Can I reroof my house in the winter?

February 21, 2019

The ideal time to install shingles is...

...in warmer weather (between 40 and 85 degrees)

Cold weather roof replacement has its own unique challenges, but it can be done safely and successfully if your roofer knows his stuff!

The ideal time to install shingles is in warmer weather, between 40 and 85 degrees, according to most manufacturers. If the shingles get too hot, they can tear while being walked on. In colder climate areas, roofing is generally done when the weather is warmer, but can it be done in the dead of winter? The short answer is yes, but…

A few challenges arise when a contractor installs a new roof in the winter. For one thing, it’s just cold – who wants to work when it’s cold? Everything moves more slowly, including the human body. However, there are some hardy folks who don’t mind so much. Some are even happy to have the work!

Cold weather roofing requires more planning, safety precautions and preparation.

“But my roof is covered with snow!” Removing snow on an incline is usually not a big problem. The crew can quickly remove the snow, then proceed to do the tear-off.  Problem solved.

Assuming you are using shingles, one issue is that when they get very cold, they tend to be brittle, and can break. A savvy contractor can mitigate that problem by having the shingles stored in a heated warehouse until they are transported to the jobsite. Problem solved. There are other types of roofing materials that don’t have that problem, like wood shakes, composite, slate, etc.

Precipitation is a problem regardless of the season. No one wants to tear off an old roof and install a new one while it’s raining or snowing. As long as you keep on eye on the forecast, you can avoid most weather issues. Problem solved.

Shingles are made with an adhesive on the back that is activated by heat. When the new roof is installed, the adhesive strip will be activated as soon as the temperature reaches 40 degrees for 24 hours straight. If there is a windstorm, it is possible that debris or dirt could be blown in between the shingles and prevent them from sealing. However, the usual time for high winds is some time after the spring thaw, by which time the shingles will have sealed. Some shingles are better than others for cold weather installation. If the manufacturer warrantees them for lower temperature installations, that means they are confident that there will not be any problems. A good contractor should know which ones to use.

Post construction cleanup

Post-construction cleanup can pose a problem as well. If it starts snowing before everything gets picked up, the contractor will have to send someone back when the snow melts. That’s one more reason to have a trusted local contractor do your roof.

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