contractor would need to hand-seal every shingle to prevent them from winter blow-offs, significantly increasing the labor, time, and costs of your roofing project.
When roofing is done in harsh conditions, the level of productivity is significantly reduced. No one does their best work when working in extreme conditions. The extra clothing the workers will be wearing will affect their comfort, making it more challenging for them to complete tasks. Others might opt to cut corners to get the work done quicker and limit their exposure to the cold.
The presence of ice and snow could make the roof slippery and affect visibility, increasing safety hazards, potential accidents, and injuries. Also, the extra weight caused by the snow could make your roof more likely to collapse, making an already challenging situation worse.
Tips for Roofing in Cold Temperatures
Many people often postpone their roofing projects until the summer or spring when the conditions are more favorable and focus instead on preparing their roofs for winter. However, certain situations might make roofing necessary, even during cold temperatures. If that's the case, you can take a few steps to ensure the roofing is high-quality and installed safely.
Remove potential safety hazards
Before you start the job, remove snow and any dangerous debris from the roof and the working areas on the ground to prevent injuries and protect the roof’s integrity.
Guardrails help to protect workers from falling off roofs and steeply angled slopes.
Invest in fall protection gear
Use equipment such as lanyards, harnesses, warning lines, deadweight anchors, and more. When workers know they are protected from potential falls, they can focus their attention on the work at hand.
Use hot boxes
Hot boxes prevent your roofing products and materials from freezing and are perfect for cold weather storage, job site heating, winter roofing, and freeze protection.