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Roofing in Cold Weather

Roofing in cold weather requires preparation and a few added procedures but can be done if the right precautions are taken. It’s a bit of risky business. Cold weather roofing has increased challenges in climate and risk of injury, along with the added obstacle of adhesion in extreme conditions.

Roofs can be repaired or replaced in winter. Some contractors will not entertain a roofing project in winter because of the risk of injury. The contractors that do have extensive experience in navigating the hazards of winter and expert knowledge of roofing material performance.

This article takes you through the perils of roofing in cold weather as well as what roofing materials perform the best under brutal climates.

Can You Replace A Roof in Winter?

Some materials are also not as pliable in the winter to install. There is a greater risk of damage to product and injury to people. When you find a contractor that will do a winter roofing job, keep in mind that these projects can take longer because:

  • Danger of slips and falls
  • Material adherence issues
  • Material brittleness issues
  • Days are shorter
  • Contractor equipment effected by cold weather (such as nail guns and compressors)

These factors require that greater care be exercised when repairing or replacing the roof. When hiring a contractor in winter, it is prudent to ask about their experience with installing in cold weather; there are different procedures and material concerns.

What Are the Material Concerns with Winter Roofing?

The good news is that you are likely to get the best deal on the price of materials during winter. The downside is the duality of dangerous conditions and materials not performing during roofing are the primary concerns in winter. One of those materials is the adhesive that is used. The adhesive does not adhere well in weather that is below 40 degrees.

Without this bond, anything that you do to repair or replace the roof will be in vain. It is a best practice to wait until the temperature is higher for the adhesion to take. When in doubt, it is always good to read the manufacturer’s label on the product that you select for your roof.

The label will tell you what the preferred temperatures and conditions are. For the most part, that is anywhere from 40 to 70 degrees; this ensures that the sealant will be adequately activated. There are a few other tips to help installation along in the winter.

Shingle Installations in Winter

Shingles require a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or more to install properly. If you try to install below this threshold, the shingles may crack and get damaged along with poor adhesion. To help maintain a warm shingle for use, storing them in the garage instead of keeping them out in the open on the roof will help in pliability and adhesion.

There is also a different technique for sealing the shingles in cold weather months. Shingles are thermally activated with sealant, and the bond is usually activated by utilizing the sun. The process takes a couple of weeks for the shingles to fully adhere to the roof.

In winter, we don’t have that luxury so that the contractor may use roofing cement or a different adhesive approved by the manufacturer. This is a longer process because the tabs need one or two dabs of application in the corners of the shingle to adhere properly.

Contractors need to be extremely careful when working on a shingled roof in winter because just walking across the shingles may cause them to break during less than ideal weather. The sealant may give way as well under the movements and activity taking place on the roof.

Installing Other Types of Roofing In Winter

Other types of roofing will not have the same adhesive issues as shingles because they rely more on the attaching mechanisms like:

  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Etc

There are a few modifications that need to be made for winter rigging on these roof types.

A contractor’s tools are affected by the cold, so using a nail gun is out the window. The material used needs to be kept warm, and the nails need to be hand nailed. If affixing a metal roof, contractors need to carry large panels across the roof, which can be a fight in windy weather. It’s important that both the material is prepared for winter use but that the workers exercise caution on the roof.

Removing Risks While Roofing in Winter Months

Using the right tools and promoting safety on the job site while working on the roof in winter months is essential in completing a successful yukon ok roofing install. Certain things that should be done in order to prevent a job going south are below.

Removing Hazards from The Roof

Roofs can have debris and be snow covered at the start of a job. If certain areas of the roof are especially heavy with snow or ice, it can lead to a collapse. An inspection should be completed and removal of:

  • Debris
  • Snow
  • Ice

While removing these dangers, checking the roofs integrity throughout is important. This saves both time and money in making sure that all of the roof problems are being repaired or properly replaced.

Additional Safety Equipment on The Roof

Most roofs are pitched to encourage snow, ice, and rain to run off the roof, so watching your step is essential and a challenge in winter months. Guardrails can help the crew maneuver on the roof without falling off the steep slopes. A lot of guardrails are temporary and easily installed, but if you like hanging out on the roof, permanent ones are available.

Skylights can be hazardous if they are unseen and covered in snow. Workers may not even realize there is one until they step on it. The easy solution is placing a screen over the skylight so it is seen and can be avoided.

Fall protection will assist workers in minimizing their risk of injury. Some equipment that is commonly used are:

  • Safety harnesses
  • Lanyards
  • Anchors
  • Warning Lines

Taking the necessary time to set the job up properly and eliminate risk allows the workers to focus their full attention on the task at hand and do a great job on your roof.

Invest in A Hot Box

Hot boxes are heated pallets that keep both tools and materials warm in the winter months. There are even thermal blankets that can be laid on top of equipment and material. These little luxuries can make the job go a lot smoother and ensure good performance and adhesion.

Some roofing materials for roofing work better in winter months than others. If you are repairing or replacing your roof in the winter, you may want to consider the various roofing materials that are at your disposal to enhance your roof.

Choosing the Right Material

Living in extreme climates means that you need to be a jack of all trades with a little information on several topics to optimize the material you use and outlast climate conditions. Living comfortably in extreme weather requires durability and versatility of roofing products to hold up in fierce weather. Some of the materials that can do that are:

Slate Roofing Lasts 200 Years!

Slate roofing isn’t only practical; it is quite beautiful to look at. These are high-quality shingles made of thin sheets of stone. It should be noted that this is one of the pricier roofs you can have because of the quality of the product and the expertise required to install them. These experts may be difficult to find.

The upside to this? Slate shingles last for 75 to 200 years, so it will probably be the last roof that you ever have installed. The $30 to $75 a square foot for material and installation pales in comparison to the steadfast longevity of the roof. If you were interested in buying your peace of mind, slate shingles would meet the price.

The reason why slate shingles are on the expensive side is that it is a heavy material and better at protecting your house against extreme weather. Slate can withstand:

  • Heavy rain
  • Snow
  • Strong winds
  • Violent storms
  • Hail; and
  • Fire

Another attractive feature is that slate roofing keeps the heat locked in. This solid roof is leak and moisture resistant. The sloped roofs waterproof, and slate is recommended to be placed on sloped roofs.

Slate is environmentally friendly because it is stone, but because it is stone, it may be hard to find in some places. So, they last forever and are energy-efficient, what’s not to like? There may be one caveat. Because slate is a heavy material, a strong foundation is needed to hold its weight on the roof, which is another reason expertise in handling and installation is critical.

Metal Roofing Is Durable Year Round

Metal roofing has proven to be extremely durable when pressed under less than ideal conditions. It is common for metal roofs to come armed with snow guards and heating cables. These little extra touches will prevent sheets of ice from falling off the roof and break them into smaller, more manageable clumps, so the risk of injury is limited.

Metal roofs can keep the heat locked in the house well if insulated, and can withstand:

  • High winds (to the tune of about 140 mph)
  • Heavy snow
  • Prevent icicles from forming
  • Fire

Insulation is vital, or you will be paying for a higher heating bill. The roofs are lighter weight than the slate roofing. The metal is also more accessible, which makes the price tag a bit less to consider. Metal roofing is usually made from:

  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Aluminum; and
  • Titanium

These metals are durable and 100% recyclable. Metal roofs typically last about 40 to 70 years, so you will not likely need to replace it more than once. One thing to be noted is that metal may dent under hail conditions.

It also expands and contracts with temperatures, which leads us to the importance of making sure it is properly installed. The good news is that experts are easier to find when dealing with the installation of a metal roof. If installed incorrectly, the metal roofs are more prone to leaks.

Asphalt Roofing Has The Popularity Vote

Asphalt is probably one of the most popular roofing materials because it is cost-effective and fits into most budgets. Well, over half of America’s homes have asphalt roofing. Fiberglass asphalt shingles are normally what is used for adverse weather homesteads.

Fiberglass asphalt shingles consist of fiberglass mats that are coated in layers of asphalt and wrapped with another layer of mineral granules. These layers of protection allow fiberglass asphalt shingles to hold up better than organic shingles.

It is recommended that you select architectural shingles because they are more durable, offering a longer lifespan than the 3-tab roofs. If you are unable to afford more durable roofing, asphalt is a viable option because they are:

  • Wind resistant
  • Effective in wet weather
  • Resistant to snow

Durability and the resistant factor increase if you are able to spring for the laminated shingles. The added bonus about asphalt is it comes in a plethora of shapes and colors. This means more options for the homeowner in personalizing the look of their home.

Asphalt is also easy to maintain and quick to install, usually coming equipped with a 20 to 30-year warranty, which is about the roof’s lifetime. The lifetime of your roof will increase if you invest in the more expensive asphalt that meets ASTM1 or D6432 requirements.

Professional installers and materials are plentiful, so that won’t be a problem. However, there are some things to be aware of if going with asphalt. Asphalt shingles wear more quickly, so it is a best practice to check the roof seasonally to see if there is any mending that needs to be done.

Asphalt also won’t hold up to high winds and blizzards nearly as well as their counterparts. Although asphalt has a few considerations, it is an affordable roofing option that will hold up well under most weather conditions.

Cement Roofing Stands Up Against Winds

Normally, people don’t think of cement for roofing because it just sounds cold, and we see it on the streets and sidewalks. It’s not quite what you think. Cement tiles are made with concrete and cement, making them incredibly durable. It will require that you have a strong home foundation because one single cement tile ways as much as three asphalt shingles.

Cement tiles actually started in the 19th century and have been used for some time, which shows they have the power to withstand some forces of nature. There are a variety of colors and styles for homeowners to choose from, and they can withstand:

  • High winds (to the tune of about 120 mph)
  • Hail
  • Fire
  • Snow resistance

An added bonus is that these roofs can last up to 100 years, so it is not likely that you will need to replace it during your lifetime. Cement tiles will run you about $9 to $12 per square foot, which is an easy pill to swallow with the longevity and sturdiness.

Solar Panels Deserve A Serious Look

Solar panels are great in cold climates because they are made of two panels:

  • Active panel: absorbs the solar energy and converts it into heat and electricity
  • Passive panel: absorbs the hot air and sends it out to melt the ice and snow off the roof

This duality of heating the house in an energy-efficient way and acting like a snowplow on your roof can save you money and protect your home in hazardous conditions.

Many areas in wintry climates have written off solar panels because of the myth they are not sturdy enough for winter wear and tear; this may need to be rethought as technology has improved.

One of the great things about snow on panels is that it is nature’s way of cleaning your panel, so winter is actually a good thing. Now that you have the materials, what about the roofing company?

What Questions Do I Ask A Roofing Company

When interviewing roofing companies, there are several areas that you will want to cover in your questions, such as:

  • Their experience level
  • References of jobs they have completed
  • Licensing and credentials
  • How they will handle your project
  • Contract Questions and Scope of Work

Roofing Contract Experience

Purchasing a roof is a large investment, and if not done properly, it can cost you thousands of dollars to fix and not be an easy remedy. Finding out the experience of your roofing contractor is essential. Years of experience and materials handled over those years are of paramount importance to know to make sure the roofing company has worked with your chosen material before.

References for Roofing Companies

Call around, don’t be shy. One of the best ways to get to know your roofing company is through the experience that other people have had with them. Previous customers who have had their roofs for a while will be able to tell you what kind of condition their roofs are in now. They can also tell you if the roofing company was polite or left tools and debris all over the property.

Licensing and Credentials For Roofing Contractors

Check up on the license and bonding information of the roofing company. If the roofing contractor makes a mistake on the job and they are bonded, it offers you some type of protection by seeking the bond company to pay for the mistake.

If a roofing company does not hold the proper licensing, run. Roofing companies and contractors are a highly regulated space, so if their licensing checks out, they are maintaining a high level of care with the jobs that they take and are being properly audited.

How Will A Roofing Company Handle Your Project

Knowing the roofing company’s policies and practices will give you an idea of what you can expect. It is at this time that you will want to ask specific questions that may not be covered in the contract itself, such as:

  • What steps will they take to protect your home from the elements while roofing
  • How many licensed contractors will be on the site each day as opposed to workers
  • How many hours per day will they work
  • Where are they going to park their cars and put equipment

Have a thoughtful discussion with the contractor in order to make sure that you know everything that will be taking place on your property, so you are prepared.

Contract Questions And Scope Of Work

The contract questions and scope of work is probably the most important conversation you will have. You will want to make sure that you understand:

  • What materials are being used and how much
  • Are the license and bond information on the contract
  • Is there a grace period to get out of the contract
  • What are the payment terms
  • When are the start and stop date
  • Will, there be a lien placed on the home
  • Warranty

These are all questions that should be answered, so you know exactly what is being done to your roof. If you don’t understand anything in the contract, ask before signing. Homeowners are often startled when they learn that a lien may be placed on their property before the job starts as a protection to the contractor to make sure that they are paid.

Most contractors will waive the right to lien with a significant down payment or wait until payment is late, but the conversation will need to be had before that is considered, which is why you need to look for this in the contract.

Payment terms should be staggered to:

  • Down payment
  • Half-way
  • Job completion

This will ensure that the job moves along at a good place and is fair to both parties.

When speaking with your contractor, you will want to ask about any manufacturer’s warranty or any warranty that they may offer and have that information included in the contract. Including it in the agreement will allow a reference point if you have any problems later.

Keep the contract as a permanent record with information about the materials used, how much, etc. If you need to repair or replace the roof in the future, you will be able to have access to the exact materials used and measurements.

Final Thoughts

Roofing in cold weather takes experience and know-how to navigate the risks. The material and contractor that you select can make all the difference in the world on the experience that you have.