There are many variables that pertain to this question, which begins with; what type of material is to be installed? Low-technology roofing materials such as cedar shakes or metal roofing can be installed without any compromise of quality during cold temperature weather. When I speak of cold weather temperature, I mean temps below 40° Fahrenheit. Cedar shakes and metal roofing are materials that do not require the use of adhesives that are necessary to seal a roof. Since most adhesives require higher temperatures to react, cold temperature weather does not work well with these materials. Since the majority of roofs installed today use asphalt shingles, for this blog, we’re going to discuss the installation of this particular type of shingle.
Asphalt shingles are manufactured with certain adhesives that require higher temperatures to create a bond. The optimal season to install an asphalt roof in the upper Midwest is during the months of May thru September. During these months, temperatures can reach between 70° and 80° Fahrenheit (the perfect temperatures for installation). However, this does not mean that an asphalt roof cannot be installed during the colder months. Appropriate precautions must be taken in order to successfully install an asphalt roof.
First and foremost, the installers must conduct the necessary safety practices before they enter onto the roof surface and during the installation process. Ice is slippery on a flat surface, let alone being on a pitched surface. Installers must always use OSHA certified safety practices when climbing on a roof in any weather condition.
The materials used must be stored in an area where they can be heated to an adequate installation temperature. A heated tent could be built around a pallet of shingles and bundles can be carried up individually as needed so that they are able to remain flexible during installation. Stiff shingles can become brittle causing them to be susceptible to cracking and tearing.
During the actual installation of shingles, a number of steps are to be taken to ensure a secure application. These include the proper nail depth and the use of additional roofing adhesives. Hand nailing nails offers the installer a chance to sink the nail to a depth that is not too deep or too shallow. When using a nailing gun, the gun must be set to an appropriate discharge that leaves the nail at an optimal depth. Also, asphalt shingles can be hand sealed with asphaltic roofing cement approved by the shingle manufacturer to provide additional protection form wind blow-off. Generally, there should be three separate areas or ‘dabs’ of cement used on each shingle.
Although the optimal time to install an asphalt shingle roof is during the months that are warmer, it can still be done during the colder months of the year. As long as the proper precautions are used, your roof will keep your home weather proof. If you have further questions regarding roof installation, please contact Iron River Construction. Our roofing professionals will be able to answer the questions that you may have regarding the installation of a new roof.
Below are pictures of a cold weather roof installation we recently did.