Can Your Roof Wait Out The Winter?

Installing a shingle roof in the winter can raise many questions.

We are often asked, “Is it okay to install roof shingles and accessories in the winter?” Homeowners often wonder “Will the shingles seal down properly?”   As a professional roofing company, we have personal guidelines that we adhere to when cold weather installation is necessary.

While immediate seal down is most likely not going to occur in these colder temperatures, shingles will eventually seal down completely. Direct sunlight on a new shingle roof is required to ensure proper adhesion.  Most asphalt shingles are manufactured with a thermally activated asphaltic sealant, which bonds the shingles together once applied to the roof and exposed to a few weeks of sufficient heat from sunlight.   It should be noted however, that the north slopes may require summer heat to seal down since the sunlight will not directly reach the roof surface.

If colder weather application is necessary, ambient temperatures above 40 degrees are preferable.   Asphalt shingles tend to become less flexible in cold weather and will be inclined to keep the shape of the surface where they have been stacked.   Precautions will need to be taken when handling the shingles as well as nailing them.   The roofing crew will want to ensure the shingles are flat, as a nail could potentially break through the surface and decrease wind resistance resulting in a blow off.  Pneumatic air pressure adjustments may also be needed.

Additionally, woven and closed cut valleys as well as the ridge cap shingles will necessitate special attention as those areas require shingles to be bent. Bending shingles in the colder temperatures could result in shingle damage.  Breakage can be minimized by storing the shingles in a warm area such as the garage prior to application.

Potential safety hazards for the roofing crew need to be taken into consideration as well. Slippery weather conditions lead to ice on the ladder rungs as well as the roof itself and pose a considerable hazard to the roofing crew.   Installation during slightly warmer months will result in a safer working environment, decreased fatigue and higher crew production.

Can the installation of your new roof wait? In most situations the answer is yes, roof replacement can wait until late winter, knowing spring and sufficient heat from sunlight are just a few weeks away.